If you’re doubtful on when to start growing tomatoes in a greenhouse, you can do it either in fall or early spring. This way, you can get a late yield or an initial yield depending on what you need. Another common practice is to plant in a two-crop rotation where you sow for a fall crop and another one for a spring crop for an extended growing season.
According to the University of California, you can get up to 20 pounds per plant in a spring crop from March to June. On the other hand, you’ll get half the amount of this yield in a fall crop from October to January. And since you’re using a greenhouse, you can plant tomatoes year-round without frost being a concern.
Knowing When To Start Growing Tomatoes In Greenhouse
Fall, spring, or a two-crop rotation for an extended growing season are the ideal times for planting tomatoes in the greenhouse. However, it’s also essential to learn the season and temperatures and how to use an unheated greenhouse for growing tomatoes. This way, you can correctly plant your vegetables without the risk of any drawbacks.
Seasons and temperatures
The ideal temperatures for growing tomatoes in a greenhouse are 70 to 80°F during the day and 60 to 65°F for the night time. Keeping this in mind, you must maintain the greenhouse’s recommended conditions when you plant either in fall, spring, or both. As mentioned previously, you can get up to 20 pounds of yield per tomato plant when you plant spring and then half of it for fall.
So if you’re using a greenhouse for commercial use, you can grow a spring crop from March to June or a fall crop from October to January as recommended by UC Davis. If you want to extend your growing season, you can also plant in a two-crop rotation. Sow seeds in early June or early July for a fall crop and seed in December to mid-January for a spring crop.
However, it would be best to remember that tomatoes will only successfully grow and produce fruit if you meet their conditions. Therefore, always check the temperatures of the greenhouse accordingly. But what about the danger of frost?
During spring, where the frost has passed is a typical time to plant tomatoes in most areas. But if you’re in a state like Idaho with short growing seasons and high altitude, the University of Idaho Extension recommends another time for growing tomatoes. Plant the crops before the last frost date to help extend the growing season.
Growing tomatoes in an unheated greenhouse
The temperature differences in a heated and unheated greenhouse have effects on the crops. With this in mind, you might be curious if you can still grow tomatoes in an unheated greenhouse if you live in a cold region. The good news is that an unheated greenhouse is still usable as long as you do careful planning.
Since you can’t provide heat, you can only grow tomatoes in an unheated greenhouse after the last frost date has passed. This practice will put you ahead of your planting schedule, but you’ll also be extending your growing season. Some farmers recommend sowing six weeks indoors before the expected frost date so your seedlings will be healthy enough for transplanting.
How To Grow Tomatoes Year-Round
The most significant advantage of growing tomatoes in a greenhouse is that it extends the growing season. Therefore, growing vegetables year-round is possible in a greenhouse given that you can provide the optimal conditions for the plants. Tomatoes will fruit best from the warmth of spring and summer, but controlling the climate and using proper cultivars will let you produce fruits throughout the year.
The best trick for year-round growing of tomatoes is choosing cultivars that are suitable for the current conditions. You can start the growing season early by using cold-tolerant varieties and use other cultivars for the summer. Learn more about indeterminate and determinate types of tomatoes as well.
The success of a year-round productive greenhouse will then depend on how you control the environment for the tomatoes. The Agricultural Extension Service of the University of Tennessee emphasizes controlling the greenhouse using heating, ventilation, and air distribution systems. Check the temperature, carbon dioxide, and humidity of the greenhouse year-round.
The beauty of using a greenhouse is that it’s possible to extend the growing season and even have tomatoes year-round. But do you know when to start growing tomatoes in the greenhouse? You can have a two-crop rotation for fall and spring, but you can also grow either in fall or early spring.
If you do a spring crop from March to June, you can yield up to 20 pounds per plant. On the contrary, a fall crop will yield 10 pounds per plant. And if you live in a short-season region, you can avoid the dangers of frost by planting tomatoes before the last frost date.
Overall, using a greenhouse is an excellent way to have a productive tomato garden. However, the success relies on your ability and consistency of maintaining the ideal conditions for the plants. Know the proper timing and practices, and you shouldn’t feel intimidated by growing tomatoes in a greenhouse.