As soon as the first rays of sunshine warm the air in early spring, amateur gardeners literally begin to crawl in the fingers. After the tomatoes have been pre-pulled, it will soon be time to move the young plants into the garden, onto the balcony or terrace. Here, gardening enthusiasts learn what to look for when planting out tomatoes in the spring.
The red fruits originally come from tropical regions. Frost does not exist in their former homeland. In our latitudes, this is different. Even in early May, night temperatures in the garden often reach lows again. Therefore, it is necessary to wait for favorable weather and avoid frost.
Tip: It is helpful to consider temperature differences between residential areas and allotment gardens. Depending on the location, this can be several degrees Celsius.
Protection against cold in spring
Despite time-honored gardening traditions and professional weather forecasts, it can occasionally get very cold at night. Perhaps the plant will not be directly damaged. Nevertheless, there is a very high probability that sudden temperature fluctuations will slow down the development of the plants.
To avoid these fluctuations in growth, it is recommended to provide young plants with a special protection against the cold.
Attention: yellow-red leaf damage is the result of too low spring temperatures.
Against cold in the spring on the balcony and in the vegetable patch have proved successful:
- Tomato hoods
- traditional “Victorian Bells” (English cloches).
These are to be put over the young plants and fastened laterally with the help of small sticks.
Tip: Supports and sticks are often integrated when setting out the plants. These are suitable for putting over and fixing a suitable cold protection made of plastic, paper or fleece.
If suddenly new low night temperatures are to be expected, the cold protection can be quickly attached with the help of a fleece wrapping. Alternatively, a paper wrapping can protect against cold. This should be fixed to tomato sticks with clothespins.
Caution: Foils do not perform a sufficient protective function. It also increases the risk of developing tomato diseases.
If strong weather fluctuations are foreseeable, tomato culture in the greenhouse should be preferred.
Tip: In mild locations, tomato culture in the garden or on the balcony can start as early as April. This allows a first harvest from the beginning of July. Here, however, protection from the cold is occasionally necessary at night.
Hardening off tomatoes in spring
Before young tomato plants are taken to their final location, it is recommended to harden them a little. This should be done a few days before planting.
During the first two to three days, the flower pots for this purpose should be placed in the shade at mild temperatures. After that, they can spend another three days in direct sunlight.
Planting tomato in the garden
As soon as there is no more night frost, tomato plants can spend the night outdoors. As a rule of thumb, nighttime temperatures above five degrees Celsius are considered ideal. In most areas of Europe, you have to wait until after the Ice Saints before planting young tomatoes. Traditional planting dates for the red fruit are thus the days around May 15.
Tip: In the event that nighttime temperatures in the garden are unpredictably low, the addition of fresh nettles has proven effective. Small cut parts of the plant should be added in generous quantities under the roots. The onset of decomposition keeps the soil area warm. At the same time, the strong growers benefit from an extra portion of eco-fertilizer.
If the amateur gardener has chosen the right time to plant out, the tomato plant rewards this with lush growth. Later set specimens overtake slightly earlier planted tomatoes in the course of their development.
Note: From the beginning of April, the trade offers the first tomato plants. However, this does not mean that the local climatic conditions are already favorable. There is still a risk of night frost. To provide favorable conditions for these early plants, they should still be cultivated in heated greenhouses in April.
- Checklist planting tomatoes
- no earlier than mid-May
- ideal time: after the ice saints
- soil temperature of at least 15 degrees Celsius
- protect from night frost if necessary
- harden off homegrown tomato plants
- choose a very sunny location
- allow for sufficient planting distance
- Cultivation in a greenhouse is advantageous
Tip: It is advisable to consult the long-term weather report before planting the young plantlets in May. If night temperatures of at least four to five degrees Celsius are forecast for the next two weeks, it is the ideal time to move them into the garden.