Scott’s 10 Cool Tips for Success: Growing Tomatoes Along the Coast

1. Choose varieties wisely. Look for short season tomatoes; those that ripen in less than 70 days. (Look for DTM or Days to Maturity on the label) These will reliably flower and fruit in more temperate situations.

2. Stupice, Early Girl, Fourth of July, Siberian, Jaune Flamme, Golden Mama, Gardener’s Delight and many others fit the bill. Yes, you might be able to grow other (and larger) varieties, if you can check off the rest of the list below.

3. Warm up your garden plot and your plants. Be sure to site your garden in an area that gets a full 8 hours of sun a day.

4. Take advantage of warm south or west facing walls. (Plant there!)

5. Screen out coastal breezes by putting up a temporary screen or planting behind the house or inside a fence or hedge.

6. Plant in pots! Containers warm the soil quickly and thoroughly and that in turn warms up your plant. You need that when fog or a cool stretch sets in.

7. Remember to fertilize your container plantings every 10-14 days.

8. Pinch! Prune! Heavy leaf cover creates shade and a cooler situation. Pinch at least some of the side branching on your indeterminate varieties so that sun can get into the center of your plants.

9. If you choose not to pinch or you flat don’t have the time for that, support your plants on fencing, wire or other sturdy planes that will allow you to stretch the branching out instead of gathering it all together

10. Plant a crop of tomatoes at the cusp of the season. We know, it’s too hard to wait, but plant a second crop late in June. Your true summer growing season often begins after June 15.

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