Growing Tomatoes in Minnesota – When to Plant Tomatoes in Minnesota?


Growing tomatoes in Minnesota – It’s common knowledge that no matter where you are you should not transplant (plant larger-sized and more mature tomato seedlings) tomatoes before all threat of frost has well and truly gone. Well, either that, or if you to transplant early, make sure your transplants/ small tomato plants have frost protection.

Generally, in Minnesota, the last frosts occur between May 5 and May 30.

But there’s also another cold-related factor at work: If you plant tomato transplants too soon they’ll be sitting outside in cold weather. And it’s a well-known fact that tomato plants do NOT like cold temperatures.

If it’s not only cold but also damp there’s a heightened opportunity for fungal diseases (in particular) setting in.

As such, it’s good policy to wait. Wait until the daytime temperature where you are is no less than 60 F. Wait until the nighttime temperature where you are does not drop below 50 degrees F.

If you prefer to measure soil temperature as a planting time indicator, for tomatoes, the soil temperature should be into the 60s while at night the temps should not be anything below 50 F.

There are folks that stick – in strict accord – to calendar events in terms of when they plant their tomatoes.

Many opt for Mother’s Day as the key date to plant (or thereabouts).

However, for tomatoes, Memorial Day is a safer bet than Mother’s Day.



How to Plant Your Tomatoes

Rather than ‘writing you through’ the process of how to plant tomatoes, it’s a better idea to show you a video as a guide to planting your tomatoes. It’s a very similar process for almost all types of tomatoes – San Marzino, Golden Boy, Campari tomatoes, and many more.


How to Plant Tomatoes


How Much Water to Give Tomatoes

Again, it’s pertinent with regards to how much water to give your tomatoes to show you a video as opposed to writing about specific quantities.


 How much water do tomatoes need?



Fertilizing Tomatoes, Tomato Pests, and Diseases

The following video covers tomato plant fertilizing, tomato plant pests and diseases, as well as offering a few tips about tomato planting, pruning, staking, watering. Plus, there’s a neat tip about using aspirin to heighten your tomato plants’ immunity to a variety of tomato diseases.


Tomato Varieties that Grow Well in Minnesota

Growing tomatoes in Minnesota – Finally, let’s talk tomato varieties. And of course, here it’s about tomato varieties that grow well in Minnesota. 

Most Minnesotan gardeners will likely tell you that most tomato varieties that do well throughout the US will do well in MN. Nevertheless, to help narrow things down, here are a bunch of tomato varieties that have a reputation for growing well in MN.



Heirloom and Open-Pollinated Tomatoes That Grow Well in Minnesota


Read: What is an heirloom tomato?


Amish Paste: Indeterminate. Some folks say Amish Paste is better than Roma. Amish Paste is larger than Roma cherry. Flavor is good on a consistent basis. Don’t crowd your plants as this will reduce fruit size. As the name suggests, Amish Paste tomatoes are fantastic for sauces.


Read: What is an indeterminate tomato plant? What is a determinate tomato plant?


Black Cherry: Indeterminate. Cherry tomato that has a complex flavor and a ‘dusky’ color. The fruit is very flavorful. Ripens slowly until the first frosts but it’s certainly worthy of the wait. Leave the fruit on the vine until it’s completely ripe (dark in color) for best flavor. 


Brandywine: Indeterminate. Beefsteak fruits (weigh approximately 1lb per fruit) are large, pink in color, and meaty. Flavor is balanced but with hints of tartness. Brandywine tends to prefer cooler temperatures for ripening. 


Cosmonaut Volkov: Indeterminate. A productive plant, sturdy in nature, and fruits have very lovely flavor. Fruits are globe-shaped 8-12 oz each. Fruits ripen around beginning of August and show a slight greenness towards the top even when fully ripe.


Golden Jubilee: Indeterminate. All-American Selection Winner. Fruit is globe-shaped and around 8 oz in weight. Smooth-textured. For larger fruit be sure to prune the plant. Won All-American Selection award in 1943.


Goldie: Indeterminate. Beefsteak, deep orange color, averages around 16-20 oz. Flavor is rich and fruit has a lovely velvety texture. Harvest when there’s a very distinctive rosy blush towards the base of the fruit. Ideal for sauces and soups and great for freezing. 


Indigo™ Blueberries: Indeterminate. Cherry tomato that grows amethyst purple fruits which ripen to black. Excellent flavor. 


Old German: Indeterminate. Ribbed shoulder of the fruit is variable. Fruit color is yellow with pinky-red stripe. Lovely flavor and smooth texture. The plant is said to come from 1800s Mennonites of Virginia. 


