It's a good idea to grow a range of varieties, including at least one or two disease-resistant types, since, of all veggies, tomatoes tend to be the most susceptible to disease.Tomatoes run on warmth; plant in late spring and early summer except in zone 10, where they are a fall and winter crop.This will help protect fruit from blossom end rot, a problem that can occur when the plant isn't getting enough calcium.At the same time, mix in 3 to 4 inches of compost, which will provide minor nutrients and help hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil until it is needed by the plants.You can combine fast-maturing varieties with special season-stretching techniques to grow an early crop, but wait until the last frost has passed to plant main-season tomatoes.Cover the ground with 2 to 4 inches of mulch to minimize weeds and help keep the soil evenly moist.Meanwhile, promptly harvest ripe tomatoes to relieve stressed plants of their heavy burden.If summer droughts are common in your area, or you tend to forget to water, use soaker hoses, drip irrigation, or other drought-busting techniques to help maintain even soil moisture.Humid weather creates ideal conditions for fungal diseases like early blight, which causes dark spots to first form on lower leaves.By late summer, plants that began producing early in the season will show signs of exhaustion.With just a little effort, you can extend the life of those sad tomato plants by pruning away withered leaves and branches.Then follow up with liquid plant food and treatments for leaf diseases or insects, if needed.As tomatoes begin to ripen, their colour changes from vibrant medium-green to a lighter shade, with faint pink or yellow blushing.These "breakers," or mature green tomatoes, can be chopped into salsas, pickled, or pan-fried into a crispy appetizer.These great little yellow cherry tomatoes, which are actually orange at peak flavor, will add color to salads and fresh pasta dishes, if they make to the table. .

Tomato Season: The Perfect Time of Year to Grow Your Tomatoes

Most people debate between summer and fall when temperatures are favorable as tomatoes are considered warm-weather plants.The simple answer most people will give you is that you should plant your tomatoes after the last frost.As you’ll come to learn, the perfect time of year to grow your tomatoes depends on a few major factors, including:.Here we’ll cover ideal growing seasons, factors affecting your perfect time of year, and – as a bonus – when not to plant your tomatoes.Tomato plants generally need about three months of warm, summer-like weather to produce a great harvest.In the perfect conditions, you want to start planting your tomatoes a few weeks after the last frost date in your area.But if it were that simple, most – if not all tomato crops would be perfect and plentiful during a specific season.If your local temperatures are lower, tomatoes will not sprout regardless of the time of year.If it’s too cold to hold your finger in place for a minute, then it may not support plant growth just yet.For any season tomato to thrive, it’ll need at least 6 hours of full sun.If your location doesn’t get at least half a day’s worth of full sun during a significant part of the year, you may want to rethink your options.When choosing the type of tomato to plant in your garden, you have two options – determinate or indeterminate.This choice not only determines the number of tomatoes you can look forward to growing, but also the duration of the harvest.Note: They also grow twice as tall as the determinate tomatoes, requiring you to stake or cage them and they’re more resistant to cold weather.Here’s a table of different varieties of tomatoes and their characteristics to give you an idea of which ones you’d prefer growing.Rich taste with a perfect sugar to acid balance, juicy, sweet to tangy profile Determinate Beefsteak Tomatoes Rich, vibrant color, large, firm, and meaty.Cherry tomatoes have a sweet (like candy) and juicy flavor with a crisp bite.Indeterminate Roma Tomatoes Full, dense, and grainy flesh with few seeds, firm.Determinate Heirloom Tomatoes Meaty, firm, and available in a variety of textures and vibrant colors.Indeterminate Tomatoes on The Vine Firm and thick walls that hold in moisture.Read about different fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other backyard ideas that can transform your garden into a thriving green haven. .

