When to Plant: Tomato seeds should be sowed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Transplant after last frost date and soil temperature has reach 60°F.
Starting Seedlings: Start seeds indoors under controlled conditions. Use soilless grow media. Place in a sunny window with at least 8 hours of sunlight. Water only when soil feels dry to touch. No fertilizer is needed until transplanting. Using a heating pad to keep the soil between 70-80°F.
Hardening Off: Slowly introduce your tomato seedlings to the outdoor environment one week before transplanting. Each day add more time outside. Start with shade and no wind outdoors and work your way up gradually to sun and wind.
Location: Tomatoes should be grown in a sunny location with good soil drainage.
Fertilizing: Add 1 ounce of high phosphorus fertilizer (5-10-10) in hole before transplanting. Fertilize again when first tomatoes begin to appear and then again when first tomato is picked.
Diseases: Learn the common tomato diseases in your area. Select resistant varieties. For prevention, use young, healthy transplants, avoid overhead irrigation, plow in tomato plant refuse in the fall, rotate crops, and do not handle tobacco or smoke before handling plants. Fungicides can reduce certain diseases when properly selected and applied.
Blossom End Rot: Prevent it by providing abundant soil calcium and an even supply of soil moisture. Insects and
Pests: Use row covers to protect young seedlings from flea beetles. Tomato hornworms can be controlled with bacillus thuringiensis. Use spinosad for potato beetle larvae and adults.
Harvest: Fully vine-ripen fruit only for local retailing or use. To deliver sound fruit, pick fruit less ripe the further the distance and the longer the time between the field and the customer.
Storage: Store firm, ripe fruit 45-60°F for 4-7 days. Some varieties will store longer.
Avg. Planting Rates: Avg. 785 seeds/667 plants to produce 1,000 ft. of row. Avg. 8,540 seeds/1 oz., to produce 1 acre of transplants, 18″ between plants in rows 4′ apart (7,260 plants needed).