Starting Tomatoes Outdoors? - Knowledgebase Question

Elmont, NY
Question by jtucarella
May 20, 2000
Everything I've read says it's best to start tomatoes indoors and then transplant them in the garden. Can I plant my seeds directly into the garden soil at this time of year? We have been having some wet, cold weather this week, but in general we are in the upper 60s here during the day, and my garden spot gets full sun. I have never grown tomatoes before, and am not concerned with a large or prolonged harvest so much as I am with just getting the plants to grow and produce some fruit.

Answer from NGA
May 20, 2000


Many gardeners will tell you about the great tomato plants that start all by themselves next to the compost heap, so yes, you can plant the seeds directly in the garden and grow perfectly respectable plants. The trick is to wait late enough in the season so that the soil has warmed up before you plant the seeds; usually this would be about a week or two of sunny warm weather after the last frost. Enjoy!

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