Spring is here and the stores are full of tomato plants ready to be picked up and plopped in the ground. But when is the best time to do that?

The first thing to think about is that tomatoes are warm weather plants, so you don’t want to get them in the ground until after the nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 F. Otherwise, unexpected low temps could kill your plant.

A second good indicator is when the soil is above 60 F. You can get a soil thermometer to test this. However, one quick and easy method is to stick your finger in the ground and if you can keep it there for a minute without feeling uncomfortable, the temperature may be right.

So now you may be asking, “When is it too late to plant tomatoes?” Different varieties need different amounts of time to mature, typically between 60 and 100 days. So if you back track from the early frost predictions by that amount of time, you should be okay.