Growing Tomato

Lycopersicon esculentum : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S S                  
      T T T            
      P P              

(Best months for growing Tomato in USA - Zone 7a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 61°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 16 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 8-17 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Asparagus, Chervil,Carrot, Celery, Chives, Parsley, Marigold, Basil
  • Avoid growing close to: Rosemary, Potatoes, Fennel, Cucumber
  • a)  Seedlings
  • b) 6 weeks old
  • c) Tomato Roma (acid free)

TOMATOES


There is nothing like the taste of a freshly picked tomato, warm from the sunshine. In the smallest of gardens or even an apartment with a window-box, it is worth growing at least one tomato plant for the pleasure it will give you. They will grow in pots, troughs or even hanging baskets.

Tomatoes should be grown in shelter or under cover in cool climates.


Tomatoes need feeding. In a garden bed, compost and mulching will produce a crop from one or two plants. In containers, use some suitable long term fertiliser pellets or feed regularly when you water. Feeding also improves the flavour of the fruit.


When you plant out, put the seedlings in a deep holes, up to the top set of leaves. The covered stems will put out extra roots and you will have a stronger, healthier plant.

There are many different varieties of tomatoes but they all have one of two growth habits.

Determinate:

Compact bush growth, stops at a specific height and useful for containers. If left without supporting stakes, they will form a dense carpet which excludes weeds and keeps the soil cool and damp.

Indeterminate:

Will continue growing a main stem, or vine until stopped by frost. The majority of heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate.

Both types need stakes to give them some support otherwise they will sprawl across the garden.

Varieties include Acid-free, Bush, Tall, Cherry, Yellow and many others.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Tomato

Use in sauces, with fried meals, in sandwiches. Can be frozen whole or in pieces.

Your comments and tips

25 Aug 22, Hannah (Canada - Zone 3b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
I have grow small tomatoes plant about three inches inside pot , now the plant grow about two feet tall n have a lot of tomatoes . I know the plant will die in winter . My question is will it grows back next year spring n summer ? Should I throw away the old plant n grow from small tomatoes plant every year ? Please advice .
28 Aug 22, Philip Morton (Australia - temperate climate)
Let it die off and start anew. Even indeterminate tomatoes are annual and not perrenial. It could survive in a warm sheltered area but you will very likely be disappointed with a new season crop. Disease is likely to take hold of the plant as well causing further stress.
03 Jun 22, Siva Sutendra (Canada - Zone 2b Sub-Arctic climate)
I live in Yellowknife, nwt, Canada. I have arctic tomato plants from seeding and grown to about 2 to 3 ft tall. When can I plant them in ground? What is the min temperature during night. Currently, the night temp is about 5c and daytime is 17c.. Thanks Siva
13 Jun 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
The KILL temperature for tomatoes is 2c. If you expect your night time temperatures to be below 4c, I would cover the tomato plant with plastic, and remove the plastic in the morning. The plastic should not be touching the plant. You can cover the plant umbrella style or tent style (fully enclosed like a mini green house). If for some reason you expect to get a really bad cold snap, I would dig the plant up, taking as much soil as possible, you can place the root ball on a piece of plastic (tarp and wrap the root ball), or on burlap, or in a pot, or in a cardboard box... whatever, then move the plant into the shed/garage/on a covered porch close to the house and keep it there until the temps warm up again. The goal when temperatures drop is too keep the morning dew off the plant, and if possible provide warmth by placing it close to the house, or in a enclosed shed.
06 Jun 22, (Canada - Zone 2b Sub-Arctic climate)
Plant out now by the planting guide here.
02 Jun 22, KATE (Australia - tropical climate)
Tomato seedlings get up to about 2 inches high, then just fall over and die. Spinach did the same. In tropical Darwin. Tried growing seedlings in trays first, plant them out only to loose them about a week later. Trying to Grow in a raised bed as no success into garden soil. Raised bed built mostly of potting mixtures with bags of compost and sand added. Lots of Dynamic lifter, turned over and left fallow for the wet season. Seedlings did the same death rate in the raised bed. What am I missing. Been here for 3 years and first season crops were really abundant. Now everything dies except for my Lime, Lemon and Guava Trees. Is it just to hot for Tomatoes and spinach now?
06 Jun 22, Anonymous (Australia - tropical climate)
Tropical climate - plant tomato seeds May, transplant June and July. Your soil mix is very porous, it would dry out very quickly especially in hot Darwin. And with watering it would leach out the fertilisers. With your soil mix you probably needed to water 3-4 times a day. The wet season probably leached all the Dynamic Lifter out of the soil. Ok- potting mix has a lot of wood in it. Material like this grabs the nitrogen before the plant does. Compost would do the same if it is not completely broken down. Here is what I do, sub tropical, in the fallow season Nov to April, I dig/turn my soil over adding grass clippings, shrub trimming etc mulched with the mower. With normal rain it will keep this moist and help break down the grass etc. You can add a little D Lifter. By late April /early May after the wet season you should have some good friable soil (depends what the original soil was like). You could add some more compost if you like and maybe manures, about 3-4 (?)
31 May 22, Iris Sullivan (USA - Zone 11b climate)
where to buy tomato seeds for tomato plants that can withstand 11b climate.
19 Jun 22, susan pawley (USA - Zone 10b climate)
its really hot and humid in south east florida. too far inland for any sea breezes too. I had great luck with a variety bred by UofF for growing here called Floridade. Another one also bred for south fl climate is Talladega and Amelia. I havent grown them for a few years I think I got the seeds on line at rareseeds.com but not sure. Only getting back into gardening last winter as Ive been on hiatus due to illness.
29 Apr 22, (USA - Zone 10b climate)
Any tips for growing tomatoes during the summer in zone 10b USA?
Showing 1 - 10 of 763 comments

You can look up the germination (seed hatching) temperature for various vegetables online. Compare this temperature to your soil temperature (even your air temperature to get an idea) -- the germination temperature needs to be met and sustained for the seeds to germinate (in addition to water, soil and presence of light for some shallow planted seeds). Most likely you will still benefit from starting indoors -- it all depends on temperatures AND which veggies you are planting - some veggies seeds have fairly low germination temps - beans, chard, mustard etc. Other veggies have very high germination temps: tomatoes, peppers etc. Remember that the germination temp needs to not only be met, it needs to be sustained. Since you can control your inside temperature - I would start my seeds indoors -- and potentially add a heating pad under the seedling tray. If you plant outdoors you can use a tarp to help warm the soil; I prefer clear elevated about 6" above the ground (like a green house) to help warm the soil when the sun hits it
- Celeste Archer

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