Garden + Gardening + Gardening Tips & Advice

Planting - Tomato

Planting Information

Seeding Rate Per Foot Scatter seed on top of potting soil and transplant when they get their first true set of leaves.
Seeds Per Ounce 7,000 to 12,000
Space Between Plants 18"
Planting Depth Plant to cover the first set of leaves or more if the plant is overgrown.
Plant Height Tall
Plant Types Tomatoes can be categorized in three ways: 1. Fruit shape -- cherry, plum, pear, standard and beefsteak 2. Maturity date -- early mid-season or late. Early tomatoes ripen from 55 to 65 days from transplanting, mid-season 66 to 80 days and late varieties require 8 days or longer. 3. Color -- colors range in shades of white, lime green, pink, yellow, golden, orange, and red. Pink, yellow and orange are milder flavored, but not necessarily lower in acid.
Favorite Varieties Very Early: Glacier, Oregon Spring, Pixie Hybrid, Sub arctic Maxi Cherry: Presto Hybrid, Sweet 100 Hybrid, Toy Boy Hybrid, Sweet Million Hybrid Early : Early Cascade Hybrid, Early Girl Hybrid Medium size: Celebrity Hybrid, Roza (curly top resistant), Jet Star Hybrid, Large Size: DX 52-12 (Hamson), Big Beef, Floramerica High Solids: Roma, Royal Chico, Square Paste Fall storage: Long Keeper
Seed Viability (Years) 4 years
Seed Germination 70 F to 75 F
Germination Time 43 days at 50 F
14 days at 59 F
8 days at 68 F
6 days at 77 F to 90 F
9 days at 95 F or higher

Planting Instructions

Sow seeds indoors in loose potting mixture about 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected date of frost. Soil temperatures should be between 70 and 75 F for optimum germination. Most seeds germinate in 6 to 12 days.

Sow seed on top of the media in flats and cover lightly with vermiculite or other media. Mist to keep surface moist or cover with moist newspaper or clear plastic. When most of the seedlings emerge, remove the newspaper or plastic and allow the plants to get plenty of sunlight or place a bank of flourescent lights about 4 inches above the flat, moving the light upward as the plants grow.

When the seedlings get their first set of true leaves, carefully transplant into individual containers. Dig under plants, and lift and separate them carefully to avoid breaking fragile stems or damaging tender roots. Make a hole in the soil in the transplant pot and lower the plant into it to the first leaf stem. Roots develop along the buried stem.

When the date for planting outdoors is approaching, move the plants outdoors to a protected area where they get full sun but are out of the wind. Bring them indoors at night or during cold snaps. Continue this for three to four days before transplanting.

About 7 to 10 days after the expected date of last frost, set out into well-prepared, loose, garden soil in a sunny area. They can be set out earlier if wall-o-waters or similar season protector is placed over them to protect them from the cold. Plant them deeply enough to bury the lower leaves leaving the top three or four out of the ground. If tomatoes have grown long and leggy, dig a trench and lay the tomato along the trench leaving the top three or four sets of leaves above the soil. The advantage of the trench is that the buried stem and roots are near the soil surface and will warm faster than those buried deeper.

Water deeply to encourage deep root growth in either case. Water frequently for a week or two, gradually diminishing frequency and increasing depth of penetration. Established plants require about 1" of water per week.

Plants are well adapted to drip irrigation provided placement of plants matches the drip holes in the irrigation hose.

For wide row planting, place plants allowing about 18" to 24" between plants if caged, 24" to 36" apart if unsupported. If drip hoses are being used, place two hoses down each bed and alternate planting on both sides of both hoses, alternating tomato placement on both sides to allow for proper spacing.

Use smaller tomato plants for container planting or support plants with cages or trellises.





Determinate plants do not get tall and rangy, but may not continue to bear fruit through the season. Indeterminate plants grow larger and bear fruit all season.

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