There are many reasons why many gardeners can’t or don’t want to build a greenhouse or hothouse. It can be because of money problems, space problems, or you just want to try how to plant tomatoes without a greenhouse.
The best time to plant tomatoes is in the spring when the soil reaches a temperature of 55 degrees F or higher. You can plant tomato seedlings about an inch deep with their leaves spread out under moist soil. Make sure you provide enough water until they start to grow because plants require sufficient water for their roots to take hold and thrive.
In warm climates, tomatoes feel well without additional shelters. But if your weather sometimes gets colder, you need to cover plants with a film.
Growing tomatoes in open ground – its advantages and disadvantages.
Growing tomatoes in the open ground have certain advantages:
- Tomatoes are growing stronger and have higher immunity against diseases and bugs.
- Tomatoes do not like excessive humidity, and when they are growing without a greenhouse, they are growing in weather they like better.
- When tomatoes are growing outside it’s almost impossible to get a Solanaceae disease which is a kinda terrible disease.
- They will taste a lot better and tomatoes will be fuller with vitamins
And its disadvantages:
- Some particular tomato species can be grown only in the greenhouse, and if you try to grow them outside, they will just die.
- It’s harder to adjust the right humidity and temperature of the soil. It’s easier in the greenhouse.
- Tomatoes in the open ground are growing a lot slower.
- Tomatoes don’t have time to develop protection from the frost
- If in a greenhouse tomato harvest will be 10lb, then in open ground 7lb
- You will need to harvest tomatoes when they are green because when growing them outside, they don’t reach maturity.
Which tomato variety to choose from?
You can’t just buy any tomato breed and seed it. You need to choose the breed, which is resistant to any kind of weather – sudden frost, drought, heat, too much humidity.
There are also early and mid-early tomatoes. Later varieties do not have time to mature before frost or too cold weather. On eBay or similar shops, you can buy almost all kinds of tomatoes, they just differ in color, shape, pulp density, size, and nuances of taste.
Tomato breeds for growing outside have low determinant shrubs. You can plant them in simple soil and don’t need to fix them. But there is also a breed that needs fixing. You need to tie up not only the stalks but also branches with heavy fruits.
Indeterminate plants are tomatoes that produce fruit onward the length of the plant. Determinate tomatoes are just a bush with tomatoes that have fruits only at the end of branches only.
To find out if you have chosen a determinate variety, check the tag. If you have one of these – Independence day, Polbig F1, Bush Beefsteak, Celebrity F1, or Artic Fire, then you have a determinate variety.
Tomato Varieties that are suitable for open-field
Black prince: A very rich variety from Russia. Tomatoes are red-brown, very large with a rich, sweet taste. Bushes are resistant to late diseases, scabs, and other popular diseases.
Korneevsky: Red and pink color. Large fruits and sweet taste. Resistant to diseases. Big bush, so you will need to tie it up.
Altai: There are variations of red, pink, and honey-yellow fruit. All cold resistant, easy to care of. Bushes are compact, neat, very high yield.
Bells of Russian: Rare variety from Russia. Resistant to short-term frost and drought. Fruits pink, medium-sized, beautiful elongated shape. Tomatoes are good for canning.
Bullfinch: Bushes compact, standard-type, very unpretentious. The yield is good, juicy tomatoes, pleasant taste, suitable for canning or salads.
Marfa tomato: High-yielding hybrid middle-Russian selection. Drought-resistant, are rarely affected by pests, it bears fruit until frost, has an excellent keeping quality and time.
All these varieties are suitable for growing outside. They all are Russian species, and as you know, Russians know how to grow stuff. 🙂
These species are well adapted to all kinds of regions with mild or warm climates. If you have cooler weather, at the beginning you will need to cover tomatoes with a film.
To avoid unpleasant surprises, you need to choose the seeds on which bags are clearly shown that they are suitable for growing in the open ground. Also, you need to understand that sowing the seeds directly in the garden is not necessary. It is better to grow the seedling in the home and then move it in the greenhouse or open ground. Do it only then, when seedlings are developed stronger.
Grow Tomatoes Before Planting Them Outside
Planting tomato seedlings is relatively easy. It’s a two-step process of either planting the seedlings in a container or directly in the ground.
The first step of planting tomatoes is to select a container with drainage holes on the bottom. Fill it with potting mix and then put your plant into it.
Secondly, you’ll want to water and keep your plant moist until it takes root and begins growing full-size leaves.
For this you need to have some soil, a pot or container, some seeds or seedlings and water. The first thing you have to do is fill the pot with enough soil for your plants. Then you need to plant the tomato seedlings in the soil.
You may also put them in containers if you want to grow them indoors. After that wet the soil on top of your plants until it became moist then cover it with a plastic sheet and put it somewhere sunny and warm (not hot). You should water your plants regularly and fertilize them when needed.
Watering tips: Don’t water just once because it draws air into the soil which can damage seedlings. Avoid watering at night as it encourages growth that will not be able to sustain sunlight during daytime hours.
