Tomatoes

Determinate Slicers | Indeterminate Slicers | Heirloom/O.P. | Cocktail | Roma/Plum/Saladette | Container/Hanging Basket | Cherry/Currant | Grape/Pear

View Quick Facts Chart

The “King” of the home garden and roadside stands, the tomato is grown by almost everyone who grows vegetables. Even those who do not have a vegetable garden will grow tomatoes from seed or plants, planting in containers or along a fence or in any sunny spot on a deck or patio. Containers should have a 5-gallon soil capacity for proper root development and staking or caging is most often necessary.
View Quick Facts Chart

The “King” of the home garden and roadside stands, the tomato is grown by almost everyone who grows vegetables. Even those who do not have a vegetable garden will grow tomatoes from seed or plants, planting in containers or along a fence or in any sunny spot on a deck or patio. Containers should have a 5-gallon soil capacity for proper root development and staking or caging is most often necessary.

Germination
Tomatoes are generally started in greenhouses about 6 weeks before transplanting outdoors. For optimum germination, start seeds at a soil temperature between 75-85°F, using a soil thermometer to monitor soil temperature. Seeds can be started in germination row trays and transplanted into larger plug trays once they develop their first true leaves. Tomato seeds can also be direct sown into 50 cell or 84 cell plug trays. Consider building your own germination chamber to increase germination rates and consistency.

High Tunnel
Start seedlings for high tunnel use following the guidelines above. To achieve larger transplants, many growers will transplant seedlings into 3½” pots. Schedule approx. 8-10 weeks prior to transplanting to allow transplants to reach a larger size. General spacing in high tunnels is 16-18” in row and 48” between rows.

Fertility
Soil testing is invaluable when determining a fertility plan. When sending in your soil sample, be sure to note tomatoes as the intended crop. Test results often include recommendations tailored for the crop and production situation. High tunnel growers commonly collect foliar samples for nutrient testing, allowing them to closely monitor nutrient levels and ensure high yields. Check with your State or Local Extension service for Soil and Nutrient testing programs.

Disease Control
Utilize the Extension service within your state to determine what diseases are affecting tomato crops in your area. When selecting varieties, carefully read the descriptions and quick reference charts to determine the best disease resistance package for you. For easy comparisons, see the Tomato Quick Reference Chart, as well as our top picks for disease resistances. Well-timed applications of fungicides appropriate for the crop and pathogen can reduce crop loss from disease.

Top Tomatoes for Disease Resistance
LATE BLIGHT
Slicers: Buffalosun, Damsel, Galahad, Medusa, Mountain Merit
Specialty: Lizzano, Mountain Magic, Mountain Honey

FUSARIUM (RACES 1-3)
Slicers: Amelia VR, Buffalosun, Dixie Red, Galahad, Mountain Merit, Red Mountain, Roadster
Specialty: Patria, Pony Express, Supremo, Mountain Honey, Ruby Crush

TOMATO MOSAIC VIRUS
Slicers: Big Beef, Caiman, Fenda, Premio, Primo Red, Red Deuce, Red Morning, Red Racer
Specialty: Artemis, Bellini, Gold Spark, Piccola Rouge, Pony Express, Pozzano, Ruby Crush, Sweet Hearts, Sweet Treats

Staking
Staking tomatoes provides numerous benefits. Staking reduces disease pressure by increasing air flow within and around plants, and keeping plants and fruit from directly contacting the ground. It also makes overall crop management and harvesting more efficient. Growers commonly use the Florida Weave Technique supported by 1” x 1” wooden stakes, placed every second plant. This method uses twine to support the plants at multiple intervals as they grow. For best results, first stake tomatoes when they reach about 1’ in height, and add additional layers of twine approximately every 4-8” as the plants grow.

Average Seed Count: 40 per packet; 600-800 per 1/16 Oz.; 10,900/Oz.; 175,000/Lb.

Late Blight Information from Cornell University

Show More
Show Less