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How to Grow Tomatoes in Arizona

Tomato plants are an ideal starter plant for a backyard gardener because they are hardy, take up very little space and produce large amounts of fruit. Arizona is a desert state with hardiness zones ranging from 5b through 11. Most of Arizona's population is located in its desert portions of the Greater Phoenix Area and Tucson. These regions are known for their mild winters and early spring planting seasons. In Arizona, tomato seeds should be germinated indoors beginning in mid-December for planting in early February.

Fill the small planting pots with potting soil.

Germinate the tomato seeds by placing three seeds in each planting pot, spaced at least 1 inch apart and covered with 1/4 inch of potting soil.

Place each pot in a saucer filled with water, and allow it to sit until the top of the soil is damp.

Cover the pots with plastic wrap, and them place in a warm spot.

Remove the plastic covering once the seeds sprout, and replant the sprouts into separate containers once their first leaves sprout.

Place the plants in a sunny place and keep the soil moist until early February.

Transplant the tomatoes outdoors in early February in a sunny place in your garden. The plants need at least eight hours of direct sunlight to thrive.

Fertilize your tomato plants with starter solution after their roots are established, about two weeks after transplant.

Continue watering your tomato plants, maintaining consistently moist soil. If your plants appear to dry out in less than two days, consider placing mulch over the soil.

Fertilize your tomato plants again two weeks before the first tomato ripens to give the plant an extra nutrient boost.

Fertilize again with a balanced 5-10-5 fertilizer two weeks after the first tomato ripens, and again one month later.

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