That's important because the more profusely your tomato plants bloom, the heavier your tomato fruit crop will be. Lucky gardeners in this general region can plant nightshades, like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, and pick their ripe fruit from the vine into early winter. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. See The GardenZeus Guide to Buying Vegetable Seedlings. If you start your own tomato plants indoors to get a jump on the growing season, then time your seed sowing so that the resulting plants will be about 6 to 8 weeks old when seedlings and seeds normally go into the ground outdoors in your area. I plant my seeds in mid to late January in large plastic glasses, and I take them outside in the morning and bring them in at night, if I remember. If you’re interested in trying your hand, read on to learn how to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse. You may have already missed the boat for growing veggies like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants but there’s still a lot of late-summer producers that you can still plant. If starting late with tomatoes, you will need to provide shade on hot summer days to maximize yield. If you're along the state's northern coast or interior northern sections, then sow tomato seeds indoors in March and April. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! So tomatoes planted late, when hot weather is right around the corner, do not set nearly as many tomatoes as those planted earlier. Tomatoes are the darling of every American gardener. But be sure to get rid of your existing tomato plants right now. Go with the healthiest, strongest transplants that you can find and don’t look back. “ The “Mountain Gold” and “Lemon Boy” both require 72 days to maturity. Rotate your tomatoes. You may decide to add the tomato plants to the compost pile; however, most compost piles do not attain high enough temperatures to kill off pathogens. Many people grow tomatoes during the summer to last through the winter months through freezing, drying and canning. For all of the tomatofiends and other bold gardeners in California’s hot-summer areas who are reading these words, here are my tips for late tomato planting: – Plan to spend extra time and give extra attention to your tomatoes. In desert regions, November to February is the best time to get sowing indoors for the early planting those hot climates require. Watch your local weather for more accurate dates. Enter your California zip code for customized advice by plant. Otherwise, you will want to plant tomatoes in the spring, as a crop that matures in late summer to early fall. Called a cluster tomato, this variety produces six to nine tomatoes per vine. Try a vigorous heat-tolerant heirloom or two only if you’re feeling especially attentive and brave. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. It is possible to plant and grow summer and autumn tomatoes in June or July in hot-summer California areas, particularly during cool years or if you are able to time planting and establishment during a cool period. If possible, plant tomatoes in areas that will receive sun from early morning to early afternoon and be shaded thereafter. – Mulch well, maintain even soil moisture, and see our customized tomato-growing information for your zipcode for more tips and helpful information: However, while crops are fruitful, these plants often succumb to diseases, and the tomatoes are prone to cracking. California's warm climate allows many of its home gardeners to sow seeds directly into the ground outdoors. Vegetables that are late to mature in cooler climates do fine down south when sown in July. 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