How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Time to plant

Tomatoes are warm-weather plants. They like sunshine and produce best when planted in a well-exposed area in the garden. If you plant earlier, provide frost protection such as plastic jugs or covers that go over small plants. However, you can help prevent seedlings from damping off and diseases such as early blight by planting when the weather is warmer.

Trapping the heat from the sun during the day and slowing the re-radiation of that heat at night by using row cover helps protect tomato plants from varying temperatures during the springtime.

Tomatoes are suitable for a small garden if compact varieties are grown. Transplants, shoots, or roots are used for field planting.


Temperature (F)


Flowers will not set
Optimum growth
Optimum germination
Minimum night temperature for fruit set
Will grow slowly
Potential injury by frost

Planting Dates for Tomatoes*

CALIFORNIA Transplant or direct seed Start transplants indoors
North and North Coast
Monterey County north
May March–April

South Coast
San Luis Obispo County south

April– mid-July

Interior Valleys Sacramento, San
Joaquin valleys
March–May mid-Jan.–mid-February

Desert Valleys
Imperial and
Coachella valleys



*Areas are large, so planting dates are only approximate, as the climate may vary even in small sections of the state. Contact experienced gardeners in your community and experiment on your own to find more precise dates.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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