Tomatoes are generally grown from seedlings started indoors that are later transplanted into the garden. Tomato seedlings are usually transplanted into the garden 1 to 3 weeks after the last drop. If an unexpected frost threatens, transplants must be covered and protected.
Time Your Planting
Planting of tomatoes in spring or early summer is the best timing depending on the temperatures and climate in your geographic region. Plant once the soil has heated when daytime temperatures reach above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures stay above 50 F. Temperatures below 50 F will result in stunted plants and decreased or no fruit. Early-season tomatoes require 50 to 60 days to reach harvest from transplanting; mid-season tomatoes need 60 to 80 days; late-season tomatoes require 80 or more days.
Start tomato seeds inside for 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring. Normally low tomatoes in different pots with a light potting mix and pots have drain holes in the bottom.
Sow two to three seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart in a small pot or flat.
and germination soil temperature can range between 65-86°F (18-30°C); the best soil temperature for germinating seed is 86°F (30°C). Seeds can be started in a sunny or under fluorescent light set about 2 inches above the plants.
Transplanting Tomato seedling to the Garden
Garden soil is normally warm enough for tomato transplants about 2 to 3 weeks after the last drop in spring. Tomato seedlings can be transplanted into the garden when the outside soil temperature is at least 55°F (13°C) and the night time air temperatures are consistently 50°F (10°C) or warmer. Set young plants out shielded from direct sun during the day for two weeks to harden off and acclimatize before transplanting. This is called hardening off. Plants will not grow in temperatures cooler than 50°F (10°C). If an unexpected frost threatens, transplants must be covered and protected. Set a tomato transplant into the garden deeper than it was growing in its pot. Remove the lower leaves on the stem up to the top two sets of leaves. Bury the stem up to the top two sets of leaves. New roots will grow on the buried stem. Burying stems at transplanting will make for sturdier plants. Water recently transplanted seedlings. Give transplants a B-1 solution to guard against transplant shock or discuss the landscapers to further about the transplanted seedlings.
Prepare the Planting Site
Grow tomatoes in full sun, at least 8 hours of sun each day. Prepare planting beds by adding 2 to 4 inches of aged compost or commercial organic planting mix before transplanting. Turn the soil to at least 12 inches deep before planting. Tomatoes need warm, well-drained but moisture-retentive soil rich in organic matter. Tomatoes will produce earlier in light, sandy soil, but the yield will be greater in heavy, loamy soil. Tomatoes prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Planted in containers, tomatoes require the most soil; you can provide a large container and good drainage.
Water and Weed Regularly
Water your plants well after planting, and then water again when the soil surface dries. Once the plant has become established and new growth is seen, keep it healthy by watering so the soil remains moist, but not wet. Overly wet soil can lead to fungus root rot and result in watery fruit, soil that’s too dry can result in fruit cracking and blossom end rot. Also avoid overhead watering, as moist foliage can lead to various fungal diseases.
Growing your tomatoes is a rewarding and finally tasty adventure. Armed with these tips, you can keep your tomato crop healthy throughout the growing season and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor all summer long.