> 2-4 weeks after LFD

The best time to transplant Tomatoes (or anything else) is on a warm cloudy day. If rain threatens even better. If you don’t get cloudy days, then transplant them in the early evening, not in the heat of the day.

You can give Tomatoes a lot of attention while planting, because you don’t usually plant very many.

1. Dig a fairly large planting hole and amend it with a couple of handfuls of compost.

2. Plant the seedlings so most of the stem is buried (pinch off the lower leaves) and they will grow roots along the buried stem.

3. It is a good idea to put the supporting stakes, or cages, in the ground at this time, to avoid disturbing the plants later.

Very large or leggy plants can be planted sideways in a shallow trench. They will produce roots all along the buried stem and will benefit from the warmth of the shallow soil near the surface.

Buying transplants: This is the easiest way to get Tomatoes, though you don’t get as many choices of varieties. You may also buy problems in the form of disease or insect pests, so check them carefully before you buy. The best transplants are about 8˝tall and stocky (never leggy). Don’t buy plants with flowers or tiny fruit in the belief this will save you time. Premature flowering is actually a sign of stress. The larger the plant the greater the setback from transplanting, which is why smaller plants do better in the long term.

> Warm, Hot

Tomatoes are warm-season plants and should be planted only after danger of frost has passed. Temperature is an important factor in the production of tomatoes, which are particularly sensitive to low night temperatures.

If you have a very long growing season you can direct sow them outside.

> When outdoor temp: 50°F to 95°F, optimal temp 70°F to 75°F
> When min soil temp: 60°F

It is important that the soil be sufficiently warm (60° F minimum) for planting Tomatoes. If it is too cold they will simply sit there without growing and may even be permanently retarded.

Spacing

36.0"-48.0", (1 per 3x3) plants per sq ft

This variety needs more space, and should be spaced 3 to 4' apart. If growing in rows, space rows 36 to 60" apart.

Intensive spacing: Put plants at 18, 24, or 30" apart. The considerable variation in spacing is due to the difference in the size of the varieties and in the fertility of the soil. Very close spacing of tomatoes reduces the yield per plant, but may actually increase the yield per area, as you grow more plants. Sunlight isn't needed for ripening the fruit, so the foliage can be quite dense.

Transplant Outdoors

2-4 weeks after LFD

The best time to transplant Tomatoes (or anything else) is on a warm cloudy day. If rain threatens even better. If you don’t get cloudy days, then transplant them in the early evening, not in the heat of the day.

You can give Tomatoes a lot of attention while planting, because you don’t usually plant very many.

1. Dig a fairly large planting hole and amend it with a couple of handfuls of compost.

2. Plant the seedlings so most of the stem is buried (pinch off the lower leaves) and they will grow roots along the buried stem.

3. It is a good idea to put the supporting stakes, or cages, in the ground at this time, to avoid disturbing the plants later.

Very large or leggy plants can be planted sideways in a shallow trench. They will produce roots all along the buried stem and will benefit from the warmth of the shallow soil near the surface.

Buying transplants: This is the easiest way to get Tomatoes, though you don’t get as many choices of varieties. You may also buy problems in the form of disease or insect pests, so check them carefully before you buy. The best transplants are about 8˝tall and stocky (never leggy). Don’t buy plants with flowers or tiny fruit in the belief this will save you time. Premature flowering is actually a sign of stress. The larger the plant the greater the setback from transplanting, which is why smaller plants do better in the long term.

Support

At planting

If you want to go for the easiest kind of support, with the most efficiency and the least effort, use a wire cage.

Indeterminate varieties should be staked, caged or trellised. Set the support at the time of planting. The plants can be trained, trimmed and tied in place on a regular basis.

You can let your plants grow without support, they can just sprawl on the ground. However when plants are supported the loss of fruit to disease, rotting, and pests is much less and one can grow more plants in a given area. As a result the harvest can be significantly larger.