Skip to Content

When To Plant Tomatoes In Iowa? 5 Important Points!

Sharing is caring!

Tomatoes are considered easy-to-grow crops that are simple to manage if planted in appropriate soil. Planting time and yield, on the other hand, are determined by zones.

If you live in Iowa, for example, you should be aware that you are in zone 5. As a result, you’ll only obtain a large tomato output if you timed your planting to coincide with the optimum season—between the first and last frost dates.

The answer to when to plant tomatoes in Iowa lies in this article.

When To Plant Tomatoes In Iowa 1
Tomato plant – via Wikimedia

When To Plant Tomatoes In Iowa?

If you’ve got the timing down accurately. All that is left is to comprehend the ramifications of planting the tomato seedling outside at the incorrect time. Furthermore, timing indoor seed sowing is crucial, as is understanding how the two tomato kinds behave. We’ll take a look at that further down.

Iowa is located in USDA Zone 5 according to USDA zones. The first and final frost dates of zone 5 determine when tomatoes can be grown in this area. Growing tomatoes in Iowa will be well-timed in this aspect if done in the late spring. From May to June 18th, this will be the case.

Tomatoes cannot tolerate frost or temperatures below 49 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore they must be planted at the right time in Iowa. They will die if you plant them too early. Their fruition, on the other hand, will be cut short by the first frost in the fall if they are planted too late.

As a result, you must carefully assess the weather in Iowa, particularly during the spring season.

In Iowa, you can plant your tomatoes outside if there hasn’t been any frost for 14 days. But still, Mother Nature may have a few more tricks up her sleeve! That is, the last frost appears later or earlier than usual. So, before you take your tomatoes outside, make sure the weather is appropriate.

Whether you’re growing an indeterminate or determinate tomato, you may expect seedlings to emerge in about 45–55 days. It’s best to start growing them indoors and then move them outside when the weather warms up.

The best timing to start them indoors is usually determined by the last average frost date. You must then subtract 55 to 60 days from the total. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the Iowa weather forecast.

Furthermore, the ideal method for getting your tomatoes outside is to expose them to the elements for an hour while they are still rooted in pots. Increase the number of days they spend outside after that. Do so with a few numbers, but if they do well, you can transfer the rest of the seedlings.

When To Plant Tomatoes In Iowa 2
Swell Tomatoes – via Flickr

How The Tomatoes Should Be Planted

Tomatoes grow in deep, loamy, and well-drained soils. They flourish in mildly acidic environments with pH ranging from 6.0 to 6.8, although they can also live in slightly alkaline environments.

Tomatoes need a minimum of 6 hours of total sun exposure per day to provide the best harvest. People who don’t own a yard can plant determinate tomato types like “Celebrity” and “Patio Hybrid” in large 3- to 5-gallon pots.

The growth behavior of the cultivar and the garden plan dictate tomato spacing. Within a row, staggered indeterminate cultivars can be planted at 1.5 to 2-foot intervals. Tomatoes should be spaced 2-3 feet apart in wire cages.

Tomatoes that have been allowed to spread should be spaced 3-4 feet apart. Between rows, there should be roughly 4.5 feet between them. Determinate tomatoes should be planted in rows 4 feet apart, with 1.5 to 2 feet between each tomato.

What Do Determinate And Indeterminate Tomatoes Mean?

The names refer to the ways in which tomatoes grow. They have a reputation for being small and compact. The plants reach a certain height, then stop growing, blossom, and bear fruit for a short time.

After a month and a half, a determinate tomato is ready to harvest. Up until the first frost, an indeterminate tomato will continue to grow, blossom, and give fruit.

As a result, harvesting indeterminate types takes three months on average. Although they mature slowly, harvests are generally higher than with determinate varieties. They’re massive, spreading plants that do well in mesh cages or stalked gardens.

Appropriate Planting Sites

Tomatoes thrive on soils that are rich and well-drained. Heavy clay soils and poorly drained areas should be avoided. Tomatoes require about six hours of direct sunlight per day to provide their optimum harvests. Plant tomatoes in a new position in the garden each year to avoid early blight, Septoria leaf spot, and other foliar diseases.

Keep in mind to not plant tomatoes in the same place for three or four years, if at all possible. Tomatoes can be grown in large four- to five-gallon containers if you don’t have access to a garden. Place the containers on a patio or deck that gets plenty of sun.

Watering Routine For Tomatoes

When tomatoes are planted directly in the ground, their roots can reach deep into the soil in search of water. Water newly planted tomatoes thoroughly to keep the soil moist and conducive to growth.

Watering plants every morning early in the growing season is a good routine. You may need to water tomato plants twice a day when the weather rises. Garden tomatoes require 1-2 inches of water per week on average.

Container-grown tomatoes require more water than garden tomatoes. The soil in containers heats up more quickly, resulting in higher water evaporation.

Water containers until water runs freely from the bottom, which is a decent rule of thumb. Water first thing in the morning, then check the soil moisture levels again later in the day. It’s time to water again once the soil feels dry, approximately 1 inch below the surface.


So, now if anyone asks you, “When to plant tomatoes?” I hope you are better able to answer that question.

Keep on reading our articles for more tips and tricks!