Is it wise to "stagger" tomato plantings?

I planted all my tomato seeds within a week or two this spring, and planted the seedlings within a few weeks as well. Over the summer we got tons of tomatoes, and then despite my misting the plants, our 100+ temperatures in August sort of wiped them out. The vines are still growing, and now that temps are cooler we seem to have a little more flowering and fruiting activity, but overall the vines just look pooped.
I am wondering if there would be any value to starting 1/2 or even 1/3 of my seeds in the spring, and starting more a month or two later, so that I could plant some young plants very early, plant some a bit later, and then plant some in mid-summer. I know that tomatoes generally produce until frost, but I wonder if I would have more luck with continuously planting new, fresh plants several times rather than doing one big planting in the spring. Do younger tomato plants typically have better production than older ones? --S.
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Yes, staggering dates can help you get more yield, just remember there are many other growth regulating factors at play. Staggering crops as well as varieties can be part of a good game plan. Here is one link: http://www.tomatogardeningguru.com/planting.html
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Staggering plants will avoid the all at once glut that comes when all plants are in full production all at once. However, how many tomatos do you need at any one time & what will you do with any excess. I find tha plantingall at once, I still generally have enough tomatos to scoff right up to they all start dying off (though I do use a polytunnel as well as outside) and the peak season glut I can process all at once and sauce or batch freeze and use later. I might try putting in a plant or 2 a little later this summer & see if I get it peaking when the others are tailing off a little. I always plant too many for own use anyway & end up giving some to family & neighbours.
rob
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Just planted some Oregon spring tomatoes. I wonder if I will get any.
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Same here Rob :)
For tomatoes, I tend to plant all at once. I do plant different varieties of tomatoes that come in at different times. Early Girls and Cherry 100's come in first, Romas come in next then beefsteaks. I am now into canning/food preserving and I like my tomatoes of each variety to come in at once. Some tomatoes like the Early Girls and Cherry 100's produce all summer long. Some tomatoes like the Romas and Beefsteaks come in all at once. With different varieties I tend get fresh tomatoes throughout the summer.
Enjoy Life ... Dan
--
Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.

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We need a LOT (four kids who'd love to eat tomatoes for every meal and snack in between), and *IF* there is anything left over, they go to the freezer until fall when I make them into sauce. HINT: During the peak season this year, we'd get as many as 60 tomatoes in a single day, yet right now there's only about two dozen that made it to the freezer. That should answer the "how many do you need?" question! --S.
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Yeah, I know that they do tend to slow down when very hot weather comes, and that they tend to have growth spurts and "cycles" (most of mine do at least). But it's good to know that staggered plantings can produce a more continuous supply. I don't mind freezing the excess when they're in full fruit, but I hate the times like now when I get two or three tomatoes a day despite perfectly wonderful weather. --S.
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Suzanne D. wrote:

My experience is that when planting out tomatoes at different times, they seem to 'catch up' with one another. There seems to be a magical time (probably related to warm enough weather) when all these plants take off. I can plant small seedlings from my grow lights next to store bought larger tomatoes and the seedlings inevitably catch up and rippen together with the store bought.
You might get better staggering if you select varieties that rippen early or later.
Planting tomatoes too late may backfire if they don't have time enough to catch up, and you wind up with a lot of green tomatoes at the end of the season.
Sherwin
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I have noticed this too, to a certain extent, but now, as I said, all of my vines--now 10-12 feet tall and bare of leaves on the bottom four feet--are flopped over, breaking, spindly, and generally just wiped out. Despite daily temperatures from 70-90, the tomatoes on them are small and few. I have to wonder if some fresher vines that were planted three months ago instead of six months ago might be in better condition and bearing more and larger.

That's generally not a problem around here (southern Utah), since our growing season starts quite early, and we don't get frost until November or December. --S.
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On Tue, 6 Oct 2009 17:21:20 -0600, "Suzanne D."

(Central NYS, zone 5+) I've done this with other things, not tomatoes. (Tomatoes are just a race against time here.) I can't say I understand our results completely, but it seems like there's a 'sweet spot', sort of late June to mid-July. Things planted later, even at the end of July, even well within their time-to-harvest, just don't seem to thrive. I suspect it has to do with the amount and angle of the sun. It may be a local thing - August and September can be kind of cloudy here.
G
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'George[_10_ Wrote: > ;866622']On Tue, 6 Oct 2009 17:21:20 -0600, "Suzanne D."

> of my

> could

> plant

> tomatoes.

> understand

> thrive.

> be

> not worry about the flowering some types of tomatoes do that.
--
mor


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I've done this inadvertently before and in my climate it didn't work at all. I live in the high desert, very short spring and very very hot summers. The later plantings did not have enough time to grow and set fruit before the hot weather inhibited pollination. Nice plants - no tomatoes. When the temperatures eased off in mid-September they all started to set fruit again, however there wasn't enough time before first frost to get much of a crop.
Cyndi http://www.gardenlist.com
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In article

Staggered planting would make sense for determinate tomatoes, but not for indeterminate.
--
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poor have no food, they call you a communist.
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