Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator and Laura Neff, NS/S Education Assistant Published December 22, 2017.
Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden foods grown by home gardeners. The diversity of tomato varieties and uses have increased dramatically from its original domestication in the tropical climates of Central and South America to the point where now it is use in cuisines from all around the world. While popular, tomatoes can difficult to start from seed because of it's slow maturation rate and sensitivity to heat and frost when young. Tomato should be started from seed indoors at least 8 weeks before the treat of frost has passed. Then once the treat of freezing tempuratures has passed and soil warms up the tomato plants can be put outside. For the low desert regions, including Tucson and Phoenix this means that tomato seed starting time correlates to the holiday season of late November through the first week of January. Getting a jump on starting tomato seeds now also ensures that plants will produce fruit before the heat and dry weather of early summer sets in.