When to Plant Tomatoes – Unsafe and Safe Frost Dates


Today, we’re going to talk about when to plant tomatoes. If you’re a beginner, so, don’t worry this article is also for you. Be with us till the end, so without any further delay let’s get started…

Topics covered in this article:

  1. Frost Dates (Not to Plant)
  2. Safe Frost Dates
  3. Making Seedling Compost
  4. Two Ways of Sowing Tomato Seeds

When To Plant Tomatoes 

When To Plant Tomatoes 

No 01: Frost Dates (Not to Plant)

Frost Dates (Not to Plant)

Now, before we start sowing seeds and charging forward with what we’re going to do today. We need to talk about frost dates that’s because on the backs of any of the seed packets, tend to find the instructions to sow your seeds 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date. That’s a bit misleading because each of us actually has to last frost dates.

The first one is the average date and that’s the one that most people tend to think of. For me that is the end of May, the 31st of May is the average last frost date and in an average year, I can expect to see no more frost or snow after that day.

Some years, weird things happen though and a few years ago we had six feet of snow in some places on the Isle of Man. In April, it was quite bad, it was during lambing season and I’m not gonna go into that. It was a horrible time for farmers here on the island but it does happen.

No 02: Safe Frost Dates

Safe Frost Dates

Unofficially in my mind and I think many people’s minds here on the Isle of Man, the safe date for frost and snow is the 1st of May. So, there is a good month in between, that’s quite a long period especially in the spring. To know, whether or not, it’s going to be safe to put your plants outside.

If you are someplace where it’s a bit warmer and you will be sowing seeds for plants that you’re going to be planting outside. Then, you are going to have long rows of tomatoes but you need to think about your last frost date.

So, If you plant your little tender plants outside before then there’s a chance that can be wiped out by frost. If you have a greenhouse and, in the greenhouse, if there is a frost or something happens, the greenhouse will actually protect the plants from it. So, it’s not as much of a worry.

No 03: Making Seedling Compost

Making Seedling Compost

When you are sowing seeds of any type, it’s recommended that you use purpose-made seedling compost. The good thing about that seedling compost is that it is sterile and that means that there are no pathogens in it that can affect your seedlings.

It is not recommended that you use garden compost or compost that has been sitting around outside for a while. At least when you are sowing tender little seedlings.

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No 04: Two Ways of Sowing Tomato Seeds

Two Ways of Sowing Tomato Seeds

The first one is sowing them in trays land you will be broadcasting the seed and then picking the seedlings out and putting them on, later on. Then there’s another way of growing them direct into 3-inch pots.

In pots, they will be staying a lot longer than if you have them in the trays and this will affect your potting compost. For pots, the compost should have more nutrients as the plants live in them longer. So, the seedling compost is going to be very low in nutrients because it’s made just to get the seed started. The seeds themselves have a lot of energy already loaded into their seeds.

With seedling compost, if you try to keep your seeds growing in it for 6 to 8 weeks before you start planting your little plants out. Then, they are going to run out of nutrients in the compost. In pots, plants are gonna stay in it for quite a long time. So, they will need compost that has a bit more nutrients in it or you have to be more diligent with fertilizing.

So, instead of going with traditional seedling compost, you are recommended to make your own or purchase some ordinary multi-purpose compost. Then, you need to mix Perlite in it. A perlite is a form of volcanic glass that has been super-heated. What this does is, adds a lot of drainage and lightness to your potting mixture and with seedling compost, you want to mix about 50/50 compost and perlite.

If you’ve five cups of seedling compost, so you just need to put five cups of perlite and give it a good mix. So, the reason that perlite is so great for starting off seedlings with and why you want to mix it into compost is that it adds drainage. So, make sure that the roots stay nice and dry moist but not waterlogged. It will also help the roots to develop into nice root systems and they will spread evenly through the compost. If you are using multi-purpose compost, so this is going to be good stuff for your plants to grow in for a couple of months.

If you notice that the plants are suffering a bit, so the leaves are turning a bit yellow that generally means that the nitrogen is running out in the soil mix then you should give them a little bit of a feed.

Wanna buy Perlite? … Click Here!

Hope so guys you liked reading this article. I tried my best as much as possible ways to make you understand everything clearly so hopefully, this article is gonna be helpful for you in when to plant tomatoes. Keep visiting us to learn many more things. Have a nice day!

Wanna know how to grow garlic? … Check out this article!

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