How to Plant Maryland Tomatoes

Overview

The climate in the state of Maryland offers the perfect environment for tomato growing. Falling within USDA Hardiness Zones 5b and 7, the summer temperatures in Maryland average 77 degrees F. According to the Maryland State Archives, the annual rainfall averages between 40 and 45 inches throughout the state, keeping the soil evenly moist for tomato crops. Patio, cherry, beefsteak, compact, grape, paste and heirloom tomatoes are particularly fond of the rich soil and humid conditions of the seventh state. If you live in Maryland, grow Maryland tomatoes in your own backyard in an area that contains well-drained soil and full-day sun.

Step 1

Choose a location and test the soil. The University of Maryland suggests testing your soil to determine its acidity before planting. Maryland soil contains several components that cause the pH to vary between areas. Tomatoes prefer an acidic soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. A soil pH test purchased from a nursery or garden center will determine if your soil falls within the preferred pH level.

Step 2

Amend your soil after determining the pH. After breaking up the soil with a garden fork, add the required amendment. If the soil pH measures below 6.0 on the soil test, add lime. For a soil test that reveals a pH above 6.5, mix in peat moss. Add the required amendment according to package instructions.

Step 3

Plant your tomato plants a week or two after the average last-frost date. In Maryland, the average last frost occurs April 21 in Baltimore, May 5 in Laurel and May 22 in Pocomoke City. Dig the holes for your tomato plants comparable to their root balls, keeping the leaves remain above the soil line after backfilling. Space the planting holes at least 24 to 36 inches apart.

Step 4

Supply the newly planted Maryland tomatoes with plenty of water. Use a soaker hose, which provides a deep watering to the plants. Water the tomatoes at a rate of 1 inch of water per week, keeping the soil moist at a 1 inch depth at all times.

Step 5

Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch around the Maryland tomatoes. Straw or bark chips will protect the roots of the tomatoes from the hot, Maryland sun and also reduce weed growth. Mulching also promotes good drainage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not over-water you tomato plants. Over-watering encourages fungal disease and root rot. If the soil feels moist 1 inch down, skip the watering and check the soil again in a few days.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH testing kit
  • Garden fork
  • Lime or peat moss
  • Soaker hose
  • Mulch

References

  • Grow It: Maryland USDA Hardiness Zone Maps
  • Maryland State Archives: Maryland at a Glance
  • University of Maryland Extension: Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • University of Maryland: Why Test Your Soil?
  • USA Gardener: USA Frost Dates
Keywords: planting Maryland tomatoes, Maryland beefsteak tomatoes, growing tomatoes

About this Author

Eleanor Jewell started freelancing in 2007, writing for eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM and Trails. Lifestyle changes have led Jewell down a new path, quite different from her background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in education and a teacher certification from East Stroudsburg University.

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