If you are planning to start a kitchen garden to feed your family, you may be wondering when to plant tomatoes in Florida. Gardening in zones 9 or above takes some planning as you’ll want to get your seeds planted and well established before the scorching hot weather arrives.
Tomatoes can be planted in the early spring after the risk of frost has passed. Let’s look at when to plant tomatoes in Florida.
The Best Time to plant tomatoes in FL?
You can plant tomatoes in Florida as early as February up until the late spring. In late April and May, the soil will warm to above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a good time as any to try your hand at growing some tomatoes. In southern Florida, where temperatures are higher, tomatoes can be grown year-round and can be planted in the late summer to early fall.
The best time to plant tomatoes in Florida is when the soil temperature has reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This will give you plenty of time for your tomato plants to get established before hot temperatures are upon you.
If you choose to start your seeds indoors, it’s recommended that you transplant them outside when the weather warms up. In zones 9 and 10, you can start your seeds indoors in January or February.
The beginning of May is a good time to plant tomatoes if you haven’t started from seed but have bought young plants from a nursery. If transplanting outdoors, try digging small holes with your hands prior to setting the baby tomato plants down into them. This will help the root ball anchor into the ground.
If you are in an area that is susceptible to frost, then it’s recommended that you start seeds indoors four weeks before the last anticipated spring frost. This will give your baby tomato plants enough time to grow sufficiently to be transplanted outdoors.
Growing tomatoes in Florida
Now that we know when to plant tomatoes in Florida, let’s take a look at some best practices for growing them.
Tomato plants are vines that attach themselves to structures. If you’re planting an heirloom variety, then it’s recommended that you provide some kind of support for the tomato plants, such as an A-frame trellis or stakes. The A-frame trellis is better suited in areas where there’s more rainfall.
An A-frame trellis is also a good option in areas where there’s heavy winds. If you choose to use stakes, then it’s recommended that you place the stakes after planting the tomatoes and tie the tomato plants loosely with twine.
Harvesting Tomatoes in FL
Tomatoes should be harvested when they’re fully ripened (ripe colors include red, yellow, purple). However, tomatoes can be left on the vine longer if you plan on cooking with them. If you plan on canning or freezing your tomatoes, then it’s recommended that you harvest them when they’re still red and firm.
You can plant tomatoes in Florida whenever you want to (just like grass).
Florida is a great climate for growing tomatoes and other vegetables. Tomatoes grow well in the state year-round due to the climate.
They can be planted in the early fall or spring. If you plan to start your tomato plants from seeds indoors, plant four weeks before the weather starts to warm up for spring. You can begin planting indoors in February for zones 9 and 10.