How to grow strong seedlings for open ground?
Growing tomatoes in the open ground include earlier seed sowing for seedlings. Typically sowing begins in late February or early/middle March. The seeds should not be too old. Best tomatoes are growing from seeds that are 2-3 years old. You need to disinfect the seeds and put them in liquid growth stimulant for 12 hours.
Soil preparation begins 10-14 days before planting. Tomatoes prefer light and fertile soil. It must contain sand or topsoil too. Before planting tomatoes, lose the soil and shed it with potassium permanganate. This treatment kills harmful microorganisms and insect larvae. Tomatoes will not get diseases because of this step.
The yield of tomatoes depends on the nutrition level of the soil. It’s recommended to add humus, wood (preferably birch), and ashes. You can also add fertilizer, for example – superphosphate, or potassium sulfate.
Seeds were sown in deep trays. Each seed in its own container if the container is small in diameter. If you have a bigger pot or box, you can add as much as you want, but remember the distance – 4inch. Sowing in small pots is better because when you are taking it out, you will not break its root system as you would in a bigger pot.
Tomatoes can be grown awesomely in paper cups, peat pots, sour creme pots or any kind of small container.
Taking care of seedlings is easy. After sowing immediately cover them with a film and place it into the heat. Successful germination will be when seeds are 1,5-2 long. When they reach that length, put them in bright light. You need to protect them from drafts and direct sunlight.
Watering – use only warm and soft water -preferably rainwater.
When tomato seeds have deployed two leaves, replant them into individual pots. This needs to be done only if you sow them in a large box or pot. When you have done transplanting, feed them with fertilizer. They will get stronger and stronger. It also stimulates the immune system.
2 weeks before transplanting them into open ground, you need to harden seedlings. Bring them to the balcony or veranda once per day. On the first day for 1 hour, next day for 2 and so on. Then put them outside all day if the weather is good. If you will do it right, you will see that plants are getting bright green.
Transplanting tomatoes into the ground
For the successful breeding of tomatoes, it is important to choose the correct place where to plant them. Do not plant tomatoes in the areas which were occupied by eggplant, potatoes, or other nightshades.
Tomatoes love bright but diffused light. If they are in shadow, they will not grow. It’s important that the soil does not drown in the water so choose a place where water can get out of the garden. Consequences of that are black stems, dead roots, vertex, or botrytis. Feel free to add nutrients to the soil. Tomatoes need a lot of vitamins.
Plant tomatoes in the ground when the soil is warmed up. Soil temperature needs to be above 15 degrees (59 Fahrenheit). Typically, such a soil temperature reaches close to the end of May.
You can warm up soil manually too. Just cover desired tomato spot with two layers of polyethylene film. It will get soil war faster and will prevent the growth of weeds.
A week before planting, the soil should be loosened purging it from the remainder of weeds and/or plants. Planting can’t take place if the weather is hot. If it’s hot, do it in the morning or late evening. Better morning. Cloudy days are the best days for transplanting.
Tomatoes that are ready for planting should be strong and not overgrown. Seeding must be at least 6 inches tall. Take a look at all plants and check if they were not affected by pests or were not hurt somehow. Take tomato plants carefully. They are easy to break. Overgrown tomatoes will have many leaves. Remove 2-3 leaves. It will allow flowers and other leaves to spread bigger.
When planting, do not plant more often than every 23 inches. If you have small bush tomatoes, then plant in every 15 inches. Do not go under 15 inches. Planting is as same as you did when putting them in separate pots. When you are putting tomato plants in the soil, pour some kelp meal and some bone meal into each plant spot. It will give them a growing kick.
Fill the hole with the soil and slightly press it with the hand. Cover the top of the soil with a thin layer of peat. Tomatoes after planting should be watered with warm water. That’s all about planting.
Take care of tomatoes
Taking care of tomatoes in open ground is as same as if they were in a greenhouse. Except for one condition – they don’t need ventilation. If the weather is getting too cold, you can cover them with a film, but that’s not necessary.
If you are planting tomatoes in the open ground, prepare for weather changes. Care includes – regular watering, fertilizing, and timely removal of weeds.
Tomatoes will need time, but not excessive watering. Monitoring rain is important. If you will water tomatoes and after 15 minutes it will start to rain, there will be too much water and tomatoes can start to rot. Use only warm water. If you use cold water, it will shock plants and they can die.
The yield of tomatoes depends on the nutrition level in the soil. You need to feed the soil 2 weeks after planting tomatoes in the ground. Use full complex fertilizer with a high content of phosphorus and potassium. Suitable superphosphate, or potassium sulfate. After fertilizing, you need to water tomatoes a lot. You need to wash away fertilizers from the stems and leaves. If you do not wash them away, they will burn the plant, and it will die.
Industrial insecticides are good pest killers. It destroys thrips, spider mites, whitefly. The good thing is that in the open ground tomatoes get diseases less often.
That’s all about planting tomatoes in the open ground. Hope learned something new. As always – if you have any questions or something to fix in this article, feel free to comment 🙂