SarahTheMascara
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Location: Mission, British Columbia, Canada, Zone 8B

When can I start growing tomatoes?

I live outside of Vancouver, BC, in climate zone 8B. I have a small greenhouse. I have never tried growing tomatos from seed but I was thinking about doing that this year. When is a good time to plant?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

NOW!!! Until my recent move, I gardened in zone 6 and I planted tomato seed indoors under lights. Somewhere between Valentine's Day and the end of February was my target date for planting tomato seed. To plant in the ground, you have to wait until your frost date is past (mid-March, it looks like). Tomatoes take pretty much four months from seed to the first fruit, which is why people typically give them a head start indoors.
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PaulF
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Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

I agree, NOW. If you need any help, you have a world class grower of tomatoes (and just about everything else) in your neighborhood: https://tatianastomatobase.com/wiki/Tati ... e_Tomatoes. Tatiana's web page is the bible for gardeners and she is a wealth of knowledge. If you go down her page you will see several dates where she makes appearances in and around Vancouver. I only wish I could be close enough. Good luck, you will be hooked after you "grow your own."
Paul F

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digitS'
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Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

Hi Sarah, I like how the HG forums have seen several new gardeners from your part of the world, lately. I'm not too far away but in a quite different climate - it's just that your lingering spring weather lingers around here, too! (By the way, my grandfather was from just outside of Vancouver, B.C. ;))

I saw your post on the "best tasting" tomato thread. Gold Nugget isn't my favorite favorite. Oh! favourite favourite ... :) It is, however, one that might just produce from seed, directly-sown in the open garden! An early/early!

You might need that ... Yeah, don't let some be tricked into thinking your zone 8 designation for winter hardiness has much, at all, to do with tomato growing. Nah. In your location, you will have to deal with cloudy skies and cool temperatures! Almost, right through the growing season ...

I will agree about Tatiana. She has provided a wonderful service but keep in mind that she is not only a highly skilled tomato grower but she is writing for a broad audience. Check out these links, especially. And yeah, you can find a source for all those varieties mentioned in best tasting but careful with the "days to maturity" ratings. Those are what a tomato plant would see as ideal growing days. Many of your days will be ones where a tomato plant will just want to sit around and enjoy the scenery and the cool breeze. Anyway:

https://tatianastomatobase.com/wiki/All_Early_Tomatoes

:) Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Vanisle_BC
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Location: Port Alberni, B.C. Canada, Zone 7 (+?)

Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

Hi from Port Alberni Sarah,

Where are you? I'm curious about your zone 8b designation; imagined 7 was about the limit for the lower mainland.

I'll be starting my tomatoes under lights in a couple of weeks, and plant them out around the May holiday weekend, which is when nearly everyone here plants out nearly everything.

Don't let talk of cool weather put you off. Tomatoes are perfectly suited for S. coastal BC; They just have to be started early, indoors under lights (by yourself or you can buy nursery plants later.) The only potential major problem can be a blight that would destroy them in summer before you get much fruit. But it's not inevitable by any means. And it can be avoided completely if you don't let the leaves stay wet for hours on end; some say 24 hours wet is what the blight needs to get a foothold. Water only at ground level and if possible protect the foliage from rain. With luck you can usually get away without cover. I did for years. On the other hand we can have very hot spells when the fruit gets "sun scald" and needs to be shaded on the hottest days. With those cautions you can grow tomatoes very successfully in our region.

Hope I haven't said anything inaccurate; all of this accords with my own experience on "The Island," where I grow tomatoes every year, nearly always with happy success, and usually in enough quantity to see us through the year "with canning."
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SarahTheMascara
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Location: Mission, British Columbia, Canada, Zone 8B

Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

Okay, that's really good to know that now is the ideal time to plant tomato seed! I didn't realize that I could start now. I bought potting soil this past weekend, so next I will have to get out and buy some seed! I'm very excited to try this. Last year I bought small plants from the local nurseries and they did soooo well in my green house.
I did get blight last year but I left them out in the rain. I'll have to be more diligent on moving them back under an awning or back into the green house when we get our torrential downpours that tend to happen around here.

I am in Mission BC. From what I heard from a local nursery they have recently reclassified my area as zone 8B. That's what this hardiness zone map says as well:
https://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-br ... ss-map.php

Thank you guys for the links! That will be really helpful as I move into this new chapter of growing plants from seed. :)

Vanisle_BC
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Location: Port Alberni, B.C. Canada, Zone 7 (+?)

Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

Sarah, sorry I misunderstood your first post here; thought you were going to grow tomatoes for the first time, but I see it's first time from seed. Thanks for the link to the weather map. It puts everyone (even the "state" of B.C. :)) a notch or two warmer that the ones I've seen before. Interesting.
The terms of political discourse are not models of precision. - (Noam Chomsky)

SarahTheMascara
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:49 am
Location: Mission, British Columbia, Canada, Zone 8B

Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

Hahaha yah I wonder how the Presidant of Canada feels about changing provinces into states!
Last year was my first time ever growing tomatoes. I enjoyed it so much (and essentially lived off of them) so I want to plant more and try from seed this year. It will be interesting to see how they do!

SarahTheMascara
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Location: Mission, British Columbia, Canada, Zone 8B

Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

Thank you all for your advice! The next day after reading your posts I ordered an interesting variety of heirloom seeds online, and within a week I had planted my first tomato seeds! Some of them are already popping up! There's something very satisfying about growing from seed :)

JayPoc
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Re: When can I start growing tomatoes?

SarahTheMascara wrote:There's something very satisfying about growing from seed :)
The first step is starting most everything from seed and yep...definitely feels a lot neater that starting with well started box store plants. Just something about owning the entire process. Your next step will be starting things from YOUR OWN seed that you saved from the previous crop. I find that supremely satisfying. :()

I suppose the next step after that is to create you're own hybrids...I'm sure I've done it, just not on purpose...lol. :oops:

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