Tomatoes are one of the most used vegetables around the world. They are used in a myriad of dishes and salads. Many people have found that growing their own tomatoes greatly increases their ease in using tomatoes and confidence that they are getting a quality vegetable. Although, in order to avoid any problems and harvesting too many tomatoes then you know what to do with at one time, some people have enhanced their harvest by staggering when they plant their tomato plants and therefore are able to harvest fresh, ripe tomatoes through out the growing season.
One of the ways to avoid problems associated with growing tomatoes is to stagger a tomato harvest. This greatly depends on the area in which you are planting and the length of the growing season. Tomato growers need to wait until the soil temperature in their area is at least 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature during the day should also be 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature at night should be between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Regardless of whether the tomatoes are planted in early March or early May, the first tomato usually doesn’t ripen until late July. The full production usually begins in early August as long as the tomato plants are planted by early May. They are sun vegetables and need warm climates. A minimum of six hours of full sun is required for their growth and ripening. If you are interested in harvesting your tomatoes in November before the first frost comes along in December, you should plant your tomatoes in June. Tomatoes do not tolerate the frost.
In some warmer climates, tomatoes can be grown almost all year round. Planting tomato plants in April will give you a wonderful summer crop of most tomato varieties. Those who wish to have a fall or winter crop of home grown tomatoes choose to plant tomato seedlings in July or August. In these warmer climates, it is still possible to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.
Another way to avoid problems growing tomatoes is to plant seedlings rather then seeds in your outdoor garden. If you plan to grow your tomato plants from seeds then transplant them later, you should plant your seeds in a flat indoors 5 to 6 weeks before you intend to plant them in the ground. Seedlings should be at least at a six leaf stage to go into the ground in your outdoor garden. Make sure that the soil in your garden has been tilled well. The soil should also be slightly acid with a pH level of 5.5 to 7.8. Although, home grown tomatoes grow in most types of soil, a light, well-drained fertile soil, high in organic matter, is considered best.
Some cold climate tomato growers have even turned to compact, portable greenhouses as a way to avoid problems and to be able to get the most out of their tomato crop. These types of greenhouses allow you to gradually and safely expose your growing crop to the cold outdoors. This is called hardening off without which tender seedlings can die quickly on a cold night.