When to Plant Tomatoes in Kentucky?

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Quick Answer: When to Plant Tomatoes in Kentucky?

The best time to plant tomatoes in Kentucky is in May. You can sow the tomato seeds in March and early April. A tomato gardener must be aware of the last and first frost of the year. A tomato must be planted when the danger of the frost is completely over.

This is your go-to article on tomato planting in Kentucky.

The article consists of Kentucky frost dates, dates to plant the tomatoes, and many more easy tips to grow healthy tomatoes. 

Let us get started!

Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Kentucky

Kentucky experiences its first fall of the season in October. You as a gardener must buy varieties that complete their harvesting period before October.

Plant the tomatoes two weeks after the expected last frost is over. Sow the tomato seeds a month before the last frost.

According to the frost table given, the ideal time for transplanting must be May, and the sowing of seeds must be March.

Table: Frost Dates For Kentucky

CityFirst Frost DateLast Frost Date
MonticelloOctober 15April 26
MayfieldOctober 22April 15
West LibertyOctober 19April 22
MurrayOctober 28April 9

Temperature and Humidity Conditions for Tomato Plants

The weather conditions that influence the health of tomatoes are –

  • Daytime Temperature – 80 to 85 degrees F.
  • Nighttime Temperature – 60 to 75 degrees F.
  • The pH of the soil must be between 6.2 to 6.8.
  • Soil Temperature – 60 degrees F and above.
  • Humidity– 70% to 80%.

How to Take Care of Tomatoes in Kentucky

Apart from frost and temperature, there are many small things that need to be kept in mind for growing successfully in Kentucky.

Here are some of the key issues you need to be aware of –

Soil Compaction

  • Compaction of soil is a consequence of more water and the wrong way of using fertilizers.
  • Garden soil compacts very easily and is a habitat for many diseases and pests. To avoid soil compaction, use finely textured loamy or sandy soil.
  • Keep the soil moderately moist to avoid soil compaction.
  • Naturally, one can avoid compaction by adding perlite [naturally occurring volcanic rock] to the soil.

Too Much Nitrogen

  • Nitrogen is added to the soil through chemical fertilizers or various organic matters. 
  • Concentrated Nitrogen damages the seed structure. Avoid adding Fertilizer containing Nitrogen to the seeds. 
  • To transplanted tomato plants, add a balanced fertilizer naturally through compost and manures. 
  • Too much synthetic fertilizer containing a high percentage of Nitrogen than Potassium or Phosphorus triggers flavonoids.

Cluttered Garden

  • Garden sanitation is the deciding factor for anticipated disease spread. 
  • Suckers and affected foliage on the field affect the soil and later, the infected soil infects a healthy tomato plant.
  • Moist foliage and wet garden is a house of soil-borne and water-borne diseases Avoid working in a wet field with moist foliage. Do not water the leaves of the plant.
  • Clean all the leftover plant parts and burn them in the burn pile.
  • Use disinfected tools and work with sanitized hands.

A Few Tips to Enhance Tomato Growth

Here are some of the key actions points to help your tomatoes grow better –

Mulching

  • Mulching is an important technique to restore soil moisture and warmth. It limits the evaporation from the soil.
  • For home gardeners, organic mulch is cost-effective and convenient. Newspaper and leaves, grass clippings, or straw are the best available mulch products in the market.
  • Mulching reduces the risk of weed growth and protects the plants from extreme sun and dry wind.
  • An extra mulch layer stabilizes the root and enhances the immunity of the tomato plant.

Check out this video on how to plant tomatoes in Kentucky-

Trellising

  • Trellis supports the tomato plants. It is easy and economical to assemble.
  • A row of wooden stakes is penetrated 8 to 12 inches deep into the soil. Keep enough gaps between the stakes to provide air ventilation to the plants.

Weeding

  • Weeds are very problematic for tomato plants. They compete for nutrients, food, and water with the plants.
  • Pruning the suckers and bottom leaves is the most effective solution to weeding.
  • The use of herbicides before transplantation might be a good answer to weeding problems.

Best Tomato Varieties of Kentucky

There are two kinds of tomato varieties- Determinate and Indeterminate.

The choice of variety is highly individualistic however; indeterminate varieties require more attention, care, and practices to get sustained. 

  • Resistant to Diseases – Plum Dandy and Plum Crimson.
  • Easy to Eat Varieties – Cherry type and grape tomatoes.
  • Heirloom Varieties – Cherokee Purple and Cour di Bue – Oxheart. 
  • Varieties Resistant to Early Blight diseases Mountain Fresh Plus, Plum Crimson, Plum Dandy, Plum Regal, and Matt’s Wild Cherry.

FAQ’s

When to harvest tomatoes in Kentucky?

Pick the tomatoes when they are pinkish. They must have a hint of firmness in them.
It takes four to five weeks for plants to ripen after the fruits have shown up.
Ripe the tomatoes inside at a temperature of 68 to 75 degrees F.

What factors affect the tomato plants the most?

Sunlight, Water, and Nutrients affect the quality and quantity the most. A healthy tomato plant requires direct sunlight of a minimum of eight to nine hours. A seedling demands twice the amount of light as a transplanted tomato plant.

The water requirements of a plant depend on the weather, humidity, and size of the plant. In case of enough rainfall, watering every week is sufficient. In areas with low rainfall, make sure the plant gets three to four inches of water every week. A seedling usually requires water from a spraying bottle. 

Enrich the soil with lots of organic matter, manure, and compost to improve the nutrient level of the soil.

Summary

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