Plant tomato seedlings in the garden 4 weeks after the last frost. Sow tomato seeds indoors 6 to 10 weeks before setting seedlings in the garden. The garden soil temperature for setting out transplants should be at least 60°F (16°C).
Tomatoes can be set in the garden sooner if they are protected from the cold by a plastic tunnel or other season-extending devices.
For an extended or staggered harvest, plant early, mid and late, or long to maturity varieties in mid to late spring.
Determinate tomatoes come to harvest earlier than indeterminate varieties. Determinate varieties are a good choice for planting in spring for an early summer harvest and in fall for a quick harvest before the first frost.
Tomatoes grow best in a bit sandy, well-drained loam rich in organic matter. Add plenty of aged compost to the planting bed before planting. Plant tomatoes in full sun. Eve moisture throughout the growing season is essential for flavorful fruit development. Be sure to keep the space around tomatoes well weeded, especially in the 5 weeks after transplanting.
Tomato seedling planting dates
(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)
|Average date of the last frost||Planting dates|
|Jan. 30||Feb. 1-Apr. 1|
|Feb. 8||Feb. 20-Apr. 10|
|Feb. 18||Mar. 1-Apr. 20|
|Feb. 28||Mar. 10-May 1|
|Mar. 10||Mar. 20-May 10|
|Mar. 20||Apr. 1-May 20|
|Mar. 30||Apr. 10-June 1|
|Apr. 10||Apr. 20-June 1|
|Apr. 20||May 5-June 10|
|Apr. 30||May 10-June 15|
|May 10||May 15-June 15|
|May 20||May 25-June 15|
|May 30||June 5-20|
|June 10||June 15-30|
Tomato planting details
- Sowing depth: ¼- ½ inch (6-12mm)
- Space between plant after thinning: 2-4 feet (.6-1.2m)
- Days to sprout: 10
- Days to harvest: 60-90
- Storage period: 1-2 weeks
- Seeds per 100 row feet: 1 packet (50 plants)
- Yield per 100 row feet: 300 pounds (136 kilogram)
- Early season varieties: Early Girl, Green Grape, Juliet, Stupice, Sun Gold, Sweet 100.
- Midseason varieties: Arkansas Traveler, Better Boy, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Marglobe, Red Brandywine, Roma
- Late season varieties: Ace 55, Big Boy, Mortgage Lifter, Pink Brandywine, San Marzano
More about planting and growing tomatoes: