Quick Answer: When to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri
Tomatoes in Missouri, for good harvest, require warm temperatures and soil temperatures above 60 degrees F. You should not plant your tomatoes in the early spring and fall seasons. The ideal season for tomato planting requires no frost for at least two weeks and the late spring season.
This is the ultimate guide on the ideal time and conditions for planting tomatoes in Missouri.
Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Missouri
Tomato is a warm-season crop that cannot withstand frost at any cost. During early spring and the last frost, tomatoes die due to harsh conditions.
In early fall, during the first frost of the year, tomatoes are not yet suitable for harvesting and, thus, can be exposed to frost if planted late.
To escape the adverse effect of frost, try planting your tomatoes in early May or late spring.
For your reference, I have given this table for average frost dates of northern, southern, eastern, and western Missouri.
Table: Frost Dates For Missouri
|City||First Frost Date||Last Frost Date|
|Warren||Oct 13||April 23|
|Mercer||Oct 8||April 24|
|Howell||Oct 12||April 23|
|Johnson||Oct 11||April 24|
According to the table, any day between May 1 – May 15 will be suitable for planting tomatoes outside and in any zone of Missouri.
The ideal soil for tomatoes in Missouri is deeply ploughed, loamy soil. The pH should be between 6.2 and 6.8 and should not have a temperature below 50 degrees F.
Add plenty of compost or manure to your garden soil. It improves the water-retaining capacity of the soil.
Tomato plants should be planted away from shade to ensure direct sunshine. Avoid big trees, houses, etc., to provide maximum sunlight to your tomato plants.
Gently watering the plants through hands works best for home gardeners. It provides a sufficient amount of water to plants and keeps a check on soil-borne diseases.
A healthy tomato plant should get 1-2 inches of water a week.
How to Take Care of Tomatoes in Missouri
The prime reason that significantly reduces the tomato yield is ‘Frost.’
Always check for the start and the last frost dates in your area, and plant your tomatoes almost ten days after the end of the last frost.
In Missouri, any date in early May is suitable for planting tomatoes outside.
- To obtain a good yield of your tomatoes and harvest them before the onset of the first frost, one can choose mulching for their tomato plants.
- Sow your seeds inside in a properly ventilated space during mid-march. Your plant should get proper sunlight. Instead of transplanting them directly outside, try acclimating them inside-out during mid-April.
- Mulching reduces the risk of disease spread and prevents water splashing. Hay, straw, and leaves can be used effectively as organic mulch. They are easily accessible, eco-friendly, decomposable, and budget-friendly.
A thick layer of hay, straw, and leaves nourishes the soil because of their decomposition property. This type of mulching will help in weed control.
Tomato Cultivar selection for Missouri
For home gardeners, determinate varieties are suitable. They are easy to care and most fruits mature over a two or three-week period. Determinate varieties are shorter, bushier, and more compact.
A determinate hybrid tolerates both heat and dry conditions. Celebrity can ripen within 57 days while early girl ripens in less than 60 days.
Always opt for tomato variety that matures and ripens in less than 50 days.
Prepare your soil with good water holding capacity, organic matter, moderate temperature and neutral soil pH, a month before sowing your seeds.
Provide extra care to your tomato plants by providing extra layer of mulch and fertilizer.
It is ideal to choose an area that can hold the maximum amount of water and is weed-free.
Pots provide relatively lesser area and less water-holding capacity to soil and thus, your tomato plant can lack nutrients
Use mulching to avoid weed and insect growth in your soil. Apply two to four inches thick organic mulch in your soil. Hay, straw, grass clippings, paper, compost or plastic can be used as organic mulches for tomatoes.
A fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium and low in nitrogen works effectively for tomato plants in Missouri
I hope you found this article helpful in understanding when you should plant your tomatoes in Missouri.
If you have any additional tips or experiences to share, please feel free to leave a comment.
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