Tomato Stat Summary
Plant Spacing: 18-30" (457-762 mm)
Row Spacing: 36-48" (914-1219 mm)
Planting Depth: 1/4" (6 mm)
Plants Per Person: 4
Soil Temperature: 70-90°F (21-32°C)
Days to Emergence: 6-14
Recommended Soil PH: 6.0-6.8
Seed Indoors: 8 weeks before transplanting
Earliest Outdoor Planting: After Last Frost
Can direct seed outdoors
Can seed indoors
Sow seeds indoors 1/4 inch deep into sterile seedling mix; cover with plastic to keep from drying out. When the first set of true leaves appear move seedling into a 3-4 inch pots which is set in direct sunlight. When watering allow the soil surface to dry, but not the underground layers. Fertilize with fish emulsion every 10 to 12 days. Harden off several days before planting outdoors.
Tomatoes establish a stronger root system if planted deeper; additional roots will form along the buried stem. After removing any smaller weak bottom leaves, set seedling in the ground so that the soil level is just below the lowest good leaves.
Space determinate tomato plants 18-24 inches apart and indeterminate varieties 20 to 30 inches apart in well-drained, moderately fertile soil, high in organic matter with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Clays and loams produce the highest yields; lighter soils that drain and warm quickly can produce earlier harvests. Space rows 3 to 4 feet apart.
Prune tomatoes to one or two vigorous stems by snapping off “suckers” (stems growing from where leaf stems meet the main stem) when they are 2 to 4 inches long. Consistent moisture needed, but does not tolerate waterlogged soils. Mulch around each plant to help control weeds. Indeterminate tomatoes grow vertically; they will need support from a trellis, cage or pole. As the plant grows tie the stem to the stake or trellis with soft string or cloth; to accommodate more growth, form the tie into a figure-8 with the stem in one loop and the stake in the other. Start about 10 inches above the ground and continue to tie at similar intervals as the plant grows.
Harvesting and Storing Tomato
Pick regularly as soon as the fruits turn its full color but are still firm. Some large heirloom varieties ripen before they reach full color; in this case pick tomatoes when the skin still looks smooth and waxy, even if the top hasn't turned its mature color yet. Eat fresh or store for 7 to 10 days at 45 to 50 degrees F with 85% humidity. Green tomatoes can be held for ripening up to 5 weeks at 60 to 70 degrees F with 85% humidity.
Tomato Insect and Disease Information
Flea beetles can be most destructive early in the season; minimize by using row covers and keeping weeds removed. Control flea beetles with a vegetable safe insecticide. Tomato hornworms are large green caterpillars with white stripes on the body who feed on the leaves and fruit. Handpick in cooler parts of the day or use biological insecticides. Diseases can be minimized by using a 3 year crop rotation, drip irrigation, mulching around plants, removing weeds and maximizing air circulation around plants.
Tomato Yield Information
No yield information for Tomato.
Our New Book
A detailed look over 90 vegetables and herbs.
Guides for planting, growing, harvesting, and storing.
Now Available at
Amazon.com or as a PDF