Opalka Paste: Indeterminate. Opalka Paste produces plentiful yields of very large bull-horn shaped red-colored fruits. Fruits have few seeds and a dry texture. The foliage is crinkly but this is normal. Fruit dries well. 


Pink Bumble Bee: Indeterminate. Round, pink-colored cherry tomatoes with yellow and orange striping. Lovely sweet flavor. 


Sunrise Bumble Bee: Indeterminate. Cherry tomato which is yellow and round with an interior that is marbled pink. The combination of yellow with red on the outside and the inside is very attractive. Flavor is beautiful – sweet and tangy. 


San Marzano: Indeterminate. Among the all-time favorites. Italian Roma type and is late to mature. Fruits hang in sizeable clusters. Fruits measure approximately 3-4 inches in length. Ideal for canning because of the solid fruit content. Great for storing and also hold well on the vine. 


Yellow Pear: Determinate. Around three dozen tomatoes on each plant are produced. Fruits are sweet, around 1 oz each. Yellow Pear tomatoes are almost twice the size of typical pear tomatoes. Crack-resistant fruit. 



Hybrid Tomatoes that Grow Well in Minnesota

Growing tomatoes in Minnesota

Amelia: Determinate. Though it’s determinate, Amelia tomato plants still need to be staked and pruned. Amelia is resistant to spotted wilt virus. The plant produces fruits that are large or extra-large. Fruit is uniformly red, high tolerance to cracking, and nicely firm when ripe. 


Better Boy: Indeterminate. Outstanding hybrid tomato and popular among gardeners around the world. Fruit yields are heavy. Fruit is red and globe-shaped. Has an excellent flavor. 


Big Beef: Indeterminate. All-American Selection Winner. Fruits are very flavorful around 10-12 oz each. Best to stake or cage the plant. 


Celebrity: Determinate. All-American Selection Winner. Nice flavor medium to large-sized fruit which weighs 7-8 oz. Globe-shaped, firm, and red. Ripens midseason. 


Early Girl: Indeterminate. Early Girl is a tomato that can be relied upon to produce the goods year upon year. For many people, they would tell you that there is no better-tasting, no faster-growing tomato than Early Girl. Massive crops, fruits 4-6 oz. Perfect for canning. 


Golden Rave: Indeterminate. Baby Roma is golden yellow and has an excellent sweet flavor. Fruit yields are high, small-sized fruit of around 2 oz. Perfect for eating fresh or for cooking. 


Jet Star: Indeterminate. The fruit is globe-shaped, around 7-8 oz, and typically cosmetically ‘perfect’. Excellent flavor. Fruit almost never cracks or scars. This fruit has a low acid content. If canning, it’s advisable to add lemon juice.


Juliet: Indeterminate. All-American Selection Winner. Grape, plum-shaped fruit is very small at only 1-2 oz. Per plant, you can safely expect 50-80 fruits. Ideal for fresh sauces. Holds on the vine for anything up to two weeks. Relatively invulnerable to damage from slugs and insects. Crack-resistant. 


Mountain Majesty: Determinate. Large and vigorous determinate. Red, firm, globe-shaped, extra-large fruit. Ideal for growing in the greenhouse. 


New Girl: Indeterminate. Very early season fruit with excellent flavor. Average fruit size 4-6 oz. More disease-resistant and better flavor than Early Girl. 


Primo Red: Determinate. Early maturing fruit, extra-large, globe-shaped with nice deep-red coloration and good level of firmness. Plants are compact.


Red Bounty: Semi-determinate. Advisable not to prune. Demonstrates resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus. Uniform, globe-shaped fruit with deep-red coloring and excellent eating quality. Ideal for greenhouse production.


Red Deuce: Determinate. Fruits are large or extra-large and have excellent eating quality. Fruits globe-shaped. Plant must be staked. Good for growing in the greenhouse. 


Sun Gold Cherry: Indeterminate. Cherry fruit, small but prolific, tangerine-orange in color, very sweet flavor. Fruits ripen very early and produce until first frost. Pick early should rain be forecast is the fruits are prone to splitting. 


Super Sweet 100: Indeterminate. A classic red, sweet-tasting tomato. Fruits are produced in large clusters – fruit approx. 1 inch round. Ought to be staked. 


Valley Girl: Determinate. Regardless cold or hot still sets fruit. Plant very productive. Fruits nicely flavorful. Matures early. Red fruit 7-8 oz and globe-shaped. Fruit crack tolerant, smooth, and firm. 


How do I grow tomatoes in Minnesota
How to grow tomatoes in Minnesota


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