When should I plant tomatoes in Ohio?

When to plant tomatoes in Ohio – Before we get to the timing of planting tomatoes in Ohio, I thought I would share with you some interesting health benefit facts about tomatoes. 


Health Benefits of Tomatoes

A single, medium-size tomato merely packs 35 calories. Not much at all. 

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C. They also have small amounts of vitamin B as well as potassium. 

Tomatoes possess nine varying carotenoids, lycopene and beta-carotene inclusive. Scientists believe carotenoids to have a variety of health benefits: Reduce risk of cancer developing, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce risk of macular degeneration (distortion or complete loss of central vision).

Plenty of research has been carried out on lycopene. Most of the lycopene we consume (around 80-90% of it) comes from tomatoes. Lycopene is the ‘stuff’ that causes tomatoes to be red in color. Lycopene is absorbed better in humans when the tomatoes are processed as opposed to when tomatoes are fresh. That’s one of the reasons that tomato sauce is said to be healthy.



Planting tomatoes in Ohio
When should you plant tomatoes in Ohio?



When to Plant Tomatoes in Ohio

The state of Ohio is nicely suited to tomato production. At one time, in the not-too-distant past, Ohio was ranked no. 2 in terms of tomato processing states. 

Since tomatoes are warm-season crops you should plant your tomatoes once any danger of frost is well and truly gone. Well, either that or you can protect your tomatoes against potential frost damage. Bit of a hassle but can be achieved. 

In central Ohio, relatively typically, the date for planting tomatoes is around May 20. 

In northern Ohio, you can safely move that date to a week later – towards end of May. 

In the south of Ohio, a week earlier should be fine – around May 13.

Keep in mind that the dates given do not mean there is 100% guarantee that no frost will occur. There is, of course, still a chance. 

The following table lists approximate first and last frost dates for various cities in Ohio. Note that the dates provide a probability of 30 percent. Frost dates are averaged from 30 years of data (1981-2010).


Frost Dates In Ohio by CityFrost dates in Cleveland, Ohio

Tap the chart to enlarge




Tomato plants are particularly sensitive to night temperatures that are very low. They also do not take kindly to temperatures that are extremely high. 

In Ohio, during the early springtime, if temperatures are on the high side during the day in combination with low nighttime temperatures (55 degrees F), blossom drop can be a problem. 

It’s a phenomenon that can also occur throughout the summer months in Ohio when daytime temperatures rise above 90 degrees and nighttime temperatures are around 75 degrees.

Smaller-sized tomatoes such as grape and cherry tomatoes do better at handling high temperatures and high humidities than larger-sized tomatoes. Just something you may wish to keep in mind if you do have problems with your own tomato crops.



What are the Best Tomato Varieties for Ohio?

There are very many tomato varieties that do well in Ohio. I’ve listed just a few of the best ones. All fruit is red colored unless otherwise stated:


Best Hybrid Tomatoes for Ohio

Bush steak


Sweet Million

Sweet 100

Golden Boy (yellow fruit)


Jet Star

Sungold (golden orange)

Pink Red

Yellow Pear (yellow fruit)

Better Boy

Bush Steak

Small Fry

Early Girl


Lemon Boy (yellow fruit)


What's the best time to plant tomatoes in Ohio


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