Tomatoes are a popular and easy-to-grow plant found in home gardens, vegetable gardens, and even window boxes. If you enjoy getting your hands dirty in the soil, there is no better feeling than growing your edibles such as cilantro, pumpkins, and tomatoes. We’ve already gone over the first two, but let’s discuss everything you need to know about growing tomatoes.
More specifically, how long does it take to grow those vegetables? And when is the right time to plant them? Those might be a few questions in your mind if you’re growing tomatoes for the first time.
How to plant tomatoes?
Have you decided you want to grow your own crop of tomatoes? You’ll need to decide whether you’d like to start them from tomato seeds or established plants. Many home gardeners opt for the first option, as it’s so easy to do, and there are hundreds of different seed varieties available on the market. Seeds can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. That allows them time to grow into developed seedlings by the time the weather is warm enough to plant them in your garden.
- Fill a container with seed-starting mix.
- Plant your seeds about a quarter of an inch deep. You can plant a few seeds in one container.
- Lightly firm up the soil over the seeds.
- Lightly water the potting mix – the seeds want a moist, not soggy environment.
- Place the container in a warm location.
- The seeds should germinate within ten days.
If you’d rather skip the hassle of starting your tomatoes from seeds, you can purchase established tomato plants from your local garden center. Make sure to select healthy plants that have green foliage and strong stems. And don’t transplant your tomato plants into your garden before all danger of frost has passed!
Tips for growing tomatoes
It’s necessary to practice proper planting and growing techniques if you want the best quality crop. Here are some tips to ensure your tomatoes are healthy and productive
- Plant the tomato seedlings deep in the soil, up to the first leaves, as this encourages root growth.
- Water your plants deeply, as tomatoes need consistent moisture to thrive.
- Prune your plants regularly to keep them healthy and compact.
- Provide adequate sunlight; tomatoes need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
- Mulch the soil around the plants to help retain moisture.
- Fertilize your plants regularly with a balanced fertilizer to encourage growth and productivity.
How long do tomatoes take to grow?
How long do tomatoes take to grow? The answer depends on the type of tomato you are growing. And, of course, the growing conditions. Cherry tomatoes are usually the fastest to mature, with the fruits typically ready to harvest in as little as 50 days. Regular tomatoes take a bit longer, usually 60 days to 90 days, to reach maturity. But some tomato varieties take up to 120 days or even more to produce ripe fruit. Generally speaking – allow 60-100 days from seed to harvest when growing tomatoes.
When to plant tomatoes outside?
When it comes to planting tomatoes, timing is the key. Tomatoes are warm-weather plants and the best time to plant them is when temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Planting tomatoes too early can lead to stunted or even dead plants, while waiting too long can cause the plants to languish during the hottest part of the summer when they should be thriving.
So, when exactly should you plant them outside? That depends on where you live. The best time to plant tomatoes in most areas of the United States is in the early to mid-spring, after the last frost. It may be possible to plant as early as February or March in warm climates. In colder environments, wait until April or May when the weather is reliably warm.
Ensure the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit before planting your seedlings or established tomato plants outside. You can use a soil thermometer to measure the temperature. If the soil is too cold, you can use row covers or cloches to protect the plants from freezing temperatures.
Give it a read
When is it too late to plant tomatoes?
If it hasn’t frosted where you live yet, you may still be able to plant the fruit. Most tomato varieties need at least 60 days of warm weather to reach maturity, so if your growing season is only a few months long, you may need to choose an early-maturing variety. Early-maturing tomato varieties generally require about 50 days from planting to harvest ripe tomatoes. However, if the warm season is nearing its end, it’s best to wait until next year to plant your tomatoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do tomatoes grow on trees?
No, tomatoes don’t generally grow on trees – they grow on vines. But one variety of tomatoes does grow on trees – Tamarillo tomatoes!
Do tomatoes come back every year?
Whether your tomatoes will come back every year depends on the variety you’re growing and the climate they’re grown in. Tomatoes are perennial plants in their natural environment but don’t usually survive freezing winters.