You are probably impatient to plant tomatoes…
But is it the right time to plant?
Here are some criteria to consider when deciding when to plant tomatoes.
Ideal time between sowing and planting tomatoes
If you grow your own plants, it will take about 6 weeks between sowing and planting of the tomato plants in the vegetable garden.
Respecting this deadline will prevent the plant from starting to vegetate in its container (which is harder to know when buying plants…).
Given the usual weather conditions in your area (mainly the risk of frost, as we’ll see below), it’s best to plant your own plants… and start your tomato seedlings about 6 weeks before the planned planting date.
Condition of the tomato plant in the bucket
The second criterion to consider is the condition of the plant.
It should already be sufficiently developed (at least 30 cm high).
Then observe your tomato plant:
Do the roots come from under the bucket? the plant will then start to get tight… don’t wait any longer to put it in the ground.
Are the leaves starting to turn yellow? this is usually a result of the previous point, don’t wait too long!
But this provided the weather permits…
Tomatoes fear frost and rain…
Tomatoes are afraid of frost and rain is the main cause of late blight.
2 possible situations:
- You have a greenhouse
- You have no cash
Do you have a greenhouse for planting tomatoes?
In a greenhouse you can gain a few degrees at the coldest temperatures (about 4 or 5°).
In other words, if the temperature at this time of year in your area does not normally fall below -5°C, you should consider planting the tomatoes in the greenhouse (this can be done as early as February in the milder regions, but more generally it will be in March-April)
Plan a winter veil anyway, which you put on a Nantes tunnel just in case (be careful, don’t let the air flow under this mini tunnel).
In addition, a greenhouse protects your plants against rain and therefore also against cryptogamous diseases (especially mildew) due to excessive humidity (so it will also be essential to open the greenhouse regularly to prevent too much condensation).
Specifically, if this frost is still possible in your area and you don’t have a greenhouse, it’s better to wait until mid-May to plant the tomatoes… at least in most cases. But if your garden is at a high altitude, you’ll probably have to wait a little longer.
Traditionally, we wait until the end of the Ice Saints (11, 12 and 13 May) to plant tomatoes outside… but in reality frost remains possible until the end of the red moon, even if it is still quite rare (in 2020 , the red moon ends on May 22…).
Likewise, if rain is announced for a few days, it is better to wait and wait until the end of the rainy season to put your plants in the ground.
So when to plant tomatoes?
You should therefore take into account the various criteria that you have seen before:
- have your plants reached a sufficient stage of development to plant?
- Are the weather conditions favorable for planting (in a greenhouse or outside)?
That’s where you can go (see here how to plant your tomato plants).
Ok, but if my plants start to vegetate in the buckets when the weather conditions don’t allow them to be planted, what should I do?
Then repot them in larger buckets (by adding a little mature compost to the planting soil) so they can continue to develop well while waiting for the right moment…
It’s not over yet… discover the complete crop sheet to make good tomato crops!