Wait until the soil warms to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (70°) to plant peppers and tomatoes.
Plant tomatoes when soil temperatures are above 60°. Temperatures below 50° are like a polar bear plunge to your lovely tomato plant.
Warm season crops, like tomatoes and eggplant, need warm soil temperatures. If you plant tomatoes before the ground warms sufficiently they will not grow. The tomatoes will just stand in the soil and wait for warmer days.
Push a soil thermometer 4 inches into the soil where you plan to plant tomatoes.
Test the soil for 3 or 4 days. The soil temperature is the soil average. Measure the temperature in the mornings or before 10:00 a.m.
When the soil temperature is 40°, plant cool season crops kale.
50° – plant leeks and onions
60° – plant broccoli and cabbage
70° – tomatoes and basil
You can plant the whole garden based on soil temperatures. Be sure to store the thermometer in a safe place. I only remind you because I “lost” my little thermometer last week, when I left it in the garden.