When should I plant?


The Best Time to Plant Is Not The Same for Everyone

Each person has to decide at what point their garden is ready for certain types of tomato plants. Creating a planting calendar will help you plan correctly from sew to harvest. Tomatoes can be planted when night time temps reach 50 degrees. Tomatoes are “warm season” vegetables and will be severely damaged by even a light frost, which can happen when temperatures are as low as 36-38 degrees.

Fortunately we are not alone in this endeavor to find the perfect date to plant. We have many tools to help us decide when spring has arrived and it is safe to set out our tomatoes. Keep in mind that there is no “perfect” planting date although there are some that swear that planting by the moon is the way to go.

You generally have a window of several weeks and sometimes even longer depending upon your climate zone. If you don’t like running out at night to cover up your plants with sheets because of a late frost warning then add about a week or two to the dates we recommend.

Determining your Average Last Frost Date

The first thing we need to do is determine when the average last frost date will be in your city. These dates are based upon NOAA climate maps and indicate the likely last frost date for your area plus add few days just to be safe. These are recommended shipping dates but not exact planting dates as that can vary depending upon the weather in your area.

Garden Conditions For Planting Make a Difference

You need to determine whether or not your soil has dried out enough to dig up the soil for loosening and adding compost. If you pick up a handful of soil and squeeze it between your fingers and it feels muddy and very moist, wait a week or so of sunshine before digging. If it feels soft and moist, but not wet, it is ready to be worked.

Lastly, you need to make sure no cold weather is on the horizon. Many times a last minute frost has ruined lots of hard work and planting by killing off tender seedlings. Better to wait a week or two than plant too early and there are many weather tools on the web that will help you see into the future.

When you finish your order, we will assign specific shipping dates to your order based upon the average last frost date for your area, however this is the very earliest date, not the only date, you should plant.

Our plants are seeded on a regular schedule throughout the season so they are always the right size for you, no matter when you need to plant.

We Do Not Recommend Planting Right Away

We do not recommend planting your tomatoes right away after you receive them. A couple of days to acclimate and be out of the box is very important. Also always check local weather reports for late frosts which can cause severe damage to young plants. Check the maps  below to determine the best time to plant in your area. Click map to enlarge.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

usda plant hardiness zone map

First and Last Frost Dates

To make it easier to plan your garden, the regions on this map will help you estimate the first date of frost in the fall and the last date of frost in the spring for your region.