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Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in North Carolina: Planting Tips

Written by William Golder

Fact checked by Dorian Goodwin

best time to plant tomatoes in north carolina

Knowing the best time to plant tomatoes can help you prepare seedlings for the summer and prevent wasting resources and growth opportunities.

It is crucial to plant them not too early to avoid rotting from cold temperatures and not too late to elude flowering delays, soil dehydration, and a high presence of pests that can harm tomatoes.

During the summer, usually in April, when the daytime temperature is 21-27°C, the soil temperature is 15-21°C, and the soil pH is 6.5, is the best time to plant tomatoes in North Carolina.

To know more about this, read further.

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When to Plant Tomatoes in North Carolina?

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1. Pick a summer month

Tomatoes are commonly planted during the summer season. So, what month of the summer is the best time to grow tomatoes outside your home? Well, you will want to start planting in April.

So if you want to make sure that you’ll safely grow your tomatoes under the full heat of the sun without the possibility of having cool days, then you can do so between April and mid-May.

2. Be aware of the frost date

Planting them too late can result in late blooming. When this occurs, the tomato may suffer when it blooms around the same time as the first frost.

You should also pay attention to the start of the frost date this year to avoid it. Your potato will be matured within 50 – 90 days.

In most regions, the frost date occurs around the beginning of November, so you want the potato to be harvested before that. So, do not start planting too late.

3. Do not plant too late or too soon

Cultivating tomatoes outside too early before the last frost date can affect them. Most tomatoes cannot withstand a strong cold temperature, causing them to die of rottenness.

Late planting can also affect the soil. When the summer season is at its peak, a high temperature can cause soil dehydration that can badly affect your vegetation.

The high presence of pests like aphids is also a problem during this period since they are most active when the season is dry and hot. They can feed on the tomatoes, which can cause them to die.

When to Start Tomato Seeds in North Carolina?

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40-60 days before the latest frost date is the optimal time to start tomato seeds. It works best when they are planted indoors to receive the appropriate quantity of warmth on cold days. That will fall in February in most years in SC.

Raleigh’s last frost date is often on April 8th – 10th. So, when you plant tomatoes in Raleigh, NC, since its last frost date usually occurs in April, you must consider planting seeds indoors during February.

And it goes the same in planting seeds in Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, or Winston-Salem since they have the same last frost date month.

Related article about the vegetable planting calendar in Carolina

Ideal Temperatures for Tomatoes to Thrive

When growing tomatoes in NC, the daytime temperature must be 21-27°c. Observing the tomato planting guide temperatures can save your fruits from defective fruit growth.

Meanwhile, tomatoes should be planted in soil temperature of 15-21°C, as this will protect your plants from irregular shoot and root growth, as well as trouble absorbing nutrients.

Along with that, cultivating in the precise soil pH can bring a significant impact on the overall health of your tomatoes, making it the ideal time to plant your tomatoes. The average soil pH for growing tomatoes is 6.5.

Since tomatoes are an acidic type of fruit, they grow best in acidic soil that ranges from 6-6.5. It can help prevent growth and nutrient deficiency.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Tomatoes in NC?

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Raleigh in NC takes 70-80 days to grow a tomato, while in eastern NC, it takes 75-85 days for transplanted tomatoes to grow.

Tomatoes generally grow for a minimum of 60 days up to 100 days. However, this is not always the case because two aspects actually influence the range of their growth days: climate and tomato variety.

What Is the Best Variety of Tomatoes to Grow in NC?

There are the best tomatoes you can consider growing when you plan to plant tomatoes in NC.

The Brandywine tomato is one of the best tomatoes you can grow. Aside from its savory taste and firm build, it can survive hot days when summer is at its peak.

However, it is common for pests. So you might want to consider planting pest-repellent herbs along with your tomatoes like Marigolds, Onion, and Parsley.

Early Girl Tomatoes are also a good choice. If you missed out on planting tomatoes in early summer, sowing this kind is a good option since it only takes 50 days to mature.

If the first frost date in your city in NC is in October, it is still safe to plant them in August. The advantage of this tomato is that it can withstand cold temperatures.

Grape Tomatoes are another excellent option. Just like Brandywine, it can also survive high temperatures.

Aside from that, it is resistant to diseases, and growing them takes 60 days only to develop.

Planting this variety, on the other hand, attracts rabbits and squirrels who consume it. Applying barriers like bird netting, fencing, and chicken wire may help you solve this problem.

When is it too late to plant tomatoes in North Carolina?

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When the first frost date is approaching, and you planted tomatoes midway with long growing days, it is too late to plant tomatoes.

For instance, you want to plant tomatoes in August with a growing period of 80 days. Still, the first frost in North Carolina is in October.

Since tomatoes can’t grow well on chilly days, this will affect their growth. It might not bear any fruit at all.

Consider growing tomatoes with a shorter harvest window to produce fruit before the first frost date.

Conclusion

We now find that the best time to plant tomatoes in North Carolina is during summer when the temperatures are warm, and the soil pH is slightly more acidic.

Preparing seeds indoors at least 40 days before the last frost date also plays a big role in achieving the ideal bloom of tomatoes.

With all of this in mind, hopefully, by following these guidelines, you’ll be able to plant seeds and get the yield you desire from your tomatoes next summer.

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A Few Words From the Author

William-Golder

Hi, I am William – Floridayards’ digital content creator. My job is to find answers to all your concerns with thorough research and our team’s expert advice. I will also bring you honest reviews on the best products and equipment for raising your beautiful garden. Please look forward to our work!

William Golder