When do I plant tomatoes in Texas? What is the best time to plant tomatoes in Texas?
When to Plant Tomatoes in Texas – Before buying your tomato plants you need to figure out, at least to some extent, approximately how many tomatoes you’ll want.
If the tomatoes are for family consumption, and perhaps a few ‘prize’ friends will be in on the treat as well, then you’ll likely only require a few tomato plants. In which case, it’s wise to buy those plants as opposed to growing from seed.
At the nursery, make sure to buy the healthiest specimens. Nice, fresh green. No yellowing on the plant. Not too spindly: around six to eight inches in height.
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to set your plants out until the danger of frost occurring has well and truly passed on by.
Tomato plants will generally only become available in nurseries and garden centers at around the appropriate time for transplanting. That would be around the time of the final spring frost date in Texas.
When are the dates that frost occurs in Texas?
Obviously you’ll have a pretty good idea about that. But just as a reminder, here’s a table to highlight fall and spring frost dates in Texas.
The following table lists approximate first and last frost dates for various cities in Texas. Note that the dates provide a probability of 30 percent. Frost dates are averaged from 30 years of data (1981-2010).
Last and First Frost Dates in Texas
Tap the chart to enlarge
Texas fall tomatoes should be transplanted into the garden around 100 days prior to the time of the first expected frost.
Ideally, you’ll want to grow your tomatoes on raised beds. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about fancy raised beds. Rather, I’m talking about raised beds that are merely six inches in height.
Transplant holes (holes for your tomato plants) should be around three to four inches in depth.
How far apart should you dig the holes for your tomato plants? Well, that depends on whether the plant is determinate or indeterminate. But as a general rule, you’ll not go wrong if you leave as much as two to four feet between the plants in the row: two feet for the smaller determinate tomato varieties and four feet for indeterminate varieties.
For staked or caged tomato plants, and likely almost all of your tomatoes will be staked or caged, row spacing (spacing between rows) should be a minimum of three feet. If you prefer not to provide your tomato plants with support, you’ll want to leave around four or five feet between each row.
Ideally, you should aim to transplant your tomatoes either on a cloudy day or in the evening when temperatures are lower.
Before you situate your transplants into their new ‘home’ water each hole thoroughly in turn and allow the water to soak into the soil.
Plant your transplant tomatoes a bit deeper into the soil than they were previously planted in their containers.
I hear you ask “Will that not cause the stem to rot?“
Actually, it’s a good question. But no. When you plant tomato plants deep the stems generate roots. Some people even plant transplants right up to the upper-most leaves. You don’t have to do that, though. But by all means, plant a minimum of two inches farther up the stem than previously planted. Remove the lowest set of leaves on the transplant being careful not to ‘rip’ into the stem.
When planting, to make watering your tomatoes easier, leave a slightly sunken area at the foot of each plant.