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tomatoes in the fall

Tomatoes in The Fall: What You Need to Know

Did you miss out on tomato season earlier this year? Did your garden get too much rain or sun or suffer from damaging pests? You can get a second chance at harvesting these delicious, juicy fruits for your homemade dishes with a fall tomato garden!

Fall tomato gardening requires a touch of good luck, which can frustrate beginners. You may have struggled with hot summer days, dry soil, and a range of pests in the summer. With a fall garden, you face cooler temperatures, cloudier weather, and the arrival of the first frost. 

The self-watering tomato planter from A Garden Patch doesn’t require luck, just old-fashioned soil, water, and fertilizer. While we want to provide all the information necessary to grow a successful bounty of tomatoes in the fall, no method is a completely surefire way to guarantee a healthy garden without The Garden Patch GrowBox. Our garden tips will help you reap the benefits of crisp, rich tomato slices in your fall salads with luck and practice.

1. Give Your Plants a Strong Start

While you have many tempting tomatoes to choose between, the best options will tolerate the end-of-summer heat and bear fruit ranging from small to medium in size. Tomatoes that grow well in fall include:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Roma tomatoes

New seedlings are sensitive to the elements and wilt easily in the heat without a little shade and regular watering. Before you put them in the ground or a new container, make sure their root systems develop properly so the plants stay healthy as they mature. Once the root system develops, plant them in soil appropriate for vegetable gardening. If you’re planting directly in the ground, give each plant about two feet of space in all directions. 

Newly planted tomatoes need shade. If you plant them in-ground, use a cloth to block out the late afternoon light. When using a planter, such as our GrowBox, you can simply move the plants as needed!  

2. Know When to Plant

Tomatoes flourish with soil temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid planting your fall seedlings until the average air temperature dips below 90. You also want to take your local frost date into account by counting back 60 to 75 days from when the first frost typically sets in. This gives the plants plenty of time to mature and set fruit before cold weather hits. 

Even with careful planning, the first frost can arrive before or after the projected date. A late frost arrival means your plants can yield fruit for longer. If it comes earlier, it can kill any plants rooted in an outdoor garden and bring your growing season to an end. You can extend your tomato plants’ production with The GrowBox. Simply move the box indoors when local temperatures drop and threaten your tomatoes. You might even enjoy a few fresh tomatoes after the first frost!

3. Keep Your Plants Watered, But Not Too Much!

Healthy, flavorful tomatoes need plenty of nutrients, water, and sunlight during their growth. Once the plants root into the soil and show consistent growth, allow the maturing tomatoes to enjoy full sun. Daily watering is a must for most gardens during the hottest summer days. Once temperatures cool down later in the season, you will need to find a different balance that allows the plants to dry out. 

Water your fall tomato garden at least once a week, saturating the root ball. When you feel unsure about how often to water, check the weight of the container. Does the container feel dense when you pick it up? If so, your plant has plenty of water. You can also test the dryness of the soil. Push a stick or skewer into the dirt and pull it back out. Does damp soil cling to the stick? If not, your plant may be thirsty.

Autumn weather brings cooler temperatures, shorter days, and more rain. Many people find it difficult to avoid overwatering their gardens during the fall season. Overwatering will typically kill any plant faster than overwatering and leads to root rot, fungus, and bacterial infection in the soil. The GrowBox is the perfect solution to your overwatering woes, as it provides fresh water to the root system without oversaturating the soil. 

4. Other Tips for Tomatoes in the Fall

Follow these quick tips to ensure a healthy harvest even after summer ends:

  • Make sure you have a nourishing fertilizer available for your plants to keep growing and setting fruit deeper in the season. When choosing an appropriate fertilizer for your plants, take their nutrient ratios into consideration before making a final decision. For example, plants that lack calcium will struggle with bloom rot. Too much nitrogen prevents the plant from bearing fruit. The GrowBox simplifies the science of fertilization with special nutrient packs to take all the guesswork out of fertilization! 
  • Orange tomatoes are ready for picking! Many beginners will wait until their tomatoes turn red to harvest them. This leaves the fruits open to insects and animals that will eat the tomatoes before you do. When your tomatoes turn orange, go ahead and pick them. You can store them indoors until they fully ripen. 
  • Damaged leaves often indicate pests or other problems associated with bad garden hygiene or water issues. Learn more about browning leaves on tomato plants and what you should look for when checking your tomato plants’ health. 

5. Make Gardening Tomatoes In The Fall Easy-Peasy 

Does all of this make tomatoes in the fall sound like too much of a hassle? If so, order A Garden Patch’s GrowBox to make your fall tomato garden a stress-free hobby! Our self-watering, self-fertilizing tomato planters are durable and portable and guarantee a healthy harvest every time. You can skip the digging, weeding, and worrying and let our automatic planter take care of all the guesswork for you. Order online or call us at (800) 519-1955 to place your order by phone.

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