Scheduling a Greenhouse Tomato Crop

Greenhouse tomatoes are usually scheduled to come into production when field tomatoes are not available. In Northern sections of the country, such as Connecticut, the field production season occurs late in the summer and is short in duration. As a result, greenhouse tomato growers in Connecticut, find they can market greenhouse tomatoes through most of the summer and still get a good price.

The time interval between sowing a crop and harvesting ripe fruit will vary with the growing season, since the rate of seedling and fruit development are affected by temperature. Light during seedling development will also affect the timing of initial flowering. Under ideal conditions, high light and warm temperatures, it will take about eight weeks from seeding until the first flowers open and another eight weeks from flowering until first harvest. Seedlings are generally transplanted into the production greenhouses two to three weeks before flowering. During less than ideal conditions, the period from seed to harvest will be longer than sixteen weeks. Use the schedules listed below as a general guide. Remember- the actual time required will vary between cultivars and with the light and temperature conditions in your greenhouse.

Crop Season Development Stage Time Interval Weeks from seed
Early Spring  
  Seed October 25- November 25
  Transplant January 1- January 15 9-10
  Harvest April 1- July 22-23
Late Spring  
  Seed December 15- January 15
  Transplant February 1- March 1 6-7
  Harvest May 1- July 19-20
  Seed June 15- July 15
  Transplant July 20 – August 15 5
  Harvest October 1- Dec 16

By Richard McAvoy, Professor and Extension Specialist, Greenhouse Crops, University of Connecticut, 1994.
Updated and Reviewed 2012.