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[Tomato Dirt] Should You Grow Second Season Tomatoes? What to do, when to plant
August 01, 2012

Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 14

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

Welcome back to Tomato Dirt! Once or twice a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with tips about growing tomatoes and using them.

Should You Grow Second Season Tomatoes? What to do, when to plant

Photo: GH Organics

Second season tomatoes (also called fall tomatoes or late tomatoes) are an entirely new crop which you plant midsummer and harvest in the fall.

How can you know if second wave of tomato plants is the right route for you? The choice boils down to three questions:

  1. Is your growing season long enough?
  2. Will your current tomato plants keep producing fruit or are they fizzling out – and you think it would be great to have more?
  3. Are you willing to put in the effort for a whole new crop?
You can figure out if you’ve got enough time on the calendar by finding out your local projected first frost date. Count back about three months to give you an idea about when to start tomato seeds – a few weeks less for purchased seedlings or cuttings.

There’s a lot more information on growing second season tomatoes …

Check out short season tomatoes at TomatoFest.

How to Choose Second Season Tomato Varieties

Photo: Good Earth Live Herbs

Gardeners can grow second season tomatoes (fall tomatoes) in many areas by using just a bit of strategy. Choosing the right varieties is an important key to a healthy, sustained harvest.

  • Choose indeterminate varieties – those that produce flowers (and tomatoes) as the vine grows, throughout the season, rather than all at once during a 2-3 week period.
  • Choose short season varieties – those that take fewer days to produce fruit once planted in the garden, generally 60-65 days or less.
  • Choose small varieties – like cherry and grape tomatoes, which produce more flowers and fruit than larger tomatoes and have more chance of setting fruit.
  • Choose heat-tolerant varieties to help them survive the first 4-6 weeks in the garden.

More about growing fall tomatoes ...

3 keys to growing fall tomatoes successfully Best fall tomato varieties How to take fall cuttings to root tomatoes How to root fall tomatoes from existing plants

For many, it's time to buy late tomato plants

Heirloom and OP (open-pollinated) Tomato Varieties
Tomato Dirt recommends TomatoFest, which offers over 600 varieties.

Hybrid Tomato Varieties - Tomato HP Logo

For hybrid tomato seeds, we recommend Burpee, a leading home gardening and seed company since 1881. Shop for Tomatoes

That’s it for now. More next time!

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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