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Could any one tell me when is a good time to put out tomato plants in the garden and how big should they be.

BobTheGardener

Wait until temperatures at night are guaranteed to not fall below 10C, so probably the end of May or early June.  Ideally you want them well developed before putting outside - say a foot (30cm) or so.  They will benefit from some protection from wind and rain if you can manage it and definitely need to be placed somewhere which gets full sun in order to do well.  Not that many varieties are really suitable for outdoors in the UK though - what type are you growing?

They are 'Super Marmande'.

Italophile

Super Marmande are a medium-to-large beefsteak variety. In optimum conditions - full sun a minimum of 6 hours a day, temps in at least the mid-20s - they're going to take up to 80 days from planting out to maturity.

As Bob says, wait till you get decent overnight temps. If the overnight temps fall into single figures, the plant just won't develop. Ideally, you'd want at least 15C overnight for them to develop properly.

I've got about 30 plants (mix of Black Cherry, Gardeners Delight, Sungold, Moneymaker) grown from seed that were in modules, now in individual 3" pots, doing very well on various windowsills indoors. problem is that some of them are now about 30cm tall and clearly need repotting  - but I had been hoping by the time that came they would be ready to put outside as I just do not have the room inside and only a small coldframe. Definitely not yet looking at the forecast! So, it seems to be a choice between keeping them in smaller pots for another few weeks, indoors. Or pot up but unleash the British summer on them...

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BobTheGardener

Yeah, it's particularly tricky this year, Bf!  I delayed sowing seeds until Good Friday this year but they're now ready to go into their final planting positions.  I have a cold greenhouse but it's still getting too cold at night to put them in there really.  It got down to 3.2C the other night, which is low enough to have checked their growth.

One good thing about keeping them in small pots for a while yet is that they will likely start to produce flowers - in fact I just looked and some of mine are showing the beginnings of flower clusters.  They will soon romp away once finally planted.

thanks bob, yeah think I will just hold on a bit longer. there are signs (famous last words!) of warmer weather from next week  i just want to make sure they're not 'held bck' by being in small pots but guess so long as watered enough should be ok? until mrs bf really has enough of plants taking over the house  

Dovefromabove

I've got 40 toms in 4" pots - they spend their days in the  mini greenhouse and a plastic growhouse - or even out on the lawn if the weather is good and OH is at home to tomato-sit - at bedtime we go out and bring them all indoors to spend the night in the studio - talk about being molly-coddled - but it is really much too cold to do anything else at the moment - and at the moment it's raining torrential cats and dogs 

Italophile

Cripes, Dove, they get better care than the OH.

artjak

Have just lit the heater in ther G/H as it is allready down to 12 and will go down much lower by 4a.m.

figrat

Oh well, just off to set the thermostat in the gh for a bit higher than frost free. Only got 6 toms in there, but I think the reat of it could do with a bit more night time heat.

The weather's getting a bit challenging, isn't it?

artjak

The front cover of one of the tabloids today said; experts forecast another awful summer. I refuse to believe it until it happens

Dovefromabove
artjak wrote (see)

The front cover of one of the tabloids today said; experts forecast another awful summer. I refuse to believe it until it happens

I'm with you artjak 

Italophile - I have to look after them properly, after all, that tortoise brought them a very long way - is he home yet? 

 

Italophile
Bf206 wrote (see)

thanks bob, yeah think I will just hold on a bit longer. there are signs (famous last words!) of warmer weather from next week  i just want to make sure they're not 'held bck' by being in small pots but guess so long as watered enough should be ok? until mrs bf really has enough of plants taking over the house  

Bf, keeping them in smaller pots won't hold them back in the slightest. Toms are perfectly happy with their roots a bit restricted early on.

Nah, Dove, I think he's doing a tortiose-crawl through France and nothern Italy on the way home. Which ones did you end up starting? 

Dovefromabove

All of them  - and I'm sharing them with a friend who has a proper greenhouse, so we do stand some chance of getting something - they're looking good so far - we just need the weather to warm up so we can have our house back - hopefully it should be ok to put them out when we come home from our hols in June. 

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Italophile

I planted out the first of my lot nearly four weeks ago. Great daytime temps, overnight is still fluctuating.

Anna Russian:


Brandywine OTV (with its Potato Leaves):


Camp Joy (the cherry):


A couple of days ago I planted out a Doctor Neal - a large red beefsteak - in the back right corner, with 3 sweet chillies and two hot chillies:


And here's evidence that toms will live happily in small containers till they're ready to be planted out. I started these for a friend down in Umbria, they'll be planted out towards the end of this week:


 

Morning Italophile

Warmer there than here then.   They look excellent.  I am determined I will grow best tomatoes ever this year...

V useful on the small pots tip, italophile - thank you! The fact they'll be in small pots fr longer, would you still pot up to an intermediate size pot before they go into their final large containers? I know potting up several times, burying part of the stem, is a good idea but if they're already v tall by the time they go into say 6" pots is there any point?

Italophile

Verdun, spring has taken its time here but it seems to have settled in. Daytime temps are 20-25C, overnight still gets down to 10C, but it's warm enough during the day for it not to impact too much on their development.

Bf, toms only really need two transplants - from where they germinate into little pots, then to their final destinations. The main benefit of transplanting is to give the root systems a wee shock. It stimulates them. I'd keep them in their small pots. Being a bit pot-bound doesn't hurt them in the slightest. In fact it probably does them more good than any root stimulation an extra transplant would achieve.

artjak

Comforting info Italophile, thank you