Growing Tomato

Lycopersicon esculentum : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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

(Best months for growing Tomato in USA - Zone 5a 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
  • Tomatoes on plant
  • a)  Seedlings
  • b) 6 weeks old
  • c) Tomato Roma (acid free)

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 like lots of food! 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 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

08 May 24, Carla Stacy (USA - Zone 7b climate)
I’m growing tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket. I have flowers but no fruit. Planted April 19th. Last year same thing lots of flowers but no fruit. What am I doing wrong?
27 May 24, Victor (USA - Zone 9b climate)
Just lightly tap the flowers in order to pollinate them and they will form tomatoes.
19 May 24, s ott (USA - Zone 3b climate)
Try watering with a mixture of epsom salt (1 Tbsp per gal of water). Also, if you,ve seen the banana peel water combination I swear by these two methods. I have the biggest plants and the tomatoes are just loaded on every single plant. It works great for peppers too!
12 May 24, Texas Grown (USA - Zone 10a climate)
Maybe you don't have enough pollenators. Have flowers around. Make sure you're not spraying something that kills or repels pollinators.
11 May 24, (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Try a bit of pot ash or potassium.
21 Feb 24, Jenni (USA - Zone 7a climate)
I have had AMAZING results with planting tomatoes with Epsom salt in the planting hole, mixed in the soil. Then I use Super Thrive when I water, it's available at Walmart and Amazon. You can use it on any plant,indoors or out. Just try it. You'll love it!. I also feed with a good organic fertilizer. Foxfarm is the best for me, as well as their soils. Can't be beat.
05 Feb 24, Barbara Shaw (USA - Zone 8b climate)
What should I pretreat my soil with before I plant tomatoes . They are pretty and then they get root rot on bottom. I heard calcium . Is there anything else Thanks
20 Feb 24, jacob (USA - Zone 10a climate)
my understanding is that root rot is due to a lack of calcium, but calcium is usually plentiful in garden soil. the real issue is with inconsistent watering, meaning the plants cannot properly absorb that calcium. water more!
24 Feb 24, Celeste Archer (Australia - temperate climate)
I think you might have blossom end rot, and root rot mixed up. Blossom end rot occurs on the base of the tomato, and is caused by a lack of calcium (usually -- it could be other things that cause the calcium to be unavailable - PH, lack of water etc.). Blossom end rot causes the tomato to look deformed. Calcium added to the soil at the time of planting is usually adequate to ensure this does not happen. The calcium really needs to be added EARLY in the growing stages. You could also use egg shells -- I would grind/smash up the shells pretty good then work them into the soil of the planting hole; better yet, enrich with egg shells over the winter and early spring in anticipation of future planting. Root rot usually occurs when water sits around the roots of a plant for long periods of time -- bad drainage, excess watering, soil that holds too much water (which is really drainage). If you have proper aeration this usually doesn't happen since the air flow will whisk away excess moisture (provided it isn't a swamp at the roots). Try to create updrafts in your pots -- you want water drainage holes that do double duty -- let the water run off and allow air in. I find that holes at the SIDE BOTTOM of the pot, rather than directly under the pot, work well. It may seem like a hole at the side of the pot will let the soil out -- but pretty much after the first watering this stops happening -- and once the roots take hold it certainly does not happen. No need for drainage material (stones etc.) -- just use soil/compost top to bottom -- expect soil to come out at first when filling the pot -- after that you should be fine. I make my holes rather large -- on a BIG pot these holes are about 3inches (circular). Roots of plants really like air (maybe not direct exposure) but they certainly like the occasional breeze through the soil. Face the hole on the shady side of the pot for a cooling updraft in hot weather.
03 Feb 24, Carol Edwards (USA - Zone 6a climate)
What is the best tomato to grow in my zone
Showing 1 - 10 of 87 comments

Josef, Tomatoes in 9a or 9b can almost be grown every month, but tomatoes die if there is a frost, and stop growing/producing if the temperature is above 95F. Since this the beginning of summer, it is not advisable to plant tomatoes until after the heat of summer. If you have young tomatoes planted try and shade them, or keep them healthy so they can resume growing after the summer heat has passed.

- Anthony

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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