Tomatoes grow well in Kentucky gardens because of the state’s welcoming mild climate, making the juicy fruits popular for selling in fresh markets.
However, the challenge this crop experiences is when the frigid weather comes. Thus, by learning when to plant tomatoes in Kentucky, you’ll be able to grow them at the right time and enjoy a healthy and plentiful harvest.
The ideal time to plant potatoes is two weeks after the last spring frost. In the Western part, this will be April 15-29. The optimal sowing date should be April 30-May 14 in the Central area and May 15-29 in the Northeast, when the temperature is around 70-85 °F.
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Best Time Plant Tomatoes in Kentucky
1. Plant tomatoes between April and May
- Plant outdoors two weeks after the last spring frost.
The planting calender in Kentucky for growing tomatoes depends on where you live. This cultivar grows best two weeks after the last spring frost.
- If you reside in the Western area, April 15-29 is the best time to plant tomatoes since their frost will end around April 1-15.
- In Central Kentucky, since the cold period will finish on April 16-30, growing them from April 30-May 14 is ideal.
- And for those in the Northern Eastern part, you can plant them on May 15-29 because the freezing phase stops around May 1-15.
When growing these crops outside, remember that the best time of day to plant tomatoes is in the evening to retain their moisture. A particularly cloudy day is also an ideal time for growing tomatoes.
- Plant indoors before the last spring frost.
You can also plant your tomatoes indoors if you intend to start early and maximize their growing season to harvest plenty of yields. To do so, sow the seeds 6-8 weeks before the chilly period ends.
- For example, the last frost date in Frankfort, Ky, is April 22. So you should start growing tomatoes between February 25 to March 11.
Once the seedlings reach 4 inches in height, they are ready for transplanting. You can move them outside after the last frost date when the soil temperature has reached at least 60℉.
2. Grow tomatoes once the temperature is around 70-85°F.
- Plant them at the proper temperature.
Tomatoes are heat-loving plants that grow best in warm climates like those in zones 5-8. Since the Kentucky hardiness zone belongs to 6 and 7, the region is suitable for cultivating the plants.
However, although the Ky planting zone matches tomatoes’ climate needs, temperatures all year round are not always favorable. Thus, it is best to wait until it becomes ideal before growing them.
The general rule is to plant tomatoes once the temperature hits between 70-85 °F for the crop to become robust and induce high yields.
In other words, if the dangers of frost have passed, but the weather remains under 50°F, refrain from sowing tomatoes. While the plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 33°F, anything below 50 will hinder fruit growth and may even lead to deformity.
- Plant at ideal soil temperatures
To grow healthy tomatoes, the soil temperature should be at least 60 °F, with 65-70 °F being the optimal range. Note that the lower the temperature is, the longer it’ll take for the seeds to germinate.
It is also crucial to know that planting them in well-draining soil will help prevent diseases like blossom-end rot once they grow. It usually occurs when the ground is having difficulties in holding proper moisture.
What is the best tomato to grow in Kentucky?
Some of the best tomatoes to grow in Kentucky are Cherokee Purple and Brandywine varieties because they produce high-quality fruits and can survive hot temperatures, which is typical most of the year in the state.
Celebrity variety is also an excellent choice since it can fight off various diseases. Aside from that, it can handle tropical climates well.
You can also plant Cherry tomatoes because they can survive without much water, making them thrive during dry spells.
Is April too early to plant tomatoes?
Planting in April is too early for most parts of Kentucky since the frost is still present during this time.
But like we said a while ago, this period is ideal for those who live in the Western area since their cold phase ends around early to mid-April. It means that planting later this month is the optimal time.
How late can you plant tomatoes?
In Kentucky, you can plant as late as winter as long as you have a greenhouse to keep your tomatoes warm inside during the harsh cold climate outdoors.
However, if you don’t have a greenhouse, growing tomatoes before the first frost date is the ideal time. Ensure that the variety you intend to sow can reach maturity before the freezing period.
Therefore, choose the type of tomatoes with short maturity days so you can harvest them before the temperature drops.
What do tomatoes like to be planted with?
Tomatoes like to be with crops that will benefit them. Some of the best vegetables to grow in Kentucky with your red fruits are garlic, asparagus, and chives.
- Planting garlic can drive off some pests like spider mites, aphids, flies, and caterpillars.
- Asparagus helps protect the planting bed from organisms, like the root-knot nematodes, that can infect tomatoes.
- Chives keep pests like mites away.
Although the growing period differs depending on where you live, your plants will thrive as long as you sow them two weeks after the last frost date and throughout mild climates.
Now that you know when to plant tomatoes in Kentucky, prepare your tomatoes and wait for the proper planting time. With proper planting and care, your tomatoes will be ready for harvest in 60-100 days. Remember to enjoy your crops before the first frost hits!
Furthermore, plating tomatoes are easier than ever if you know the best time for growing, here are our articles about the plating calendar of tomatoes in other states. Please take a look!
We hope our guide has been helpful to you. If there’s anything else you want to ask, feel free to reach out to us via the comment section below.
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