Quick Answer: When to Plant Tomatoes in Maryland
Maryland has 180-210 growing days. The season suited for tomato cultivation in Maryland is the summer season. You can plant the warm weather germinated seeds in May and June. A month before the transplantation, sow the seeds inside under properly maintained weather conditions. Be very precautious of frost season in your area. Sunlight and water must be provided according to the plant’s growth and requirement.
Here is a detailed guide to tomato planting in Maryland.
The guide covers Maryland’s average frost dates, season suitable for tomato planting, best take care practices, and tomato cultivars of Maryland.
Let us get started!
Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Maryland
Tomato is a delicate fruit and requires very thoughtful maintenance and care. They grow under-maintained optimum weather conditions.
The climatic factors that affect the tomato’s health are temperature, rainfall, pH, and humidity. Fortunately, in Maryland, the temperatures are appropriate for the plant’s development.
The daytime temperature is around 80 degrees F. The nighttime temperature does not usually fall below 55 degrees F hence, the nights are not hard on the tomatoes.
For Maryland, May and June are safe for transplanting tomatoes outside. Make sure the plants have reached sufficient height before transplantation.
Tomatoes are easy victims of frost damage. Carefully check for the frost dates in your area before transplanting and before sowing the seeds. After fifteen days of the last frost, outside planting is safe.
Here are average frost dates for some major cities of Maryland –
Table: Frost Dates For Maryland
|City||First Frost Date||Last Frost Date|
|Easton||November 1||April 1|
|Clear Spring||October 18||April 18|
|Church Hill||October 28||April 8|
How to Take Care of Tomatoes in Maryland
To support the healthy growth of your tomato plant, you should be able to provide them with utmost care.
Here is a quick list of Dos and Don’ts –
- Be careful of Frost.
- Do not let the plant sit under harsh sunny weather and intense cold nights.
- Let your tomato produce leaves before you consider their transplantation. The right height attained must be around two or three inches with one-two set of leaves.
- Keep a space of 24-36 ft. between the rows of tomato plants. Staked and Indeterminate plants might need much more spacing between them.
- Choose varieties that produce fruits within 60 or 70 days and deliver an immense harvest.
- Monitor the plants, soil, and garden every second day. The plants must show nourishing signs of getting enough water, the soil must not have soil compaction or should be sterilized, and the garden must be clean.
- Avoid planting vegetables of the same family in the same area.
- Avoid over-watering the seeds. Use containers and trays with a small bottom hole in them.
- Avoid the later-summer rains as they cause tomato blight.
- Avoid synthetic chemicals and recycled wastes.
- Do not refrigerate the partially-ripened tomatoes to speed up the ripening process.
Here are some tips on other important aspects of growing tomatoes –
How to Add Fertilizer
Fertilizer must be mixed with soil mix for seeds. Use Nitrogen-rich fertilizer for seeds as germinating seedlings take up nitrogen in much higher amounts.
For transplanted plants, use a fertilizer with less proportion of Nitrogen in it. Too much Nitrogen might make your tomatoes delay ripening and not set fruits.
Do not overwork with fertilizers but keep giving uniform doses of fertilizer to your tomato plants according to the given directions.
The best way to keep weeds, pests, and diseases away from your tomato plants is by mulching the soil.
Mulching involves adding an extra inch of preferably organic matter to your topsoil.
It retains soil moisture, reduces weed growth, and helps plants enhance their nutritional matter.
Staking or Caging
Stake the tomato plants using wooden rods. Dig the sticks an inch deep in the soil. Staking supports the plants and protects them from farm animals.
It promotes a better way of air circulation within the plants.
Caging is done using wires. The functionality of caging is the same as staking.
The choice between either practice must be based on chosen varieties.
Best Tomato Varieties for Maryland
Midget, patio, dwarf tomato, Cherry tomatoes, and Grape tomato cultivars are some types of tomato varieties available in Maryland.
Other varieties which you can explore are –
- Roma Tomatoes- 50 days of Maturation
- Brandywine – 80 days of Maturation
- Early Girl – 50 days of Maturation
- Beefsteak – 80 days of Maturation
- Grape – 60 days of Maturation
- Celebrity – 70 days of Maturation
- Green Zebra – 80 days of Maturation
- Cherokee Purple – 80 days of Maturation
- Sun Gold – 60 days of Maturation
Here are some quick tips –
Inculcate hassle-free water system practices for easy and proper watering.
Use the drip-irrigation system for transplanted plants and spray bottles for seedlings.
Moist the soil and prevent wetting the foliage.
Build Narrow trenches for water drainage.
Water the roots of the plants.
Water the plants in the morning.
Here are some great insights –
Prune the suckers and bottom leaves for plant hygiene and safety from soil-borne diseases.
Clean the garden by picking up dead plant parts from the ground and burn them in the burn pile.
Use disinfected tools and hands while working with plants.
Fumigate the soil before every year of cultivation.
I hope this guide will help you determine the right time to grow tomatoes in Maryland.
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