Tomato Dirt Newsletter Issue #17
January 2012

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.

Growing Tomatoes in Raised Beds

Growing tomatoes in raised beds is becoming an increasing popular option for home gardeners. It’s one of the easiest and practical approaches to tomato gardening. You don’t need to be a master builder or even handy with tools to set up raised beds, either. (Read more.)

Raised beds provide better drainage for plants and a higher fruit yield. Plus, they’re convenient. You don’t have to bend over as much to work the soil. And raised beds keep your yard neat.

Select an edging material that is long-lasting so you can grow tomatoes year after year. Chose from all kinds of edging materials. Both Burpee iconand Gardener's Supply icon have a wide variety of affordable, lasting raised bed components.

More on Burpee raised garden systems icon.
More on Gardener's Supply raised bed components icon.
More on raised beds for tomatoes.

Tomato Dirt Recommends Sites for Tomato Seeds

Heirloom and OP (open-pollinated) Tomato Varieties

For heirloom and OP (open pollinated) tomatoes, 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

January’s Tomato Tip:
When to start your tomato seeds

Try these 2 easy steps to calculate the best time to start your seeds where you live.
  • Determine the last frost date for your region. If you’re not sure, contact your local extension office. You can also view the freeze/frost information provided by the National Climatic Data Center. Select your state from the drop-down list. On the opened chart, choose the city closest to you. You’ll see the average last frost dates for spring (and first frost for fall) dates – among plenty of other data.
  • Count back 4-6 weeks from the last frost date for your region to know when to start your tomatoes.
Here are some general rules to follow to know when to start your tomato seeds.
Zones 9 & 10: Start seeds indoors in early to mid January
Zone 8: Start seeds indoors in early February
Zone 7: Start seeds indoors in mid February
Zone 6: Start seeds indoors in late February
Zone 5: Start seeds indoors in early March
Zones 1-4: Start seeds indoors in mid to late March

Get more info about when to start your tomato seeds. That’s it for now. See you next month!

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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P.S. As you choose which tomato varieties to grow in 2012, make sure you consider which ones grow best in your climate. Check out these tomato variety lists to help.

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