Kitchen Gardening

Tomato Timing Checklist

Fine Gardening - Issue 194
Illustration: Bezvershenko/

It can be taxing to figure out when to plant, prune, and harvest tomatoes. Here are some general timing proto­cols to follow throughout the growing season.

❑  6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost date, start seeds indoors

❑  7 to 10 days prior to the last spring frost date, harden-­off seedlings

❑  1 to 7 days after the last frost, transplant young plants into the garden

❑  1 to 2 weeks after trans­planting (and any time after), prune off any foli­age that is touching the ground

❑  2 to 4 weeks after trans­planting (when flowering begins), remove all small suckers below the first flower cluster

❑  6 to 8 weeks (or longer) after transplanting, remove errant long stems that escape your tomato support system of choice (e.g., cage, fence)

❑  4 weeks before the first fall frost date, top the plant by cutting indeter­minate varieties back to 5 feet or so

❑  1 to 2 days after the first fall frost, remove all green fruit to ripen indoors

See more about tomatoes

5 Great New Tomato Varieties

Episode 9: Top Tomato Varieties – Let’s Argue About Plants Podcast


From Fine Gardening #194

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