When to Plant Tomatoes

Whether you are spending good money on nursery stock or putting in the time and energy it takes to grow them from seed, you certainly don’t want to risk ruining your crop by planting too early or too late.Even if early transplants survive a few unexpected frosty nights, their growth may be stunted and struggling plants will be more susceptible to pests and disease.Since we all live in unique microclimates, it is always a good idea to keep a yearly garden journal with your own data on frost dates.You can spread a layer of thick mulch or black plastic out in the garden to help the soil warm faster in the spring.The only exception to this is for gardeners in very hot climates, where some shade – particularly in the afternoon – can be helpful to protect plants on scorching days.Some varieties take a long time to mature, though, and it is equally important to make sure there are enough warm days for plants to produce fruit before they are harmed by fall frosts.Looking at the number of “days to maturity” on the back of your seed packets will help you to determine the ideal planting window for your growing zone.Count backwards from this date, using the number of days to maturity listed on the seed packet or plant tag.If you live in a cold climate or get a late start on your garden, choose a variety with a shorter number of days to maturity.Many gardeners, however, choose to start even earlier, up to 12 weeks before the expected transplant date, to give their seedlings extra time to grow before planting them out.Set your containers in a warm location or on a heat mat, covered with a humidity dome if you have one to speed germination.Once the seeds have germinated, remove the lid and place your pots in a sunny window or under grow lights for 10 to 14 hours a day.Using artificial grow lights is especially helpful if you choose to start seeds on the early side when days are still short.Set the pots in a tray and add half an inch of water to the bottom every few days when the soil feels dry.Set the pots in a sheltered location outside for an hour or so, increasing the length of time each day over the course of a week or two until your plants have adjusted to the outdoor conditions.When at last it is time to plant tomatoes in the garden, find a spot with well-draining soil that receives full sun, or in hot climates, just a little bit of afternoon shade.Since tomatoes really need a few months of summer heat and sunshine for good yields, if you live in a warm climate with a long growing season, it doesn’t hurt to wait a few extra weeks after the last frost before planting them out.While it is still important to wait until after the last frost, warmer soil will certainly help newly planted tomato seedlings to adapt and grow faster. .

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

I've worked as a landscaper, on an organic farm, as a research technician in a plant pathology lab and ran a small cut-flower business, all of which inform my garden writing.Fortunately, tomato plants are easy to grow and remarkably productive.You can purchase tomato transplants, but there's something especially rewarding about starting your own plants indoors.Quick to germinate and grow, tomato seeds are best sown indoors about six weeks before your average last frost date.There are hundreds of tomato varieties available as seed, and choosing a few for your home garden can be a daunting task.Determinate tomatoes grow to about 3 feet tall and are the best choice for containers.Never use garden soil, which often drains poorly and may harbor disease organisms.The seedlings on the left were grown in our Organic Seed Starting Mix .Containers You can start your seeds in just about anything that holds soil and has drainage holes — I've used small yogurt containers and even egg cartons with holes poked in the bottoms and waterproof saucers underneath.Some gardeners run a fan in the room with their growing seedlings; good air circulation reduces the chances of disease problems, such as damping off.Thinning For the strongest, healthiest plants you'll want just one seedling per pot or cell.Select the strongest, healthiest seedling and use a pair of scissors to snip off the others at the soil line.Once or twice a week, apply a water-soluble fertilizer that's been mixed at half the recommended rate.Your tomatoes may need to be transplanted to larger containers if they outgrow their pots before it's time to set them outdoors.Wait to transplant your tomato seedlings into the garden until after the average last spring frost date. .

Time of Year to Plant Tomatoes

Transplant homegrown or commercially produced tomato seedlings outside after all chance of frost has passed.Paper or peat pots must be completely buried to avoid drawing moisture from the soil around the plants' roots. .

Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors Technique Tips with Photos

Starting indoors, in a container of well moistened, sterile seed-starting mix, make shallow furrows with a pencil or chopstick about 1/4 in.Starting indoors, in a container of well moistened, sterile seed-starting mix, make shallow furrows with a pencil or chopstick about 1/4 in.Put container in a warm place, 75-80˚ F. As soon as seed begin germinating and stems start to show above the soil, it's critical to provide a strong light source such as fluorescent bulbs or a very sunny window.Put container in a warm place, 75-80˚ F.

