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April 27, 2009

When can I put in tomatoes in Maryland?

Many of the readers who find us here at Garden Variety are looking for answers to the same question:

When can I put in tomatoes in Maryland?

There are lots of statistics behind the fine art of blogging, and we here at Garden Variety are just learning about them.

We get a report each day which gives us details about how people find us and what they are looking for.

Since so many of you want to know when you can plant your tomatoes in Maryland, we thought we ought to answer the question.


I used to wait until Mother's Day, because when the children were young my gift was always six tomato plants and the time to plant them.

But the weather has been warm - even hot - and the ground is warming up. The danger of frost is (probably) long past.

And there is an old wives' tale: When the dogwood blooms, it is safe to plant tomatoes. And the dogwoods are blooming.

Go ahead and put your tomatoes in!

Posted by Susan Reimer at 9:50 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Vegetable gardening


I think it's usually a bit warmer on the SW side of Baltimore and down near the Bay. Here in Southern Carroll County, I plan on waiting a few more weeks.

My "tropicals" (tomatoes, basil, peppers) don't grow AT ALL until June, so we don't even plant them out until mid-May, since they just seem to sit there looking small and forlorn until the weather REALLY heats up.

Isn't the Baltimore area really split into different USDA zones? I read that Annapolis is in Zone 7 and I know that Carroll County in in Zone 6??

Just to be safe, I plan to put my tomatoes in the ground Mother's Day weekend. This past weekend's 90-degree weather is tempting, but didn't we have a frost advisory the week before that? I agree, it would be more prudent to wait. -Carrie


I think you are quite right. In Annapolis, I get tomatoes before any of my friends even in Baltimore County.

We are all in a rush to get the work of spring done, I think. But you are correct. They might not freeze to death, but tomato plants aren't going to do much until the nights are hot.


I was growing up in NJ, my dad always "had" to wait until Memorial Da weekend to plant his tomatoes, since that was when the threat of frost was past. (I can recall some Memorial Day picnics with cold rain, whoever created that "rule" must have been in Maine!)

I pretty much plant my tomatoes whenever I get around to buying them.

Maureen is absolutely correct for southern Carroll County, where I gardened for the last twenty years. You can plant them before Memorial Day, but they will just sit there & not grow until Memorial Day, so you might as well wait. Now I am back in the earlier microclimate of Greater Homewood, where I lived a century or so ago, and I plan to set out my peppers and tomatoes on May 15.

Mine have been in the ground for about a month already! We had a few cold nights, but they are just fine. And a few of them are starting to take off with these last few hot days. I just planted the basil about a week ago, only because I couldn't find it in stores before that.

My thing is, I need everything done before mid-April, so I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the weather :)

Good info! I've been pondering this same question now that I have a good sunny spot to grow them.

Now I just have to pick a good variety or two. I live alone, so I don't need any tomatoes as big as my head, but big enough to make a good bacon and tomato sandwich. (and to fry up green and top with shrimp and remoulade) Hooray for summer tomatoes!

Only two things that money can't buy,
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes.

RayRay, hon, you're becoming quite the philosopher!

Dahlink, RayRay was just quoting Guy Clark.

Hal is correct. My apologies to Guy Clark for failing to give credit where credit is due.

Hal & RayRay--it's still good!

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About Susan Reimer
Susan Reimer has spent 16 years writing about raising kids - among other topics - in her column for The Baltimore Sun. And every time son Joseph or daughter Jessie passed another milestone - driver's license, college, wedding or a move to a new military duty station - she has planted another garden. Now she will be writing about those gardens - and yours - here on Garden Variety.

Susan isn't an expert gardener, but she wasn't an expert mother, either. Both - the kids and the gardens - seem to be doing well in spite of her.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Mihoces, who loves to cut his grass but has noticed that there seems to be less of it every time the kids pass another milestone.

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