Tomatoes and strawberries in the marine layer


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Hi everybody

Last year was my first time planting vegetables and did most things wrong. I am trying to educate myself better this time.

I live in northern california inside the marine layer. Summer is foggy and sweatshirt weather. September and October are warm and sunny.

I plant in containers in a balcony. Last year I planted early spring and got super tiny beefsteaks in october. They were tasty though despite my neglect!

Tomatoes:
1. Last year I planted indeterminates in 1 gallon LOL. This year I am going with dwarfs in 4 gallon and microdwarfs in 1 gallon. They all seem to have maturities of 75-90 day.

2. I barely remembered to fertilize. This time I will be more constant. After reading a lot it sounds like it can be very vodoo and each person uses different compositions, so what matters is to feed them more than the what.

Q: My main question is WHEN to plant. Should I start early ( seed in feb, plant in march) so the plants have time to grow slowly during the cool summer? Or should i start late ( seed april plant in may) so I avoid deseases from the cold and target fruit in september/october? I have read both options and I have no clue. Most local tomato growers are a mile inland and dont get my cold fog and get tomatoes a month or two sooner.

Strawberries:
First time trying, I planted some everbearers back in autumn. They havent fully hibernated over winter, just slowed down. temps are mild. Many farmers have strawberries near me so i am hopeful the weather is good.

Q: how to fertilize? I read in some places to fertilize only in autumn, others say early spring, others late spring??? Again a lot of discrepancy weather i should be giving nitrogen heavy food or PK heavy food.

All help appreciated, specially I would like to understand the reasons behind the recommendations otherwise I will forget.

Thankyou!
 
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Growing in the Fog Belt and growing containers will be a double challenge. Larger containers are indeed better than smaller.

Which cultivars are you growing?

Conventional wisdom usually suggests early indeterminates for the Fog Belt including 'Early Girl', 'Stupice', and of course, 'Frisco Fogger'.

Most dwarf varieties are determinate. If you go that route, you will want to aim for a crop coming in during the warmest part of late Summer, usually late August to early September. Next, count days backward to decide when to plant, but that is hard to estimate because early development may be slower than what the seed packet suggests.

Perhaps one of those plastic tents would help hold in heat. It's something to consider.
 
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Growing in the Fog Belt and growing containers will be a double challenge. Larger containers are indeed better than smaller.

Which cultivars are you growing?
Ive ordered seeds for:
Tasmanian chocolate dwarf
Rosella purple dwarf
Summertime gold dwarf
Sweet scarlet dwarf
Curly kaley dwarf
Pinocchio micro
Inkspot micro.

Any tips on when to seed and plant?
 
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How many plants do you expect you will grow on your balcony?

You could stagger plantings to try to get some tomatoes over a longer period of time. Days to maturation listed on the seed packets vary between 70 and 90 days, so this alone can stagger your harvest dates, but of course, maturation can take longer in cooler conditions.

If you have the seeds to spare, start some early in March, perhaps indoors under lights or on a sunny windowsill. Also plan to start some later in April or May. keep a garden journal, take notes so you can compare and learn what works best.
 
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How many plants do you expect you will grow on your balcony?

You could stagger plantings to try to get some tomatoes over a longer period of time. Days to maturation listed on the seed packets vary between 70 and 90 days, so this alone can stagger your harvest dates, but of course, maturation can take longer in cooler conditions.

If you have the seeds to spare, start some early in March, perhaps indoors under lights or on a sunny windowsill. Also plan to start some later in April or May. keep a garden journal, take notes so you can compare and learn what works best.

I have space only for one of each unfortunately. I like your idea of staggering them. They might still all fruit in september when its warm but at least ill have some data for next year.



Thanks!
 

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