As soon as seed begin germinating and stems start to show above the soil, it's critical to provide a strong light source such as fluorescent bulbs or a very sunny window.To "prick out:" lift seedlings from below, holding each one gently by their baby cotyledon leaves and scooping up entire soil ball from below.To "prick out:" lift seedlings from below, holding each one gently by their baby cotyledon leaves and scooping up entire soil ball from below.If roots have grown together into a clump, gently tease seedlings apart, holding by baby cotyledon leaves.If roots have grown together into a clump, gently tease seedlings apart, holding by baby cotyledon leaves.in diameter) filled with good quality, well moistened potting mix.in diameter) filled with good quality, well moistened potting mix.Tomato seedlings will readily grow new roots along their buried stems and the resulting plants will be sturdy and vigorous.Tomato seedlings will readily grow new roots along their buried stems and the resulting plants will be sturdy and vigorous.When spring weather has warmed up and night temperatures are regularly in the 55 degree range, it's time to plant well rooted, established seedlings outdoors.When spring weather has warmed up and night temperatures are regularly in the 55 degree range, it's time to plant well rooted, established seedlings outdoors.Tip out plant by overturning pot to squeeze or tap out the entire root ball.Tip out plant by overturning pot to squeeze or tap out the entire root ball.Settle the seedling into the hole, so the entire stem will be covered up to where leafy branches begin.Settle the seedling into the hole, so the entire stem will be covered up to where leafy branches begin.Be sure they are well secured, because your plants will grow large and heavy with fruit, so you will need strong support for the branches.Be sure they are well secured, because your plants will grow large and heavy with fruit, so you will need strong support for the branches.For heirloom varieties like our Rainbow's End, it's best to wait for full ripeness before picking the luscious, color fruit.Heirloom Camp Joy cherry tomatoes are very prolific and delicious.Big Beef beefsteak giant slicers are heavy with sweet flesh and lots of juice - perfect for open-faced "BLT" sandwiches. .

Starting Tomatoes Indoors Instructions – West Coast Seeds

There’s nothing quite as perfect as a ripe tomato – that distinctive fresh, green smell of a sun-warmed fruit that bursts in the mouth.While tomato plants may be available at the garden store in the springtime, growing them from seed provides choice for unique characteristics, flavours, colours, and heritage.The delightful thing about growing tomatoes from seed is the potential to experiment over time and look for favourites.If season-long snacking is the aim, cherry tomatoes that vine (like Certified Organic Sweetie) might be a good choice.Bush varieties like La Roma or Manitoba produce abundant fruit at one time, so they’re ideal for a single summer canning session.Tomatoes want a warm, bright place to grow, and it’s best to situate them near to the house for easy watering.To prevent certain issues that can occur on tomato plants later in summer, go for early season producers like Siletz or Oregon Spring.Dampen the soil so that it’s moist but not squishy to the touch, and sow two or three seeds ½ to 1cm deep.We like to dig a handful of balanced organic fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of each planting hole. .

How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes, Part 2: Transplanting

You’ve sowed your tomato seeds, and now the seedlings stand like little green soldiers in your window, patiently waiting to be liberated from their pots and plunked into a warm bed of earth.Between desiccating winds, the heat of the sun, and armies of bugs and diseases that may be waiting in ambush, there is much that can go wrong for a young tomato plant.Acclimating tomato seedlings to outdoor conditions is a bit like helping your child adjust to kindergarten – it takes plenty of patience and hand-holding.This technique is a death knell for some plants, but it helps tomatoes in many ways, improving drought tolerance, root establishment and wind resistance.A lot can go awry in the short life of a tomato plant, so take a few extra steps to give your seedlings the best chance for success:.You can test your soil pH with a kit available at most garden centers, though your local cooperative extension office likely offers the service for a small fee, too.In cool climates with a short growing season, you can leave the plastic for the first few weeks after planting, putting the seedlings in the ground via a small slit.One method is to dig a trench down the middle of the bed, a couple inches below the depth where the roots will be planted, and spread a band of fertilizer for them to grow into.A few weeks after planting, a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content (such as those with blood meal, fish emulsion, or bat guano) can be applied on the surface of the beds to support lush vegetative growth.Join us again in early June for part three of this series, where we learn the different options for staking, training and pruning tomatoes to keep them tidy, healthy and productive. .

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