When to Plant Tomatoes in Michigan?

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Quick Answer: When to Plant Tomatoes in Michigan

The times of planting tomatoes indoors and outdoors are different for distinct regions of Michigan. Indoors, for sowing seeds, March / April, which is seven to eight weeks before the last frost is suitable for seeds; and for outdoors, for transplanting, May / June, two to three weeks after the last frost is good for transplanting.

This is a detailed guide to help you plant tomatoes in Michigan. 

Let us get started!

Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Michigan

One of the key factors which determine when to plant tomatoes is frost dates in Michigan.

Frost dates are important to know for planting tomatoes because they can help determine the best time to plant.

If you plant too early, the plants may not have enough time to mature before the first frost and could be damaged or killed.

If you plant too late, the plants may not have enough time to produce fruit before the first frost.

The average frost dates recorded in Michigan are –

  • First Frost – October
  • Last Frost – April end- May Start [Some regions record the last frost in June] 

Here is a quick table about frost dates in Michigan –

Table: Frost Dates For Michigan

CityFirst Frost DateLast Frost Date
TroyOctober 7May 5
West OliveOctober 7May 7
WhittakerOctober 5May 9
White PineSeptember 16June 6

Guidelines for Sowing Tomato Seeds

Sow the seeds six to eight weeks before the expected last frost. According to the frost table above, March and April are good months for sowing the seeds. 

Prepare the soil for tomato seeds in February. 

Test the soil structure and soil pH before sowing the seeds preferably, ten days before the indoor planting.

Guidelines for Transplanting Tomato Plant in Garden

Transplant the well-grown tomato plants in the garden at least fifteen days or two weeks after the last frost in your area. 

Cities experiencing the last frost starting the week of May can transplant them in mid-May. While the cities with the last frost in June, June-end is suitable.

Basic Weather Requirements for Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes need sunlight for seven to eight hours per day.
  • Tomato requires moderate water for optimum growth. 1 to 2 inches of water per week is necessary for good growth. 
  • The daytime temperature should not fall below 70 degrees F and should not rise above 80 degrees F.
  • The nighttime temperature should be around 65 degrees F.

How to Take Care of Tomatoes in Michigan

Protecting the tomatoes during their growth is the most crucial thing a gardener should do. From selecting the right tomato seeds to fruit harvesting, one must be very precautious about every little step.

Best Tomatoes varieties for Michigan

The most preferred types of Tomatoes are all-purpose tomatoes, early varieties, late varieties, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, paste, and giant tomatoes. 

The choice between a determinate and indeterminate variety of tomato is always individualistic however, one should always choose tomato variety giving resistance to most diseases. 

Some best-recommended tomato varieties are –

Some best-recommended tomato varieties are –

  • Beef Steak
  • Roma
  • Cherry
  • Grape
  • Green Zebra
  • Amish Paste
  • Black Krim
  • Celebrity

Take the maximum time selecting a variety you aim to plant in the garden.

Buying Best Seeds and Seeding Care

A tomato plant flourishes when the seeds are nurtured in the right way. 

  • Consider pre-treated seeds.
  • Sow the seeds at least ¼ inch deep, roughly 1 inch apart in a tray with evenly prepared soil mix.
  • Sow the seeds in a tray with a hole for air circulation.
  • Young seedlings do not demand much water so; spray water on the seed using a spray bottle.
  • Seedlings germinate under the light
  • Enrich the soil with fertilizer rich in Nitrogen and lots of organic matter.
  • Keep the seedlings moist and warm.
  • Maintain a soil temperature of 60-70 degrees F for seeds.
  • Prepare a soil mix of finer medium with uniform moisture. The mixture should be weed-free.
  • The seedlings should be kept well ventilated.

Check out this video for Spring garden of tomatoes-

How To Take Care of Transplants

  • Prepare a compost pile before transplanting tomatoes outside and supplement it with organic matter.
  • Transplant the tomatoes in a sunny location.
  • Plant the plants deep in the soil.
  • Construct raised beds of 8 to 9 inches above the topsoil. 
  • Improve the drainage system of the garden soil. 
  • Water your plants every third day, if your area does not experience enough rainfall.
  • Provide your plants with two or three inches of water every week for a good root system.
  • Monitor the plants for weeds, disease, and soil temperature.
  • The ideal spacing between two plants should be 24 inches to 36 inches.
  • Mulch for keeping the soil weed-free.


What planting zone is Michigan?

Michigan is 4a in the western Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, to 6b in the southeast and along the Lake Michigan lakeshore. East Lansing, Michigan is in zone 5b (-10 to -15 F). 

How tall should tomato plants be before planting outside?

A tomato plant should be 3 to 4 inches tall before outside planting.

Is August sun beneficial to the tomato plants?

No, August experiences scorching heat and sunlight, therefore plants should be protected from the sun rays of August. You can either cover the plants or keep them inside during extreme high temperatures.

In the End

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