Although tomatoes need protection from cold weather, gardeners love to plant them because they are easy to cultivate and beneficial.
That’s why in Missouri, people take the chance to plant tomatoes once spring comes. Plus, the famous fruit is very suitable for the state’s seasonal mild climate.
Growing tomatoes in an untimely manner will result in them dying or failing to bear fruit.
So when to plant tomatoes in Missouri for a great yield? Plant them once the daytime temperature has reached 50–75°F, the soil temperature is above 60°F, and your zone’s last frost date has passed.
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Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri
1. Plant tomatoes when the daytime temperature ranges between 50°-80°F.
Tomatoes grow well if you plant them when the weather’s warm. Once spring comes, the temperature will most likely reach 50°-75°F, so this is the best time to grow them.
Timely cultivation of tomatoes is essential, as it will ensure healthy growth and help set the excellent color and flavor of the fruits.
That said, when you expose tomatoes to excessively high heat (>75℉), they will most likely experience a flower drop that will delay fruit production.
And under cold temperatures, they might rot and die.
2. Plant tomatoes when the soil temperature has warmed to 60°F above.
- Plant in warm and acidic soil
The optimal soil temperature for growing tomatoes is above 60°F.
Tomatoes cannot flourish in temperatures below 50°F and will exhibit slow and poor development, so planting them in warm soil is ideal.
Along with that, when the weather is warm and not very humid, it will make the soil pH slightly acidic to neutral, making it the perfect time to plant these fruits.
Cultivating tomatoes in a soil pH between 6.5-7.0 is ideal.
- Plant in well-draining soil
Well-draining soil is the best kind to place tomatoes in. It warms up fast, which helps ensure the above condition is met.
Because of this earth type’s ability to drain water well, tomatoes are protected from drowning and root rotting.
And once fruits develop, it will prevent some of them from cracking, which is caused by dehydration.
So planting your tomato seeds in warm, slightly acidic, and well-draining soil is ideal for healthy growth.
3. Plant tomatoes after the last frost date of your zone.
The last frost date in your area in Missouri is the best indicator of when to plant tomatoes.
When the last frost date has passed, it means that the climate will turn warm, making it the perfect time to plant your seedlings outside.
- Be attentive to the last frost date in your region.
The entire state of Missouri is divided into four planting zones. Below are the zones and their corresponding regions:
- Zone 5b: Northern Missouri
- Zone 6a and 6b: Central Missouri
- Zone 7a: Southern Missouri
- Zone 7b: the rest
With the help of the Missouri Hardiness Zone Map, gardeners get a general idea about the growing time of plants in the four parts of the state.
Each part has its own last frost date. For Northern Missouri, its last frost date is on May 10-20, while in Southern Missouri, it is around April 20-May 15.
As for Central Missouri, its last frost date ranges between May 5-20, while zone 7b’s last frost often falls around April 5 or 15.
So, if you plan to plant tomatoes in Missouri, know where your zone is, and let the last frost date of your area pass first before growing your tomatoes outside.
- Start your seeds indoors before the last frost date comes.
If you want to plant tomatoes that have long maturity periods or sow seeds by yourself, you can start gardening earlier, before the last frost date comes.
But grow the seeds indoors to protect them from the danger of frost and give them enough sunlight for proper growth.
Starting your seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last frost date in your region is ideal.
Here are the simple steps on how to do so:
- Place your tomato seeds in a pot.
- Cover the top with plastic wrap to trap the small amount of heat and moisture inside the pot, which will help the seeds grow.
- Put them near the window to have enough sunlight or use artificial light.
Once the seedlings grow and when the last frost date occurs, you can transplant them after a few days outside in warm soil.
- Watch out for the first frost date in your region.
When planting tomatoes, the first frost date of your zone and the variety of tomatoes you choose can help you know when to start gardening.
Most cultivars need 60-100 days or more to develop fully, so a type with a longer maturity period needs to get planted earlier than those with shorter growing days.
For example, Brandywine Tomato is one of the best tomatoes to grow in Missouri. It needs 80 days to grow and is heat-tolerant.
Aside from that, it is adaptive to new environments and has high-quality taste and firmness.
If you’re in Northern Missouri, planting this variety around mid-July is ideal, as the harvest will come before the first frost in the second or third week of October.
Cultivating a Grape Tomato is also a good choice. Just like the Brandywine, it can also thrive in high temperatures; plus, it only needs 60 days to grow.
So planting Grape tomatoes as late as August is fine since they can grow before the first frost in Northern Missouri occurs.
After all that has been said, there’s no doubt that tomatoes are not that hard to cultivate.
With the proper temperatures, timing, and soil condition, we can enjoy delicious tomatoes once harvest time comes.
Always remember to sow your seeds early enough before the first frost to save them from dying because of cold temperatures.
Hopefully, you learned a lot about when to plant tomatoes in Missouri. Thank you for reading!
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