Growing Tomatoes Tomatoes

Expert Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Virginia

Well, howdy, fellow Virginians! You must be wondering if growing tomatoes in our fine state is akin to solving an enigma wrapped in a mystery, buried inside a riddle. Fear not, for I’m here to spill the beans—or should I say, tomatoes? Here, we’ll tackle everything from our unique soil to that temperamental Old Dominion weather, ensuring your tomatoes don’t just survive but thrive. So, grab your trowel and your favorite sunhat, and let’s get to the juicy details of growing the reddest, plumpest tomatoes in all of Virginia, one ripe tidbit at a time!

Tomato Growing Regions

Alright, my fellow Virginian gardening comrades, it’s high time we took a leisurely stroll through the various tomato-growing regions of our home state. Now, don’t you start fretting, because I assure you, it’s not as complicated as planning a family reunion!

Coastal Plain (Tidewater)

You folks are blessed with sandy soil that’s perfect for those water-loving tomato roots. But remember, it’s also quite the feast for pests, so keep an eye out for those little critters!


Our beloved heartland! The soil’s a tad clay-ey here, making drainage a little trickier. But fear not, a good layer of compost and your tomatoes will be happier than a possum eatin’ a sweet tater!

Blue Ridge

Ah, the beautiful mountainous region. Your tomatoes might need a touch more care here with rocky soil and cooler temperatures. They’re kinda like the belle of the ball – always needing a bit more attention, but worth the effort.

Valley and Ridge

Our western neighbors, you’ve got diverse soil and a climate that’s typically drier. It’s like your tomatoes are on a vacation, but don’t let them get too relaxed. A good watering schedule will keep them from going too ‘wild west’.

Appalachian Plateau

Y’all have a cooler climate and acidic soil. Think of your tomatoes as hipsters, they enjoy the cool vibes but demand a proper pH balance.

Remember, no matter where you are, tomatoes are like us Virginians – resilient, adaptable, and always ready for a good backyard barbeque!

When to Grow tomatoes in Virginia

 Alrighty, my fellow tomato-loving Virginians, let’s dive a little deeper into our micro-regions. And remember, no matter where you are, growing tomatoes in Virginia is like a slow dance—you’ve got to know your partner’s moves!

1. Eastern Virginia (Tidewater):

  • Micro-climate weather conditions: Humidity is our middle name, and we’ve got a nice sea breeze to keep things interesting.
  • USDA plant hardiness zones: 7b to 8a.
  • Approximate first frost date range: November 15 – 30.
  • Approximate last frost date range: April 1 – 15.
  • Average length of the growing season: About 200-210 days.
  • Start seeds indoor: Around 6 weeks before the last frost.
  • When to transplant: When the outdoor soil temperature consistently hits 60°F—usually in mid-April.
  • Risk-free transplant outdoor time: Between April 29 and August 7.

2. Central Virginia (Piedmont):

  • Micro-climate weather conditions: We’ve got the Goldilocks of climates—not too hot, not too cold, just right!
  • USDA plant hardiness zones: 7a to 7b.
  • Approximate first frost date range: October 31 – November 15.
  • Approximate last frost date range: April 10 – April 20.
  • Average length of the growing season: About 180-190 days.
  • Start seeds indoor: Around 6 weeks before the last frost.
  • When to transplant: When the soil is consistently 60°F—typically late April.
  • Risk-free transplant outdoor time: Between April 24 and July 23.

3. Western Virginia (Valley and Ridge, Appalachian Plateau):

  • Micro-climate weather conditions: Cooler and drier, like a good Virginian cider.
  • USDA plant hardiness zones: 6a to 7a.
  • Approximate first frost date range: October 1 – 15.
  • Approximate last frost date range: May 1 – 15.
  • Average length of the growing season: About 160-170 days.
  • Start seeds indoor: Around 6 weeks before the last frost.
  • When to transplant: When the soil is consistently 60°F—usually late May.
  • Risk-free transplant outdoor time: Between May 29 and August 17.

Alright, you garden wranglers, armed with this knowledge, get out there and make us proud with your bountiful tomato harvest!

Tomato Plant Care Tips and Tricks in Virginia

Howdy, Virginia tomato growers! Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of tomato growing in our lovely state.

Choosing the Right Tomato Varieties

Picking a tomato variety in Virginia is like choosing a hat at the county fair—there are many good ones. But Better Boy, Celebrity, and Early Girl generally fare well. Check with local agricultural extensions for tailored advice.

Preparing Seedbeds

Just like fluffing your favorite pillow before a good night’s sleep, your seedbed should be well-prepared. Make sure it’s loose and well-draining with plenty of organic matter.

Studying the Climate

Virginia’s climate is as unpredictable as Granny’s secret BBQ sauce. Keep a keen eye on those frost dates and the USDA hardiness zones to avoid any frosty surprises.

Soil Preparation

Your tomatoes need soil as inviting as a Southern-style sweet tea. Ensure it has a pH between 6.2 and 6.8, and enrich it with compost or well-rotted manure for a nutrient boost.

