Planting

    • Before planting your tomatoes, make sure that we are getting consistent night temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees. 
    • Regardless of whether you’re planting a determinate or indeterminate variety of tomato, plant your seedling up to its top leaves to promote deeper and stronger roots.
    • Space plants 18”-24” apart.

Sun Requirements

    • Your plant(s) will need 6-8 hours of full sunlight per day. As they grow, the tomatoes will receive their sugars from whatever sunlight is picked up by its leaves.

Watering Requirements

    • Keep your tomato plants on a regular watering schedule. Water daily for the first couple weeks after transplanting. Then, gradually let off. The frequency of your watering should depend on daytime temperatures:

      Less than 80 degrees: 1”-2” of water, once a week
      In the 80s: 1”-2” of water, 2-3 times a week
      In the 90s: 1”-2” of water, 3-4 times a week

      ***One inch of water is one inch per square foot of garden space, which is equivalent to 0.62 gallons of water
    • Inconsistent watering will result either in a rotten plant or split tomatoes. Water your plants deeply, slowly, and early in the day if you can. Add a layer of mulch on top to control moisture and prevent diseases. 

Caring for Indeterminate Tomato Plants

 

    • Most tomato plants are classified as indeterminate, meaning they will grow tall and bear fruit all throughout the season when properly cared for. Because they tend to grow long and tall with extending vines, they require structural support. Cage ‘em, trellis ‘em, stake ‘emwhatever you can do to keep them off the ground.
    • You’ll also want to prune your indeterminate tomato plants throughout the season to make sure you’re optimizing their available energy. As with herb plants, don’t prune more than one third of the plant at once. Shown below is a picture of a “sucker”…
  • Suckers grow between tomato plants’ stems and branches. When left alone, they may produce fruit, but generally they waste valuable energy and prevent optimal airflow. Cut these off as close to the stem and branch as you can without damaging either.

Indeterminate Tomato Plants: Amish Paste, Large Barred Boar (Beefsteak), Brandywine, San Marzano, Paul Robeson, Sweet Treats, Rutgers, Green Zebra, Copia, Orange Strawberry, Oxheart, Japanese Black Trifele, Super Verde Tomatillo, Tidy Treats, German Striped, Yellow Plum, Sugar Bomb, Red Plum, Arkansas Traveler, Pink Bumblebee, Sunburst, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye

Caring for Determinate Plants

    • Determinate tomato plants are known as “bush tomatoes.” Unlike indeterminate tomato plants, they are smaller and bushier as they mature, which makes them popular candidates for container gardening. They require little (if any) structural support, as they typically grow to be 2′-3’ tall. Pots that are 18”-24” in diameter work well for determinate tomato plants and give their roots plenty of room to stretch.
    • The main difference with determinate plants is their life cycle. Rather than producing fruit throughout the season, they will produce all their fruit at once, at which point it they complete their life cycle. It is for this reason that many growers do not prune their determinate plants. Instead, many growers leave those “suckers” alone to maximize all opportunities for fruit production. 

Determinate Tomato Plants: Carolina Gold, Roma Plum, Patio Tomato, Ruby Crush, Red Deuce

Semi-Determinate: Celebrity (Grows more like a bush, 3′-4′ tall, but may produce fruit until frost. Pruning suckers is optional.)