When to Plant Tomatoes in Georgia

tomato plant

TLDR: 

When to plant tomatoes in Georgia

  • Northern GA: Late February
  • Southern GA: March to May
  • Second cropping: July

Are you wondering where in the US is growing tomatoes good? That’s right, Georgia is one of your suitable places. Planting tomato seeds in other states is challenging because it’s too cold. All tomato varieties grow best in warm temperatures. Thus, the best time to grow tomatoes is in the late Spring or as the Summer season starts.

Are you living in Northern Georgia? In that case, you’d have to plant your tomato crop in late February. If you live in Southern Georgia, you can start planting tomato seeds in early March to May. A second planting in mid April is also fine. This is already safe for your tender plants against the frost. You can also have your second crop in the later parts of July.

Things you need to Start Planting Tomatoes in Georgia

planting tomato

You have two ways to start growing your tomato plants in Georgia. You can start growing tomato seedlings indoors. This is to give a controlled and warm environment for them. Another way is for you to buy a transplant from a garden center.

If you’re starting from tomato seeds, make sure to use light soil mix. Ensure enough lighting to support its growth. If a south facing sunny window is not available, you need to secure more lighting.

Indoor tomato seeds must be exposed to increasing light before transplanting. Do this a week before transferring them outdoor. Throughout the life of a tomato plant, they need enough sunlight to produce their fruit.

How To Plant Tomatoes in Georgia?

seedling tomato planting

These plants develop roots along their stems. You need to deeply plant tomatoes so that they have a strong foundation. Be sure to only choose those healthy transplants. If they are in peat pots, you don’t need to remove them. Make sure you deeply plant them to have a strong foundation.

Take note of this when to plant tomatoes in Georgia. If you need to stake your tomatoes, ensure a spacing of 24 inches between rows. Putting a stake on the plant’s stem helps give support. This prevents the breaking of stems when they bear fruit.

Tomato plants are like vine types, so installing a cage gives better support. This is necessary for determinate varieties. When it bears several fruits, the stem gets heavier and can break. Thus, staking is needed.

Why Mulching Is Necessary?

mulching tomato plants

As soon as you transfer your transplant, adding mulch is good. That’s because it gives extra nourishment to the soil. Place mulch at 2 to 3 inches deep from the ground around the base of your tomato plant. These mulch can be chopped leaves, weed free straw, and manure.

Weed control is also critical for your transplant. To protect them from weeds, you can lay down manmade weed barrier rolls before planting. You can place small slits on these weed barriers so that you can insert your transplant.

Do You Need To Apply Fertilizers?

tomatoes fertilizers

You also need to apply complete fertilizer when growing your tomatoes. They are mid-level feeders, so they need fertilizers but not too much. Before you apply fertilizers, do a soil test. This helps you know how much nourishment you need to add to your soil.

Do some soil testing before putting fertilizers. Otherwise, you can add 1.50 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer to every 100 square feet of your soil bed. Once your plant starts to bear fruit, you can apply one pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer around its base.

What are Determinate Plants? Determinate Tomato Varieties

determinate tomato

Different tomato varieties exist in the garden. Determinate tomato varieties are one good example. This type is a small plant that grows 4 to 5 feet. It has a short maturation period of two weeks then it produce fruit.

There are many fruits for the first ripening stage for determinate varieties. But, it gets fewer and fewer on the succeeding ones.

Even though these tomato varieties have a compact body, you still need to put a stake to support them. It becomes heavier as it produce fruit, so it requires extra support to prevent the breaking of the stem.

Are you looking for the best determinate tomato varieties to grow in Georgia? That includes Rutgers, San Marzano, Celebrity, Amish Paste, and Marglobe.

What are Indeterminate Varieties?

indeterminate tomato plant

Have you seen those tomatoes growing in clusters? These are indeterminate varieties and they bear fruit clusters all year round. You can expect a bountiful harvest from this tomato variety. But you still need to provide proper care to guarantee that.

This tomato variety grows longer around 10 to 15 feet tall vines. That’s why you need to put more stakes to support them. You can also choose to prune or not. There’s no harm from not pruning them. You can grow this type to have a constant supply for your salad.

Here are examples for this variety:

Sun gold
San Marzano
Rose organic
Red Grape
Juliet
Golden sweet
Sweet 100
Early Girl and more

Pest Resistance

pest in tomato

Cross pollination is good when you want to improve the resistance of your plants. The outcome is a hybrid tomato plant. Transplants and seedlings have labels on them to state what they are resistant to. Here are some of these abbreviations:

  • V = Verticillium wilt
  • TSW = Tomato spotted wilt
  • FF = Fusarium wilt race 1 and 2
  • N = Nematode
  • F = Fusarium wilt
  • T = Tobacco mosaic virus
  • A = Alternaria

Are there other Tomato Varieties?

Besides the two mentioned above, there are other varieties:

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are those purebred types and they are over fifty years old.

Examples of heirloom tomatoes are the following:

Rose Organic
Japanese black trifele
Black Krim
Cherokee Purple
Brandywine

Hybrid Tomatoes

Hybrid tomatoes are the product when you purposely cross pollinate different tomato varieties. That could be mixing determinate varieties with an indeterminate type. Hybrid tomatoes have better properties. They have higher disease resistance, harder stem, and produce more fruits.

Here are popular types of this variety:

Cherry
Big beef
Sweet 100
Grape
Early Girl
Better boy

Besides producing more juicy fruits, being disease resistant is one major advantage for this tomato variety. That means you do not have to use too much insecticidal soap to ward off dark fungal growth. You can also weed free straw for these tomato plants.

Early Tomato Varieties

These tomato plants can be harvested within 50 to 60 days. It grows to a mature tall plant in a shorter period even the frost arrives. These tomatoes bear a sweet pink fruit during harvest season.

What Soil Type is Best for Growing Tomatoes?

tomatoes soil

When you plant tomatoes, ensure you have a well draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It is the best garden soil to grow tomatoes. This organic debris can be rotted sawdust and manure. They help increase the organic matter content of your soil.

The ideal soil ph range for growing tomatoes is between 6.2 to 6.8. You need to perform soil pH testing to determine the acidity of your soil. If it’s too acidic, you have to add dolomitic limestone to up its pH.

When adding a complete fertilizer, make sure to avoid excess nitrogen because that can hamper fruit production. Excess nitrogen can also impede the optimum growth of your tomato.

Why Watering Tomato is Important?

watering tomato plants

For you to harvest tomatoes that are sweet and juicy, you must water them properly. Drip irrigation is the best practice for watering tomatoes. Allow enough water to go to the mulch layer of your garden soil. Drip irrigation helps conserve moisture in the soil, which is good for producing fully ripened sweet fruits.

When you conserve moisture, you are also preventing diseases in your plants. When they are properly hydrated, they produce better fruits and healthier.

Tomatoes love water but not on their leaves. That’s why drip and soaker systems work best for them. The mature plant requires deep watering, so soaker hoses are best.

Harvesting Tomatoes in Georgia

harvesting tomato

You can harvest tomato fruit when they are mature or fully ripe. If you harvest them when they are still green, store them at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure there is proper ventilation to avoid molds. When they are fully ripe, you store them in the fridge. Keeping them at a cool temperature helps prolong their shelf life.

Hope you can apply everything you have learned in this article to your own plant or large scale vegetable garden.

We recommend you started indoors to get a feel of what variety of tomatoes you like. For more tips about home improvement and gardening, you may read our blogs.