Fertilizing Tomatoes

Feeding tomatoes is not quite like feeding Uncle Bob at Thanksgiving. Use a slow-release fertilizer high in phosphorus and potassium. They don’t need a buffet—just a balanced meal.


Water your tomatoes like you’re soothing a sunburn—generously but gently. A solid soak once a week will make them happier than a hound with a ham bone.


Mulch is the unsung hero of the tomato world, protecting roots like a devoted bodyguard. Straw or shredded leaves will do the trick.

Staking and Caging

Tomatoes enjoy a good support system, like a best friend or a favorite pair of jeans. Stake or cage them to keep fruit off the ground.

Shading and Covering

Extreme summer sun can turn tomatoes into sun-dried snacks. Consider shade cloth to protect them from turning into tomato raisins.


Pruning tomatoes is like giving them a little haircut—trim off the suckers to focus the plant’s energy.


Harvesting tomatoes is the sweetest part of the dance. Pick ’em when they’re a uniform color for peak flavor. But remember, green tomatoes make some fine pickles and pies!

And there you have it! Tend your tomatoes with a little love, a pinch of patience, and a hearty dose of humor, and they’ll treat you to a bountiful harvest. Happy gardening, y’all!

Tomato Variety

Y’all ready to grow some tasty ‘maters here in the Old Dominion? The kind that taste better than mama’s apple pie, and sweeter than Southern sweet tea? We got tomato varieties more diverse than our beautiful Blue Ridge landscapes, and sturdier than our historical Jamestown settlement. From tomatoes that are quicker than a Richmond NASCAR race, to those that grow as large as our Shenandoah apples, we got ’em all. So, grab your gardening hat and let’s dive into Virginia’s top 25 tomato varieties:

  1. Early Girl: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 50-60 days, VF. She’s quicker than a horse at Colonial Downs, I tell ya!
  2. Celebrity: Hybrid, Determinate, 70 days, VFFNT. Bigger celeb than George Washington himself!
  3. Roma: Heirloom, Determinate, 75-80 days, VF. Perfect for making marinara sauce for your spaghetti.
  4. Super Fantastic: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 70 days, VF. Super fantastic, like our autumn foliage!
  5. Better Boy: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 70-75 days, VFN. Outperforms the boys at UVA football… sometimes.
  6. Big Beef: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 73 days, VFFNT. As robust as a Norfolk shipyard crane.
  7. Jet Star: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 70 days, VF. Faster than traffic on the I-95.
  8. Sun Gold: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 55-65 days, Fusarium Wilt. As golden as a Shenandoah sunrise.
  9. Brandywine: Heirloom, Indeterminate, 80-100 days. Aged to perfection, like our historic Mount Vernon.
  10. Cherokee Purple: Heirloom, Indeterminate, 80-90 days. As storied as our Jamestown settlement.
  11. Supersonic: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 79 days, VF. Faster than a F-22 Raptor from Langley Air Force Base.
  12. Green Zebra: Heirloom, Indeterminate, 75-80 days. As wild as our Chincoteague ponies.
  13. Beefsteak: Heirloom, Indeterminate, 85-90 days. As large and in charge as our state’s tobacco industry.
  14. Black Krim: Heirloom, Indeterminate, 80-90 days. Dark and complex, like our Civil War history.
  15. Sweet Million: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 65 days, FNT. Produces a million sweet fruits, like our state’s peaches.
  16. Pink Girl: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 76 days, VF. As charming as our historic Williamsburg.
  17. Cherry Bomb: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 64 days, FNTMV. Packs a flavor punch as strong as our navy fleet in Norfolk.
  18. Golden Jubilee: Heirloom, Indeterminate, 80 days, VF. Brighter than a Roanoke Star.
  19. Bush Early Girl: Hybrid, Determinate, 54 days, VFFNT. Early like our colonial history.
  20. Grape Tomato: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 65-70 days, VF. Small, but pack a flavor punch like our Virginia peanuts.
  21. Heatmaster: Hybrid, Determinate, 75 days, VFFFNSt. Perfect for those hot Virginian summer days.
  22. Mountain Spring: Hybrid, Determinate, 70 days, VF. Refreshing as a spring day in the Appalachian Trail.
  23. Lemon Boy: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 72 days, VFNASt. As bright and cheerful as our Dogwood blooms.
  24. Candyland Red: Hybrid, Indeterminate, 55 days. Sweeter than a Williamsburg saltwater taffy.
  25. Mountain Fresh: Hybrid, Determinate, 77 days, FFN. Tastes as fresh as a Shenandoah morning.

Alright folks, there ya go. Now, go make Virginia proud with those luscious tomatoes. Happy gardening, y’all!


Well, there you have it, Virginia! From picking the right variety to watering and harvesting, we’ve taken a rollicking tour through the world of growing tomatoes in our beautiful state. We’ve learnt that tomatoes, just like Virginians, have got character. They need a little TLC, some sweet Virginia soil, and a proper two-step with the changing weather. Sure, they might test your patience, just like trying to find your truck in a crowded county fair parking lot. But when you’re biting into that juicy, home-grown tomato, I reckon you’ll find all that pampering and primping was worth it. Happy gardening, y’all!

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