Late But Not Too Late: Planting Tomatoes Tips

Are you worried that it’s too late to start a tomato garden this year? Don’t fret! With the right timing and tomato varieties, it’s possible to plant tomatoes 2-6 weeks later than usual and still have a fruitful harvest. Late planting may seem intimidating, but with a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown tomatoes in no time.

In this article, we’ll provide you with tips and advice for late planting tomatoes. We’ll cover the ideal planting time, how to choose the best seedlings, and highlight the best varieties for late planting.

We understand that you may be concerned about extreme weather conditions and the availability of good-quality seedlings, but we’ll guide you through every step of the process to ensure that you have a successful harvest.

So, let’s get started on your tomato planting journey!

Quick Takeaways

  • Late planting tomatoes can still result in successful growth, but timing is important.
  • Heat-tolerant tomato varieties like Solar Set and Heat Wave II are good for southern gardeners.
  • The best tomato varieties for late planting include Subarctic, Sophie’s Choice, Bush Beefsteak, Gardener’s Delight, Manitoba, Silvery Fir Tree, Cold Set, and Tigerella.
  • Seedlings, rather than seeds, can save time but may be difficult to find later in the season.

Can I Still Plant Spring Vegetables if I’m Planting Tomatoes Late?

When planting tomatoes late, it is still possible to plant spring vegetables. Here are some essential tips for planting spring vegetables alongside tomatoes to maximize your gardening efforts. Consider companion planting, choose fast-growing varieties, and provide adequate sunlight, water, and soil nutrients. With proper care, you can successfully cultivate a bountiful harvest of both spring vegetables and tomatoes.

Planting Timing

If you’re considering planting tomatoes later in the season, it’s important to keep in mind that timing is crucial. You should aim to plant when the soil temperature reaches 60ºF and nighttime temps remain above 50ºF. This will give your tomato plants the best chance of survival and growth.

Optimal soil temperature is key to ensuring that your plants thrive, so make sure you’re monitoring it closely before planting. Another thing to be aware of when planting late is the possibility of early cold snaps. Late planting may result in losing fruit due to these snaps, so be sure to leave enough buffer time to avoid this.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly. If a cold snap is predicted, take measures to protect your plants, such as covering them with blankets or tarps. By being mindful of these factors and planting at the right time, you can give your tomatoes the best chance of success.

Choosing Seedlings

Consider buying seedlings instead of starting from seeds to save time and ensure good-quality plants for your tomato garden. Seedlings are young plants that have already sprouted and grown for several weeks, making them more resilient and better adapted to the growing conditions.

With seedlings, you can save 2-3 weeks of growing time and avoid the risk of failed germination or weak plants. Moreover, buying seedlings allows you to choose from a wider variety of tomato plants that may not be available as seeds.

When choosing seedlings, look for those that have healthy green leaves, sturdy stems, and no signs of disease or pests. You can find quality seedlings at your local nursery, garden center, or farmer’s market. Alternatively, you can order them online from reputable seed companies that offer a wide selection of tomato varieties.

Keep in mind that seedlings may be more expensive than seeds, but the benefits of having healthy and productive plants are worth the investment.

Best Varieties for Late Planting

To ensure a successful late tomato planting, you should choose from heat-tolerant options such as Solar Set and Heat Wave II. These varieties are perfect for southern gardeners who face extreme heat during the summer months.

If you’re looking for other options, try Subarctic, Sophie’s Choice, Bush Beefsteak, Gardener’s Delight, Manitoba, Silvery Fir Tree, Cold Set, or Tigerella.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best tomato variety for late planting:

  1. Heat-tolerant options like Solar Set and Heat Wave II are ideal for southern gardeners.
  2. Subarctic tomatoes can be ready for harvest in as few as 42 days.
  3. Sophie’s Choice tomatoes take on average 55 days until the first crop is ready.
  4. Late planting may result in losing fruit due to early cold snaps, so it’s crucial to choose a variety that can withstand the cold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still plant tomatoes if the soil temperature is below 60ºF but the nighttime temperature is above 50ºF?

You can still plant tomatoes if the nighttime temperature is above 50ºF, but soil temperature is below 60ºF. However, it’s not optimal planting conditions. Consider choosing the best tomato varieties for cooler climates, like Subarctic or Silvery Fir Tree.

How can I protect my tomato plants from early cold snaps if I plant them later in the season?

To protect your tomato plants from early cold snaps, use protective coverings like frost blankets or cloths. Mulching techniques can also help insulate the soil and keep the plant roots warm. Be prepared to cover the plants overnight if temperatures drop suddenly.

Is it possible to grow tomatoes indoors if I miss the window for outdoor planting?

Yes, you can grow tomatoes indoors using indoor growing techniques and container gardening options. Look for compact varieties that do well in containers, provide adequate light and ventilation, and fertilize regularly.

Are there any varieties of tomato plants that are resistant to pests and diseases?

If you’re concerned about pests and diseases, there are resistance options available for tomato plants. Look for organic solutions like neem oil or planting disease-resistant varieties like Celebrity, San Marzano, or Roma.

Can I start tomato plants from cuttings instead of using seedlings or seeds?

Yes, you can start tomato plants from cuttings. To do so, take a stem cutting from a healthy plant and dip it in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a pot with soil, water it, and place it in a warm, sunny spot. Use pruning techniques to encourage growth.


So, you’re ready to plant some tomatoes, but you’re worried it might be too late. Don’t worry, you still have time! With the right timing and tomato varieties, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest even if you’re planting 2-6 weeks later than usual.

First things first, make sure you choose good-quality seedlings and plant them at the right time. Keep in mind the extreme heat and early cold snaps that may occur in your area.

And don’t forget to care for your plants properly to ensure a successful harvest. Follow these tips and you’ll be enjoying delicious, homegrown tomatoes in no time!

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