Here in northern California April 15 is the “frost free” date. Tomatoes and other warm weather plants can begin to go in without fear of frost knocking them out. Since some summer veggies, like beans, need the soil to be warmed to around 60 degrees I use a soil thermometer and wait until the right temp is reached.(It’s almost there…) Nothing is as disappointing as planting your seeds and then having them rot in the cold soil and never pop up like you expected!
While I did put my tomatoes in the ground this week, we also built a little “greenhouse” shelter in case it turns cold or pours rain…again, built like you’re playing with Tinker Toys! We used 3/4″ PVC for the frames and 1 1/4″ (schedule 40 size) for the pieces we pushed into the ground to hold them up. If needed, we can drape plastic over them for protection or added warmth.
Since the Big Boy and Sweet 100 tomatoes I planted last year took over my beds and the walkway between, I’m going with determinate tomatoes this year. They are not as huge and stop growing at a determined height.They produce fruit over a shorter period of time but do better in containers and raised beds than the indeterminate kind. I went to Lowe’s, home depot and some nurseries and came up with two that seemed easy to find and had good reviews:
Now is the time to get planting if you live in zone 9! Get out there and enjoy the gorgeous sun!