Quick Answer: When to Plant Tomatoes in Kansas?
Kansas provides tomato-favoring weather conditions in mid to end of May. Many Kansas cities experience frost in the first week of May hence, 15th-20th May is suitable for tomato transplanting. For planting the seeds, one should start looking for the seed variety in January and February and must sow the seeds indoors in March.
Here is our detailed guide on planting tomatoes in Kansas.
The guide contains the average frost dates of Kansas cities with many other insights and tips to help you successfully grow tomatoes in Kansas.
Let us get started!
Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Kansas
Tomato is a delicate fruit. It ripens at a specific range of temperature, humidity, water, and sunlight.
According to the average frost dates of Kansas cities, Mid-May is ideal for tomato planting. This week provides less risk of frost damage; optimum temperature, enough soil warmth, and less humidity. Ideally, 15th-20th May is just the right time to transplant your tomatoes outside.
The time for planting tomato seeds must be decided following the expected frost dates. This is critical, as it will protect the tender plants from frost damage.
Be aware of the frost season in your area. It will help you plan the week for outdoor tomato planting.
Here are the frost dates for Kansas –
Table: Frost Dates For Kansas
|City||First Frost Date||Last Frost Date|
|Greeley||October 4||May 6|
|Miami||October 11||April 22|
|Smith||October 4||April 29|
|Harper||October 24||April 15|
According to various studies, one should sow the tomato seeds indoors two months before the last frost. It ensures that tomato plants get enough time for growth and ripening.
In Kansas, you can consider planting the tomato seeds around February end and the first week of March. However, the selection of seeds must be done early in the year only.
Temperature and Humidity
Not only frost, temperature, and humidity also play an important part in growing tomatoes.
The weather conditions during the time of tomato transplanting should be as follows-
- A daytime temperature of 70-75 degrees F. The plants must not be kept outside when the temperature rises above 75 degrees F. It will result in sun scalding of leaves and fruits.
- A nighttime temperature of 60-65 degrees F. Tomato plants cannot survive chilly nights.
- The soil temperature must be warm enough to sustain the roots of the plant.
- A soil pH should be around 6.2 to 6.8.
- The humidity of the area must be around 70%.
For a productive tomato plant, provide a minimum of eight hours of sunlight a day. There must be no sunlight constraint in the area.
The germinating seeds demand light for at least 16 hours a day. You can either meet the light criteria naturally or through fluorescent light settings.
Check out this video for North Central Kansas tomato tips-
How to Take Care of Tomatoes in Kansas
Tomatoes are colorful, tasty, and beautiful fruits. They demand utmost care at every stage of their growth.
Tomato cannot handle the sudden temperature change so, before outdoor planting give the plants appropriate time to adjust the atmosphere settings.
Here are some important tips to consider with your tomato plant –
- A plant must have reached a height of 3-4 inches when you plan to transplant.
- Keep a gap of 3-4 inches between two rows of plants.
- You can plant the seeds in clay, plastic, or peat pots. Provide a drain hole at the bottom of the tray or pots.
- Use potting soil from a garden center for the new tomato seeds. The commercially available potting soils are weed-free.
- Select fertilizers rich in phosphorus and potassium. Fertilizers with excessive nitrogen must be avoided. You can mix the fertilizer with desired water quantity and, add the water-fertilizer mixture to the soil.
- Stake the tomato plants for early ripening of the fruits. Staking establishes enough spaces between the plants and protects against animals.
- Prune the unwanted foliage, stem, and suckers from time to time. Do not let any unwanted plant parts fall on the ground. Burn the suckers immediately. Maintain a clean and properly sanitized garden.
Do not work with the plants when they are too short or wet. Let the plant grow to at least for inches before all the cultural and cleaning practices.
For early ripening and safety, use mulches at the very beginning of the transplanting.
Mulch retains soil moisture, reduces soil compaction, and helps to control weeds.
To meet the nutritional requirement of the tomato plants, complement the soil with lots of organic matter, fertilizers, compost, manure, and some supplementary ingredients rich in calcium and soluble salts.
What are the Best Tomato Varieties for Kansas?
The best commercially available tomato varieties for Kansas include –
- Big Beef is resistant to V1, F1, 2, N, TMV.
- Celebrity resistant to V, F1, 2, N, TMV and produces a high yield.
- Florida resistant to 91 V, F1,2, and heat.
- Cherry Type – Sweet Chelsea resistant to V, F1, 2, TMV.
Rainfall is the best source of water supply for tomato plants. However, during insufficient rainfall one can use sprinklers and drip irrigation systems for efficient water supply.
These methods that ensure that the water reaches the roots and plants get enough water.
Fertilizers with 5-10-10, 6-12-12, 5-10-5 ratios, or less nitrogen are desirable for tomatoes.
I hope this quick guide helped you understand how you can successfully grow tomatoes in Kansas.
Do share this with your family and friends looking to grow tomatoes!