Do you like Tomatoes, I bet You do. It is an essential cooking indigent and a favorite fruit for all backyard gardeners. It is easy to grow and very tasty to eat. This delicious combination makes it a must-have for every kitchen garden. Every year I grow multiple Tomato varieties in my terrace garden. It’s not a big area for these plants yet I managed to get a good yield for my family. Tomato grows well in containers, especially the small dwarf varieties. So if you like you can give it a try this summer. If you are a permanent reader of my blog then you must have seen a few posts earlier on different tomato varieties. If not get there and read the one you like. Today in this discussion I’ll show when to Plant Tomatoes Indoor & Outdoor? This is a very important part of tomato gardening and every gardener must know when to start your tomatoes.
I know many of you already know what and when to grow Tomatoes. Yet if you need a recap for the details then keep reading. This post is dedicated to all new kitchen gardeners. Happy Holidays and keep Gardening!
Check out my previous post: How to Transplant and Grow Amaryllis Belladonna?
When is the Right Time to Plant a Tomato seedling?
There are 100s of different Tomato varieties to choose from. Most of them are developed to grow in specific climatic conditions. In general, You can start every Tomato variety indoors in late winter. Take care of the seedlings and shift them outside when the risk of frost is over.
If you don’t receive snowfall or cold nights during winter then start seedlings in early fall. Here you can enjoy delicious fruits throughout winter until hot summer.
Overall, the right time to plant tomato seedlings depends on two important factors. The first one is the local climatic condition and the second is the location where you want to grow the plants.
If you are planning for a greenhouse garden then you can plant Tomato seedlings any time of the year. Otherwise, wait for the night temperature to rise above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and then plant the seedlings. Tomato seedlings are very delicate and fragile. They can’t sustain heavy frost or bright overhead sunlight during summer. So adjust the time accordingly.
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When to Plant a Tomato plant outdoor?
You can shift a Tomato Plant outdoor after a week of the last frost in spring. Calculating the last frost date is essential if you live in Zone 9 or below. A sudden drop in temperature can easily kill the delicate seedlings. So it is better to wait until the temperature rises above 50 degrees at night. 48 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night is a safe temperature zone to plant tomatoes outdoor. This is the night temperature range so you will get a relatively 5 to 10 degrees difference in the daytime. You should plant Tomato outdoor during late spring to summer in USDA zone 9 and below.
You can plant a Tomato plant outdoor in late fall especially in USDA zone 10 and above. In these areas, summer days are comparatively hotter. The overhead daylight can burn the foliage during peak summer days. So It is better to plant tomatoes in late summer to fall when the temperature is not so high. Otherwise, you have to use proper shade to avoid extra sunlight.
Overall you have to evaluate the complete growth timing of the tomato plant as it should always fall within 55 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature range to grow most of the delicious Tomato varieties. Though the result may vary a bit with different temperatures and varieties they all will yield better in this range.
Also read: How to Control Tomato Pests and Diseases?
Which month is ideal to plant Tomatoes?
The answer to this quest depends on where you live. In USDA Zone 3, 4, and 5 You can plant Tomatoes from Mid March to May. Here this is the time for Spring to early summer.
In USDA zone 5,6, and 7 February to April is the right time to plant Tomatoes. The temperature will still be cold for the delicate plants but with proper care, you can save them and get a good yield.
Mid-Jan to early March is the ideal time to grow Tomatoes in USDA Agricultural zone 8 and 9. The temperature during these months is still cold but not freezing enough to kill the baby tomato seedlings. Though it is always a good habit to make sure the risk of frost is over. Sometimes during early spring, a sudden frost can happen and this can damage the plants. So be careful with the timing and wait for a couple more weeks to move the plants outdoor.
Now, You can plant your Tomates outdoor in Late Summer during September to early November in Zone 10 and above. Here fall and winter are not so cold and this is the ideal time for tomatoes. You can get prolonged fruiting in these areas. Tomato plants can easily grow, bloom and fruit throughout winter till summer in zone 10 and above.
Can I plant tomatoes in March?
Yes, you can plant tomatoes in March. If you live in USDA Zone 5 to 9 then this ideal time for your garden. Tomato season has come and you have plenty of options to choose from. you will have an advantage if you use a seedling instead of seeds to grow tomatoes in March. It will reduce 12 weeks waiting time and you will get the early fruits.
You can plant tomatoes in March even in Zone 10 and above. Although you should only grow Tomato varieties with a short life cycle in March. The continuous temperature rise will not allow the tomato plants to thrive throughout summer. Use proper shading especially if you want to grow regular Tomato in March. A green net will help reduce sunlight exposure during summer days.
Overall, the month of March is the right time to grow Tomatoes anywhere in USDA zone 5 through 9.
Factors that can affect Tomato plantation Timing
Many factors can affect the plantation time of a Tomato plant. Local Temperature is the prime of all. Temperature plays an important role in the growth of a Tomato plant. Almost every tomato plant variety like a balance temperature range of 55 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is naturally available during the spring season and fall. So if you don’t experience frost during winter then start in early to mid-fall. Else start your tomatoes in Early spring.
Tomato variety is another deciding factor for growing time. there are many tomato varieties developed only to adapt to cold climatic conditions. They do well in Zone 2 to 5 during spring. But they will not yield enough in zone 7 to 9. Similarly, tomatoes varieties developed for hotter regions will not perform well in cold Zone 7 or below.
In the cold Zone, the last frost days are also important to decide when to plant Tomatoes. Temperature, climate, and frost timing together make the limited season for Tomato gardening. It can range anywhere from 4 months to 8 months depending on the agricultural zones. A simple rule to decide the last frost date is by growing through the previous year’s data. It is easily available in local news databases or community data centers. Mark 1 week date later than the average last frost date to plant your tomatoes.
Can I plant Tomatoes in Winter?
You can plant Tomatoes in winter especially in zone 10 and above. Otherwise, you can grow tomatoes indoors during winter. Ideally, this is the time to start seedling indoors for the spring garden. An early start can give you enough time in the season. You will be able to get more tomato fruits throughout the spring season. This is a significant advantage of time. A tomato plant can take 12 to 16 weeks to grow and be ready to bloom. If you have prepared your Tomato plants indoors during summer then all you need is to shift them outside during spring.
You will get 1 to 2 extra months of fruiting. So it is good to plant tomatoes in winter.
Are Specific Tomato varieties available for different Seasons?
Yes, Indeed there are different tomato varieties available for the different climatic conditions. It is not specific to the season but you can find some tomatoes especially for hotter zones while others are good for cooler regions.
Mortgage lifter, Beefsteak, Cherry, purple lady, golden bird are a few delicious tomato varieties to choose from for different climatic conditions. You can find several other tomato varieties for your locality.