I was inspired to grow tomatoes by seeing my grandad John's plants laden with huge beefsteaks, rubbing the furry leaves between my fingers and sniffing their curious scent.When I started growing them myself, I got obsessed with the curious world of heritage tomatoes.Sow early, but not too early - March or April - in a heated propagator.Sow an early variety if you want the quickest possible harvest (Real Seeds has a good selection of early tomatoes). .
When to Plant Tomatoes in PA – Homestead Gardens
When to plant tomatoes outside in PA.If you have a way to protect the plant from the cold or are planting them in a container that you can carry inside over colder nights, you can start tomato plants as early as early April.For most growers, planting tomato plants in May is going to be the best option, which sets them up to receive their tomato harvest in August and into the fall (assuming the plants are properly taken care of).While you’re waiting, you can transplant the small tomato plants into a larger container.If you are starting your tomato plants from seed, a good time to plant these seeds in PA is early to late February.PA growing zones.Determining when to plant tomatoes in PA depends largely on the growing zones that you are in.Each zone has a different level of weather exposure and extreme temperatures, so it’s important to follow local guidelines for each zone.While May is a good time to plant your tomato plants in PA, your garden as a whole will have varying times that it will be best to plant items.Spinach, arugula, lettuces, and herbs can all be more difficult to grow in the heat of the summer, but are great for an early spring harvest or fall harvest. .
How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes, Part 2: Transplanting
To help them along, there are two things you need to do before you transplant your seedlings: Prepare the soil and something gardeners call hardening off.Take your tomato seedlings outside and leave them in this protected place for a few hours on day one.On day two, leave them outdoors for a little longer.Continue taking them back and forth each day, leaving them out a little longer each time and slowly increasing their sun exposure by inching them out of the shade.Day one of the hardening-off period is a good time to start preparing the soil.Spacing is based on the mature size of the plant and may range from 30 to 60 inches (avoid the temptation to plant the tiny seedlings closer together – overcrowding can contribute to the spread of diseases).Tomatoes need slightly acidic soil conditions (a pH between 6 and 6.8 is ideal).After preparing beds for tomatoes, covering the soil with black plastic for a few weeks prior to planting is one way to get it warm.Black plastic absorbs the heat of the sun during the day and transfers it to the soil so it’s toasty once the seedlings go in.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. .
Time of Year to Plant Tomatoes
America's favorite garden plant, the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), thrives in the warm temperatures of summer.You can plant seeds and transplant plants into the garden after the last frost date in your area, and you can also choose to get a head start on the growing season by starting seeds indoors between January and April, depending on your local climate.Start tomatoes indoors in seed-starting trays or recyclable pots, six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.Wait two weeks after the last frost date to plant seeds or set transplants outdoors.The seedlings require six to eight hours of bright light daily; place them near a south or southeast-facing window, and turn them weekly.Transplant homegrown or commercially produced tomato seedlings outside after all chance of frost has passed.Dig 3 or 4 inches of compost into a well-drained garden bed that receives six to eight hours of sunlight daily.Paper or peat pots must be completely buried to avoid drawing moisture from the soil around the plants' roots. .
Starting Tomatoes Indoors Instructions – West Coast Seeds
It speaks of the summer’s heat like nothing else in the garden — but it does require starting tomatoes indoors.Bush tomatoes produce fruit around the same time on relatively compact plants, while vine tomatoes bear fruit over a longer time on taller plants.Once the variety has been selected, it’s time to set up a place where the seedlings can grow.The "bottom heat" provided by such a mat can hasten germination by one to two weeks.The best time to sow tomato seeds is mid-March to early April.What about transplanting the seedlings out into the garden?After a week, begin to leave them outdoors at night, unless the nighttime temperatures are still questionable.When they are transplanted into to the garden, they can be sunk down so the soil touches the first set of true leaves.Is this your first year to try growing tomatoes from seed? .
Your plant tags say to plant tomatoes deep: two-thirds of the plant underground.Yes, we recommend this because the more plant you put under the soil, the better the root system.This varies a little with weather and region, but the “days to maturity” is a good way to see what will be ready early, mid, and late season.What size cage should I use for my tomato plants?Full sun means no shade all day, but in many cases in the summer, that’s too much.Is it a good idea to always stake or cage my tomatoes?Staking tomatoes helps to increase yield and prevent rotting and diseases.Yes, a 5-gallon container is the minimum size for a tomato plant.Yes, many varieties are resistant to nematodes.To help the current crop, purchase a calcium solution, such as Stop-rot, that you spray on the plants. .
How to Store Tomatoes
If you want to get a room full of tomato lovers fired up, announce to everyone that you put them in the fridge, and watch the vitriol flow.He notes that anything other than fully ripe tomatoes really suffer after refrigeration in every way—flavor development, coloration, and mealy texture.However, the key phrase to pay attention to here is “anything other than fully ripe tomatoes.” Temperatures below 55° F (like the inside of your refrigerator) halt unripe tomatoes’ flavor-producing enzyme activity.McGee notes that while fully ripe fresh tomatoes are still susceptible to flavor loss when placed in the refrigerator, some of that enzyme activity can come back if they are allowed to recover for a day or two at room temperature before eating.You might have heard not to store tomatoes upside-down because the “shoulders” (the area around the stem scar) are delicate and susceptible to bruising.If you’re worried about that, America’s Test Kitchen has a solution: Place a piece of tape over the stem scar. .
When To Plant Tomatoes
Here's the most important tip you may ever get for growing those tender summer veggies in the Pacific Northwest: for about $10, buy your own soil thermometer at a local retail nursery and you'll know for yourself when to plant.But for tomatoes to thrive, soil temperatures should be well into the 60s.Soil temperatures over 70 really spark growth.Optimum air temperatures are 75 to 95 F; air temperatures below 57 F delay growth and encourage tomato disease. .