Tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients, considering they feature in many recipes, from soups and chutneys to pasta. Understandably, many people want to grow this fruit and use it in their dishes.
But when to plant tomatoes in Texas? For most residents of the Lone Star state, the growing season for tomatoes generally beginsn in late March or early April and lasts until mid-October or the end of December.
Southern Texans, however, can start gardening earlier, in January or February.
Table of Contents
Best Time to Grow Tomatoes in Texas
1. Consider the frost dates
Though you now know a rough estimate for the tomato plants season, it’s best to look up the frost dates for your locality, since they will vary from one region to another. By doing so, you’ll know what months to grow tomatoes in.
With that in mind, below are the frost days for some places in Texas. Make sure to plant crops outdoors between these two points in time.
Alternatively, you can sow tomato seeds indoors six weeks before the last spring frost. Then, transfer them outside two weeks after the last frost has passed.
- Arlington – March 18 & November 10
- Beaumont – February 26 & November 26
- Cedar Park – March 19 & November 13
- Dallas – March 9 & November 20
- Fort Worth – March 12 & November 14
- Galveston – February 2 & December 22
- Harlingen – January 23 & December 27
- Keller – March 21 & November 8
- Kingsville – February 8 & December 7
- Lake Jackson – February 6 & December 17
- McAllen – January 30 & December 22
- Pasadena – February 18 & December 8
- San Angelo – April 1 & November 4
- Woodlands – March 1 & November 25
- Weslaco – January 27 & December 20
2. Consider the temperature
Aside from the frost dates, it’s necessary to pay attention to the temperature, as tomatoes need the right level of warmth to thrive.
- 65 to 75 °F
Generally, the optimal range for these fruits is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. At 60 degrees and over 75 degrees, tomatoes will still sprout, but this process will take longer.
- 75 – 90 °F
That said, if the weather reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and more than 75 degrees at night, these plants may not bear fruits.
This fact is why gardeners don’t grow tomatoes in Texas heat, specifically during extremely hot periods in July and in August.
It’s also vital to remember that low temperatures can harm tomatoes. If the weather is very cold (under 50 degrees or so), you need to cover these crops or move them indoors to keep them warm.
3. Check the soil
Finally, it’s best to check the pH of the soil before planting, whether you grow tomatoes in pots or directly in the ground.
The pH should be 6.2 to 6.8. Otherwise, you need to use some compost or other soil amendments to adjust the acidity or alkalinity of your garden bed.
Other Tips for Growing Tomatoes
- It’s necessary to check the maturation period of your crop variety. You can find this information on your seed package or on Google.
But generally, tomatoes take 60 to 100 days to fully grow. Thus, if you plant fall tomatoes in Texas, subtract this amount of time from your first frost date and sow seeds accordingly.
Otherwise, extreme chills will destroy your fruits before they’re ready for harvest.
- If your gardening season is short, you should plant tomato varieties that grow quickly. Some examples are the Early Girl cultivar (maturing in 50 days) or the Celebrity type (which is harvestable in 65 days).
This tip also applies to people living in north Texas, where the first frost often comes early.
- For those living in hot regions of Texas, where the temperature can reach 90 degrees, it’s best to grow tomatoes that adapt to such a climate. Examples are the Solar Fire, Sun Fire, Creole, and Tommy Toe varieties.
- If you buy transplants, make sure they don’t have yellow leaves or flowers and fruits. Moreover, before moving the seedlings outdoors, ensure the soil is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water tomatoes generously, especially during the summer. The plants should get about 2 inches of water per square foot per week.
- Eight to ten hours of sunshine are recommended for optimal development. Direct sunlight is also best.
- Our final tip concerns growing tomatoes in containers in Texas. If you go down this route, make sure the container is at least 20 inches in diameter.
Moreover, limit yourself to one plant per pot only and go for determinate varieties.
When to plant tomatoes in Texas? You should do this task when there’s no frost outdoors, when the soil pH is right, and when the temperature is warm enough.
As long as you keep this tip in mind and choose the suitable tomato variety for your city or county, you can look forward to a successful harvest.
We hope the information above was helpful to you. Thank you for reading.
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