When To Plant Tomatoes
Many people want advice with regards to the perfect time to plant tomatoes and some will give specific dates but it is not that simple. There are several factors to consider regarding when to plant tomatoes depending on whether you will plant them from seeds or grown them from seedlings you have bought. You also need to consider where you live and if you want to plant short season or the longer growing varieties. The part of the country in which you live is important because tomatoes are very delicate and need warm weather to thrive. Night time temperatures must remain at a steady 50 minimum and above because tomatoes don’t like the cold and should never be exposed to frost. It is unlikely the plants would survive a frosty night but if they did, it would considerably slow down any growth. In fact, tomatoes require at least eight to ten hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis so for most parts of the country this means planting seeds late spring and early summer for seedlings.
Growing from seeds rather than a seedling from a local outlet would mean checking your local weather patterns in order to work out any frost expected in the vicinity. This can be done online at weather forecast sites or from the Farmer’s Almanac if you can get a copy. After you have worked out the dates of when to plant tomatoes, the seeds should be started 6-8 weeks prior to this indoors in a warm location that is well lit. When the plants are 6in -8in tall and the last expected frost date has passed then you can plant them outside. The majority of tomato plants will start to produce fruit in around 65-80 days so if you have a variety that is slow growing then your plants should be set out about the 10th of May, then you should be able to harvest at the beginning to middle of August. In Southern states, planting tomato crops can be done as late as August because temperatures in these states will not fall below freezing until the end of November so you will be guaranteed a bumper harvest.
Ultimately there is not one specific answer if asked when to plant tomatoes as it strongly depends on your geographical location. As long as you can ensure the basic night time temperature combined with the hours of required sunlight are adhered to then you can proceed and plant as many crops of tomatoes as you wish. As you understand now, there is no one right answer for the best planting times for tomatoes. Just remember that your plant needs night time temperatures of at least fifty degrees and 8-10 hours of sunlight per day. Once you’ve determined the constraints for your geographic area, go ahead and plant as many “waves” of tomato crops as you want.