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Home compost is fine once the plants are established. I use tons of it. Sowing seeds in home compost is the problematic one.
Apart from the various possible nasties in home compost, you'd have no idea what the pH might be.
It's always fun getting "volunteers", finding out what they are. If they're hybrids, you get some interesting variations on the parent variety in the first generation.
Yes, that's about the average given the right sowing conditions. Some will germinate in a couple of days. Older seeds can take up to a month.
Patience will get you everywhere.
Depends if they're determinate (the bush type, the ones that don't grow beyond the fruit) or indeterminate (the ones that keep growing while fruiting). You don't need to pinch out the determinate varieties.
As long as the pH is on the slightly acid side the toms will be fine.
Another reason to pinch out sideshoots is to free up some room for air to circulate. A mass of foliage and no air circulation are ideal conditions for fungal problems.
Just bumping this for Janie to see it and respond.
Good grief. Seven years. I've heard of three years. Toms are perennials usually grown as annuals mainly because weather or disease kill them off during or at the end of their first season. Given ideal conditions - as George obviously has - they could go on as long as any perennial plant, though cropping will dwindle as the plant exhausts itself.