Growing Tomatoes In California: Everything You Need To Know

You live in California and want to know certain tips and tricks on how to grow tomatoes in California in the best possible manner?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you many things you can do to make your tomato harvest as big as possible and to have a great growing experience in general.

Not only will we talk about climatic things you have to take into account but also about watering behavior, pests, animal damage and much more.

After reading this article, you will be a real expert when it comes to growing tomatoes in California and may be able to avoid many mistakes most other people make in this regard.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Do tomatoes grow well in California?

Tomatoes usually grow very well in California since they get really good climatic conditions with many hours of sun and lots of warm weather and growing tomatoes in California is therefore much easier compared to growing tomatoes in Alaska or other much colder states where climatic conditions are just not as perfect.

How long does it take to grow tomatoes in California?

Since climatic conditions are almost perfect, you will have the opportunity to grow tomatoes from seed to harvest in about 3 months or less.

However, this also greatly depends on your skill level and how much you know about growing tomatoes in general since experts are often able to grow tomatoes faster than beginners since they just make fewer mistakes.

How big do tomato plants grow in California?

Since you can provide optimal growing conditions to your plants, tomatoes can grow quite big in California and can reach up to 10 feet in height, depending on the tomato variety you want to grow and the individual conditions you provide.

Can you expect great yields when growing tomatoes in California?

Thanks to the nice climatic conditions, you will be able to provide the best growing conditions possible and can therefore also expect pretty great tomato yields if you know what you are doing and are also willing to put in some work into your growth project.

When to grow tomatoes in California?

The best time to start growing tomatoes outdoors is between March and April when you no longer expect winter frost anymore. However, if you want to pre-grow your tomatoes indoors, you may even want to start as early as February so you can transplant your tomato seedlings outdoors a few months later.

Can you grow tomatoes in California in winter?

Even though winters are pretty mild in many coastal regions of California and you could grow tomatoes in winter in theory, I would still not advise you to do so since lighting conditions are just far away from perfect and you would not get high-quality yields most of the time.

Can you grow tomatoes in California multiple times per year?

Thanks to the warm climatic conditions, you may be able to grow two batches of tomatoes per year. You could start growing one batch in March and harvest it in July and start growing the second one in June and harvest it in September.

What tomato varieties grow best in California?

For growing tomatoes in California, you should choose varieties that like hot and humid weather. I listed the most popular ones for you below:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Brandywine Tomatoes
  • Celebrity Tomatoes
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Momotaro Tomatoes
  • Gold Medal Tomatoes
  • Yellow Pear Tomatoes
  • Zebra Tomatoes

Is it better to grow tomatoes in California from seeds or seedlings?

Both options are perfectly fine. While it might be better to grow tomatoes from seeds if you want to get the full growing experience, it might be better to grow tomatoes from seedlings if you want to have less work and also want to see results quicker.

Should you start growing tomatoes in California indoors?

If you want to get an early harvest, it may make sense to start growing tomatoes in California indoors since you could start as early as February and raise seedlings up to a certain height before transplanting them outdoors in late March when you may no longer expect frost anymore.

How to water tomato plants in California?

Since California is a pretty hot place, it makes sense to water your tomato plants at least daily or even multiple times per day during hot summer days in case it doesn’t rain outdoors in a natural manner.

Also keep in mind that the bigger your tomato plants get and the hotter it is outdoors, the more water your plants usually need to grow well.

Do you have to protect tomatoes against the sun in California?

Since the sun in California is often pretty intense, it may make sense to protect small tomato seedlings from the sun to a certain extent until they grow bigger and become more resistant to the heat.

Will wild animals feed on tomatoes in California?

Some wild animals like rabbits or deer may also try feeding on your tomato plants and you may therefore want to install fences or other protective measures to keep away those hungry intruders from your plants.

Pests & plant diseases on tomato plants in California

Cutworms, aphids and slugs are just some of the annoying intruders you may have to deal with when growing tomatoes in California.

Fortunately, there are many easy ways to get rid of tomato pests and plant diseases.

When to harvest tomatoes in California?

If you start growing tomatoes in California between March and April, you will usually be able to harvest them between June and July.

However, keep in mind that it may also take you longer, especially in case you are still new to gardening and may make more mistakes than seasoned experts.

Additional Information for Growing Tomatoes at Home

I hope you enjoyed my article and got lots of helpful tips and tricks on how to grow tomatoes in California.

If you want to get even more information on growing tomatoes step-by-step, you should also have a look at my tomato grower’s guide.

Moreover, you may also want to check out my growing tomatoes FAQ section where you will get answers to all questions you might still have regarding growing tomatoes at home in general.


Own experience.

About the Author

My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.

In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.

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