Department of Horticulture and Forestry
That tomatoes cannot be successfully grown and ripened in the open air in South Dakota, is an idea very generally met with throughout the state. But judging from the results of our experiments, during the season of '93, then, must have been some fault in the methods of culture pursued by those failing to ripen a paying crop. There are conditions to be overcome in nearly all climates and the one here is the short season of plant growth. The past summer was perhaps one of average length, yet the period, as shown below between frosts was too short by over a month. The time at which frosts of spring may no longer be feared is generally between May 25 and June 1. This year our plants were set in the field on May 29, and a killing frost came Sep. 15, thus giving 108 days for plants to grow and mature their fruit, a period altogether too short to expect any fruit to ripen, much less a paying crop, were the seeds planted in the open. The number of day’s necessary, under favorable circumstances, for a tomato to grow from seed and mature its fruit is one hundred and forty days. But since we have only about one hundred days to depend on, the deficiency must be made up. How is it to be done'? Surely not by attempting to ward off the fall frosts. The other alternative then is to get the plants far enough advanced before planting them in the field to insure the maturing of the fruit.
tomatoes, tomato crops
South Dakota Agricultural College and Experiment Station
Corbett, L.C., "Tomatoes" (1893). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 37.