Growing Tips: Tomato (Outdoor)

Quick Reference:

Broadcast in flats and cover with 1/8 to 1/4 inch fine soil. Germination 8 to 14 days. Seed spacing 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Space between plants in the garden, 18 to 24 inches. Must be started indoors for transplant.

When and where to plant:

In Alaska and other areas in the far north any tomato that will be grown outdoors must be started indoors at least 8 to 10 weeks before they will be transplanted outdoors. This cold tolerant variety must have night temperatures at least in the 40’s to set fruit outdoors. Start seed in containers that have drainage holes and are filled with sterilized soil. Sprinkle seed on the soil surface, lightly cover seed with soil and firm soil over seed. Water well for good seed-soil contact and do not allow the soil in the containers to dry out during the germination period. After the seedlings have their first true leaves, plants will be approx 1 to 2 inches tall, transplant to individual plastic pots. Use pots large enough to allow plants to grow, filled with fertile loam soil. Grow seedlings in a sunny location where the night temperature is not more than 65 degrees F, apply a solution of liquid plant food every two weeks and keep the soil warm and moist. In warm interior areas of Alaska where night temperatures will continually be in the 40's or better, choose a garden location that is sunny, protected and has a southern exposure. Use soil warming techniques like mounding, raised beds or large containers to raise the soil temperature where the plants will grow. Tomatoes need warm soil to grow and produce fruit. Transplant seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost is past in soil that has been cultivated and enriched with plant food and organic matter. Tomatoes transplant easily. At high altitudes, cooler interior areas and coastal regions grow in containers indoors or protected outdoor areas.

Care:

Water thoroughly as the soil begins to dry out and apply a liquid solution of plant food every two weeks.

Harvest:

Pick when fruit color has fully developed.