Success In Your Garden: When To Plant Tomatoes
The success of your tomato garden is mainly determined by how knowledgeable you are about when to plant tomatoes.
The best time to plant tomatoes depends on the weather of your location. However, specific guidelines can help you determine when to plant tomatoes.
Best Time to Plant Tomatoes
It is essential to understand that tomatoes do well in warm weather. Planting your tomatoes earlier than recommended could expose your plants to unexpected late frosts that may kill them. Low temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit inhibit the growth of tomatoes.
This vegetable thrives in areas that experience temperatures of above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) consistently at night. This will give the tomato plant adequate time to mature before fruiting.
The Ideal Soil Temperature for Tomatoes
The ideal soil temperature for planting tomatoes is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 16 degrees Celsius. A soil thermometer can help you decide when to plant tomatoes.
One of the best ways to determine if the soil temperature is right for planting tomatoes is by thrusting your finger in the soil. Leave your fingers in the soil for about a minute.
If you can remain with your fingers thrust in the soil the entire minute without feeling uncomfortable, then the soil temperature is ideal for planting tomatoes.
When It's Too Late to Plant Tomatoes
While it is essential to know when to plant tomatoes, you may also want to know how late you can plant tomatoes and still get a crop. It is not easy to know when it is too late to plant tomatoes because of the variety of tomato you have determines the maturity period.
Consider the days to maturity when buying tomato seeds. This is often listed on the label of the seed packaging. Days to maturity refers to the period the plant needs to start producing tomatoes.
Additionally, consider the first frost dates for your area. If the days to maturity are shorter than the number of days before the first frost date, then you can plant the tomato variety.
In most cases, tomatoes require about 100 days to fully mature, such as Brandywine tomatoes. However, some varieties need 50 to 60 days to mature, like Early Girl. In case you want to plant tomatoes late in the season, consider planting varieties with shorter days to maturity.
Related: Top 5 Tomato Growing Tips
How to Grow the Best Tomatoes
For tomatoes to thrive, they require about eight hours of sunlight per day. In addition, the plant needs 3 to 4 months of warm, bright and dry weather.
To set fruit, tomatoes require night temperatures of between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some varieties will set fruit at lower or higher temperatures.
To get the best fruits, make sure the soil is kept consistently wet. It should not be too dry or too wet. Excessive watering will drown tomatoes. On the other hand, limited watering will inhibit fruit production.
Make sure the soil has the right pH of between 6.0 and 7.0. Early tomatoes do well in sandy loam soil while late tomatoes thrive on heavy clay loam soil. Consider enriching the soil with aged compost before planting.