When to plant tomatoes in Alabama? For the North, it‘s April 15 – June 15 in the spring and July 1 – August 1 in autumn. In South Alabama, spring planting is from March 1 until April 30 or from July 15 until August 15 in the fall.
You generally want to avoid planting during your region’s hottest seasons, as high temperatures are not good for tomatoes. Learn more expert tips like this as you read through our comprehensive guide.
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Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Alabama
To plant vegetables in Alabama, you first need to determine your region’s hardiness zone, since just like many US states, Alabama covers more than one zone, including:
- Zone 7a
You can use this chart for reference:
Once you’ve figured out which hardiness zone you belong in, getting your first and last frost dates will help you determine the approximate tomato planting dates.
The general rule for Alabamans is to plant tomatoes well after the last frost date for outdoor gardening, and if it’s indoors, plant 6-8 weeks earlier than the last frost date.
Right below is a table listing Alabama’s biggest cities, along with their respective frost dates and planting calendar.
When gardening in the fall, make sure your tomatoes mature before the first frost, or collect them just as the fruits complete the ‘mature green’ stage and let them ripen indoors.
|City||Last Frost Date||First Frost Date||Start Seeds Indoors In Spring||Plant Seedlings Outdoors In Fall|
|Huntsville||March 31||November 2||February 18||July 20|
|Montgomery||March 20||November 6||February 7||July 24|
|Birmingham||March 30||November 6||February 17||July 24|
|Mobile||March 3||November 28||January 21||August 15|
|Tuscaloosa||March 25||November 5||February 12||July 23|
|Hoover||March 29||November 2||February 16||July 20|
|Auburn||March 21||November 10||February 8||July 28|
|Dothan||March 10||November 15||January 28||August 2|
|Madison||March 31||November 2||February 18||July 20|
|Decatur||April 1||November 1||February 19||July 19|
Tips to Grow Tomatoes Successfully in Alabama
1. Choosing A Site
This is usually the first and most crucial step in an Alabama planting guide.
- Alabama has some of the most ideal conditions for tomatoes. This crop can even thrive in different kinds of soils, but what’s best are fertile loam and sandy loam
- When it comes to pH levels, aim for a range between 0-6.8. If your soil is too basic or acidic for tomatoes, compost is a universal method to achieve the perfect balance.
- Make sure your chosen spot gets at least 6 hours of sun exposure daily.
The best tomatoes to grow are resistant to common pests and diseases, but before we go into the recommended varieties for Alabama, let’s talk about how to best plant them.
- For outdoor planting, make sure to maintain 12-18 inches of spacing in between
- If you’re planting in pots indoors, make sure the containers have a diameter of 18-24 inches and drain holes to release water.
Growing tomatoes in Alabama is made easier with these maintenance tips:
- Tomatoes love moisture and require 1.5-2 inches of rainwater or irrigation every week.
- You can offset weeding and potential diseases by amending the soil with organic mulch.
- Be sure to prune your tomato crops to increase fruit size. You do this by removing the suckers from the ground up and stopping at the sucker right below the first flower.
- It’s best to add support. The most common choices are caging, staking, and trellising.
Just like how there is a tomato planting season, there is also a right season for harvesting them.
- The typical harvest months are from the end of July until the beginning of October.
- While most farmers would say it’s best to pick tomatoes when they turn bright red, this is debatable, since waiting until that time can leave your fruits susceptible to birds and other critters. You can opt for this option if you can safeguard your harvest.
- Otherwise, start picking them off when their green color transitions into a yellowish pink.
5. Varieties for Alabama
Here are the best tomato varieties for this state:
- Better Boy
- Early Girl
- Garden Peach
Regarding when to plant tomatoes in Alabama, a gardener should ideally start planting tomatoes in the spring, but the dates can be flexible to include late summer or fall, so long as high temperatures or excess rainfall are avoided.
Now that you understand the importance of determining the right timing for planting as well as important strategies on how you can maximize your tomato harvest, you should be ready to start your thriving garden.
See now the optimal schedule for planting vegetables in Alabama:
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