Q:

Where do tomatoes grow?

A:

Tomatoes can grow in any climate, although extra care is needed if the climate is extreme. Supplemental light may be necessary in areas without a lot of natural sunlight.

In most climates, tomato plants need to be started indoors 6 weeks before the average date of the last frost. One also can purchase tomato plants at most gardening stores. Tomato plants shouldn't be planted outdoors until after the danger of frost has passed. They should be placed in full sun except in extremely hot climates, where it is best to provide a few hours of shade a day.

Nighttime temperatures below 55 degrees prevent the tomato fruit from setting. If necessary, one can wrap tomato cages with clear plastic or buy a commercial product to protect the tomato plants from cool weather.

Sun scald, or light grey spots on the skin of the tomato, can form in extremely hot climates. If sun scald develops, the tomato plants need additional shade.

Dark areas on leaves, called early blight, can develop as the first tomatoes are appearing when the weather is very wet. Cool and rainy weather when the tomatoes are almost ripe can cause dark spots on the fruit.

Wet weather or very dry, windy weather can cause blossoms to drop off tomato plants.


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