Growing and Watering
The Nature of Tomatoes
- Tomatoes are a heat loving, subtropical vine.
- Tomatoes do not need bees to pollinate them.
- Tomatoes are either determinate (self-limiting in size of plant) or indeterminate (continue to grow and bloom until frost).
- Tomatoes are related to potatoes, tobacco, some peppers, petunias.
- 75 – 85° is ideal air temperature for most tomatoes; 65° soil temp. Night air temperature must be 50° or more to set fruit Will stop flowering and setting fruit when its in the 90’s Cool nights are our “problem” in the Rogue Valley Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of direct sun per day.
- Time between fruit set and ripening is 45 – 50 days
General Hints for Growing Great Tomatoes
Choose the right variety for use desired (see page 55 of Garden Guide). In the Rogue Valley, early varieties (70 – 90 days) generally perform better. (Siletz, Early Girl, Legend, Oregon Spring, etc.) Experiment!
“Heirloom” tomatoes are usually indeterminate and often take 90 days to ripen; however, the flavor is often superior Hybrids are often more resistant to disease; look for letters on label: V, F,N, T, A.
If you want to save seeds, hybrids will not “come true” to parent plant.
Seed starting tips:
- Seeds are viable for about 4 years
- Soil temperature needs to be 70° – 85° for seeds to germinate
- Seeds take 7 -14 days to germinate
- Start seeds early to mid-March; takes 7 – 8 weeks to reach transplant size
- Provide some “breeze” to strengthen stems (5 -10 minutes daily)