- Germination Days: 7 - 10
- Hardiness Zones:5-9
- Planting Depth: 1/4"
- Plant Spacing:12”
- Row Spacing:24’
- Growth Habit:Vine
- Soil Preference:Rich, sandy, light and well-drained, 6.2-6.8 pH
- Temp Preference:warm
- Light Preference:Full sun
- Days to Maturity:80 days
Tomatoes are available in a wide variety of shapes, color and sizes. They are broadly classified into two categories:
- Determinate are those that grow to pre-determined height. They are good choices for canning and sauces.
- Indeterminate are those that continue to grow in height and produce fruits throughout the growing season.
- Select a site with full sun. For northern regions, it is VERYimportant that your site receives at least 6 hours of daily sunlight.
- Tomatoes will grow in many different soil types, but it needs to be well drained. They prefer a slightly acid soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8.
- Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the average last spring frost date.
- Two weeks before planting tomato plants outdoors, dig into soil and mix in aged manure or compost.
- Harden off seedlings for a week before planting in the garden. Set young plants outdoors in the shade for a couple of hours the first day, gradually increasing the amount of time the plants are outside each day to include some direct sunlight.
- Place tomato stakes or cages in the soil at the time of planting to avoid damaging roots later on.
- Apply fertilizer such as 5-10-5, or 10-10-10 per package instructions. Do not apply high nitrogen fertilizers, as they promote luxurious foliage growth but will delay flowering and fruiting.
- Space tomato transplants at least 2 feet apart.
- Plant the root ball deep enough so that the lowest leaves are just above the surface of the soil.
- If transplants are leggy, bury up to ⅔ of the plant including lowest leaves. Tomato stems have the ability to grow roots from the buried stems.
- Be sure to water the transplant thoroughly to establish good root/soil contact and prevent wilting.
- Newly set transplants may need to be shaded for the first week or so to prevent excessive drying of the leaves.
- Water generously the first few days that the tomato seedlings or transplants are in the ground.
- Water well throughout the growing season, about 2 inches (about 1.2 gallons) per week during the summer.
- Water in the early morning. This gives plant the moisture it needs to make it through a hot day. Avoid watering late afternoon or evening.
- Mulch after transplanting to retain moisture and to control weeds. Mulch also keeps soil from splashing the lower tomato leaves.
- Watering in with a starter fertilizer solution will help get the roots off to a good start.
- Side dress plants with fertilizer or compost every two weeks starting when fruits are about 1 inch in diameter.
- If staking, use soft string or old nylon stocking to secure the tomato stem to the stake.
- It is essential to remove the suckers (side stems) by pinching them off just beyond the first two leaves.
Pests / Diseases
- Flea Beetles
- Tomato Hornworm
- Blossom End Rot
- Late Blight is a fungal disease that can strike during any part of the growing season. It will cause grey, moldy spots on leaves & fruit which later turn brown. The disease is spread & supported by persistent damp weather. Also it will overwinter, so all infected plants should be destroyed.
- Mosiac Virus: creates distorted leaves and causes young growth to be narrow and twisted, the leaves become mottled with yellow. Unfortunately, infected plants should be destroyed and don’t add them in compost pile.
- Cracking: When fruit growth is too rapid, the skin will crack. This usually occurs due to uneven watering or uneven moisture from weather conditions (very rainy periods mixed with dry periods). Keep moisture levels constant with consistent watering and mulching.