Crop Schedules for Growing Tomatoes



Tomato Growing Crop Schedules

A decision on timing needs careful assessment of all the factors: whether or not there is good natural light in the district concerned, the light-admitting qualities of the greenhouse, the efficiency of the heating system, whether or not one is prepared to pay the heating bill for early crops (remembering the availability of tomatoes all the year round from countries climatically more favourably placed). Some districts are known to be late maturing because of sun shut-off, exposure, industrial pollution, and so on. Conversely the early cropping potential of favourable areas is also well known.



early crop –

no supplementary lighting

Propagation period 12-14 weeks
Sowing the seed Late autumn
Pricking off End autumn/early winter (8-12 days after sowing)
Spacing out

1st spacing early winter 15-20cm (6-8in)

2nd spacing mid-winter 30cm (12in)

final spacing mid-winter 38-40cm (15-16in) if space available

Planting out 1st-3rd week late winter (according to natural light levels)
Harvesting Early to mid-spring.

tomato NOTE: With later crops this time is considerably reduced, and there will be variation according to region and natural light level. As stated earlier, very early crops should not be attempted unless cultural facilities are excellent and light levels good.



early crop –

supplementary lighting

Propagation period 9-10 weeks
Sowing the seed Late autumn/early winter
Pricking off early winter (after 8-12 days); light treatment then given for 17-21 days at 20°C (68°F) ‘day’ 16°C (60°F) `night’ according to growth rate or until spacing out the plants
Spacing out

As for the unlit crop, generally 2-3 times

Planting out Variable; generally mid to late winter. Earlier plantings are achieved because of benefits derived from supplementary lighting
Harvesting Early to late spring, the effects of supplementary lighting depending greatly on area and type of season

early crop –

‘growing-room’ propagation

Propagation period 7-8 weeks
Sowing the seed Early winter
Pricking off Early winter (after 8-12 days), when light treatment (12-16 hours daily) at 26°C (78°F) ‘day’ 19°C (66°F) `night’ is given in the growing room for 14-21 days at 1,000 lumens until first truss is initiated. Small pots are required during light treatment, when thereafter the plants are potted up in 11-12cm (4-1/2in) pots
Spacing out

15 x 15cm (6 x 6 in) in propagation house, when some supplementary lighting is beneficial (12-16 hours daily) for 7-10 days

Planting out Mid to late winter
Harvesting Early to mid-spring (depending on natural light level of the area)

second early crop –

natural propagation

Propagation period 10-12 weeks (shorter if lights are used)
Sowing the seed Early winter
Pricking off Early to mid-winter (after 10-14 days)
Spacing out

as for early crops

Planting out late winter/early spring

Mid- to late spring


crop schedules for growing tomatoes

mid season crop –

natural propagation

Propagation period 9-10 weeks (variable according to natural light level of the area)
Sowing the seed Early to mid-winter
Pricking off (8-12 days mid-winter after)
Spacing out

as before

Planting out Early to mid spring
Harvesting Late spring.

late crop –

in moderately heated greenhouse

Propagation period 8-9 weeks (or less)
Sowing the seed from late winter
Pricking off late winter
Spacing out

generally twice

Planting out mid-late spring
Harvesting Early/ mid-summer.

Later or cold crops –


  Propagating with heat, cold cropping in greenhouse. Mild heat in the greenhouse is, however, always advantageous, especially at night, to avoid high humidity.
Propagation period 6-7 weeks or less (8 in colder greenhouses)
Sowing the seed early spring/mid-spring (in heat) until mid-spring for very late crops
Pricking off early to mid-spring (heat for early period) until late spring for very late crops; in the latter case potting can be into large pots
Spacing out

As for late crop

Planting out late spring/early summer
Harvesting mid-summer/early autumn.

12. June 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit & Veg, Salads | Tags: , | Comments Off on Crop Schedules for Growing Tomatoes


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