EVER SINCE MY FRIEND ANDREW instilled it in my head years ago, I’ve taken the sting off tax time as he does by making April 15 tomato time, too. In much of the north, where tomatoes can go outside after Memorial Day or early June, as frosts subside, mid-April makes a perfect time to sow tomato seeds indoors. A roundup of tips and how-to’s, like these:
Easy does it: You don’t need a flat of cherry tomato plants; one or two is plenty for most households. Give the majority of space to paste tomatoes for making sauce, and others for eating fresh in salads and sliced.
Hybrids or heirlooms? A mix is better, probably, as hybrids sometimes fare better under duress than heirlooms, which don’t have the benefit of bred-in disease resistance. (That’s ‘Juliet,’ a delicious and prolific hybrid small plum, up top, for instance.)
At planting-out time, rotate the crop to minimize the chance of soil-borne troubles. A three-year rotation is best, but at least skip a year between planting tomatoes or their cousins in the same spot.
Always rogue out volunteer tomato seedlings from previous years. There is a chance they can transmit disease to the new season’s plants.
Lots more tomato tips, from seed to harvest: