Though it can feel like a waiting game as you toil over your tomato plants, it technically does not take that long to grow tomatoes. The tomato plant, a member of the nightshade family, was once considered extremely poisonous and was grown mainly as a decorative plant. Today, tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables for cultivation in home gardens, probably because they tend to be so easy to grow, and there is nothing quite as satisfying as eating food you have grown yourself. Tomatoes are warm-season perennial plants that are generally grown as an annual in the United States. The growing season for tomatoes tends to be spread out over the course of spring and summer, limited mainly by freezes in the spring and autumn.
For proper cultivation, tomatoes need lots of light and lots of warmth. If it is early in the growing season, early seeds can be sown in a heated greenhouse to ensure enough warmth, as early as late December. They should be planted in the ground around February, and no later than early March. However, if you don’t have the money or the access to a heated greenhouse, you can sow your seeds in an unheated greenhouse in early April and plant them in the ground in early May; you can also speed up this process by about three weeks by using an electric propagating frame, which you can either purchase at a garden supply store, or build into your greenhouse.
You can tell when your tomatoes are ready to be picked when they are ripe and fully colored. Generally harvesting will begin in May or June if grown in a heated greenhouse and planted in February. If planted in May, the harvest time for tomatoes will tend to be late summer, depending largely upon the weather.