The Q&A Archives: Planting Time For Tomatoes

Question: I've just planted my tomatoes and was told I planted them way too early. Did I? I'm checking the weather each evening to find out if there is a danger of frost. If there is a frost warning, I'll cover my plants with an old sheet, then uncover in the warmer mid-morning weather. When is a good date to try and plant my tomatoes?

Answer: Ideally, you should wait until all danger of frost is past before planting tomatoes outdoors. Even if they survive a cold spell, their growth may be set back, so it's best to wait. You can set them out a week or two earlier if you have row covers or "wall-o-waters" in place to hold in the day's heat through the night.

According to my map, your last spring frost occurs sometime around April 20, so you should be OK, though be prepared to cover them if a frost threatens. However, if a gardening neighbor told you it was too early, I'd follow their advice. Perhaps you are in a cold pocket that is susceptible to later frosts than your surrounding area.

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