If you’re unsure when to plant tomatoes in Kentucky, the best date would be from April to May. However, the days would vary depending on your area. For example, those in the west can plant on April 20, those in central Kentucky can start by May 5, and if you’re in the east, it should be around May 15.
According to the University of Kentucky, planting for early or late fall is even a very profitable practice. The state can provide the ideal growing conditions for tomatoes, but greenhouse production will lead to a more extended marketing season. Greenhouse farmers even extend the growing season of tomatoes in the greenhouse by doing a two-crop rotation.
More so, the greenhouse can prevent potential problems from the outdoor weather to ensure consistent and quality yield.
Definitive Guide On When To Plant Tomatoes In Kentucky
Tomatoes are annuals that require 8 hours of sunlight daily. It’s best to grow them in Kentucky from April to May because you want to avoid the danger of frost. If you’re not sure when ice will be over in your area, you can check your hardiness zone in addition to monitoring the fluctuating weather.
You already have an advantage in using a greenhouse because it will protect your crops from the freezing weather. Still, remember the planting dates and how they vary in every region of Kentucky. Those in the west get to start first on April 20, followed by central Kentucky on May 5, and eastern Kentucky on May 15.
You can also stagger planting by doing it in intervals until June ends to be ready until the beginning of October. If you want to get your plants fruiting as early as possible, you can use the greenhouse and cover the young plants with blankets at night. However, it’s safer to start in the mentioned planting dates to prevent any drawbacks, especially if you’re only starting with tomato production.
The safest date, in general, is early May for planting warm-season crops like tomatoes in Kentucky. You can also support your plants better by monitoring the greenhouse, including the ideal temperature for growing tomatoes. It would help to remember that if you used your hardiness zone for determining frost dates, it should only be a guide as the weather can be unpredictable.
Planting Tomatoes In Kentucky
After getting your planting date for Kentucky, the next step is to plan your tomato garden. Start by selecting the right cultivar, preparing the site, and doing all tomatoes’ maintenance requirements. Tomatoes is one of those crops that you’ll get better with experience, so learn from other gardeners and apply their techniques until you find your own.
To ensure the success of tomato production in Kentucky, you have to choose the cultivar suitable for your location. You might even have to check if you want to grow indeterminate or determinate varieties depending on the production style you want. More so, many heirlooms and hybrids also differ in characteristics.
In general, you want to consider the growth habit, earliness of harvest, and fruit traits when choosing a plant. If you prefer having bush varieties for your greenhouse, determinate tomatoes are suitable for you. On the contrary, indeterminate tomatoes are advantageous because they fruit for a more extended season.
Using a greenhouse saves you the trouble of facing potential problems from inconsistent temperatures and such. However, you must still choose a space in the greenhouse that is optimal for tomatoes’ growth. Tomatoes will thrive if they receive 8 hours of full sun, but it’s also crucial to monitor temperatures because this can affect their quality.
To solve this, get an early crop before extreme heat and a second crop after the harsh heat has passed. You might also want to check the quality of the soil because tomatoes are heavy feeders. The ground should be well-draining and fertile to support the plants from planting to growing.
Both granular and water-soluble fertilizer is suitable for tomatoes. As mentioned previously, the soil should also be nutrient-rich, so get it tested to make the nutrient level adjustments if needed. What about the water requirements of tomatoes?
You can water the plants once a week to keep the roots moist. The number of times can be more frequent, especially when the environment is drier than usual. And lastly, mulch your greenhouse to prevent weeds.
How do you get your tomatoes to set fruit? The environmental conditions help with ripening. However, you can pinch off the tips of the stems of your indeterminate tomatoes in early summer to encourage flowering.
Kentucky is an ideal state for growing tomatoes, and you can extend the growing and marketing season using a greenhouse. But do you know when to plant tomatoes in Kentucky for success? The ideal time is in early May, but those in the west can start by April 20.
You can also do an early crop before the extreme heat starts, and another crop after the intense heat has passed. Using a greenhouse, you can confidently maintain your tomatoes’ ideal conditions to support them from planting to harvesting. It can be daunting to learn about tomato production, but it is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding crops to grow.