Growing Tomatoes In Iowa: Everything You Need To Know

You want to grow tomatoes in Iowa in your garden or on your balcony and want to get some additional information and good tips and tricks so you can grow your tomatoes in the best possible manner?

Great! This article is for you since I will show you all aspects of growing tomatoes in Iowa so you will learn many specific details and will be able to apply this knowledge in your own garden.

Not only will you learn a lot about climatic conditions and what they mean for your tomato growing project in Iowa but you will also learn about optimal watering behavior and what pests and wild animals you may have to keep away from your plants.

After reading this article, you will be able to avoid many mistakes other people make when growing tomato plants in Iowa and may therefore get much better results.

Enough talk, let’s get to business!

Do tomatoes grow well in Iowa?

Even though climatic conditions in Iowa may not be really great for growing tomatoes since you will often have to daily with rather cool and rainy weather, you may still be able to grow tomatoes in Iowa in a decent manner as long as you choose the right tomato varieties mentioned later in this article.

How long does it take to grow tomatoes in Iowa?

Since you will often have to deal with cool climatic conditions early in the year, it may take you between 4 and 5 months to grow tomatoes in Iowa from seed to harvest while people growing tomatoes in California or other warmer regions will often be able to get the same results between 3 and 4 months.

How big do tomato plants grow in Iowa?

If you provide excellent growing conditions, your tomato plants may reach up to 7 feet in height and you may therefore get into trouble on your balcony since your plants may just not have enough space in the vertical and may also not get enough sun on some parts of your plants.

Can you expect great yields when growing tomatoes in Iowa?

If you care well for your plants, you will be able to get pretty decent tomato yields even though you might still be relatively new to gardening and the better you get, the higher your yields will typically be in the long run.

When to grow tomatoes in Iowa?

You should start growing tomato plants in Iowa outdoors as soon as you no longer expect spring frost.

This is usually between April and May in most regions of Iowa.

However, if you want to start growing tomatoes from seed indoors, you could start around March and raise healthy seedlings you could transplant outdoors later in the year.

Can you grow tomatoes in Iowa in winter?

You should not try growing tomatoes in Iowa in winter since winter months are pretty cold and you would therefore need a heated greenhouse with lots of equipment and artificial lighting to make your tomato growing project a real success and this would be pretty costly in terms of money you would have to spend on energy and also rather bad for our planet as well.

Can you grow tomatoes in Iowa multiple times per year?

Due to rather cold and long winters in Iowa, it may not be a great idea to grow tomatoes in this region outside of the main season and it may be a good idea to focus on one main batch of tomatoes you grow during the main season in late spring and summer so you can get the best results possible.

What tomato varieties grow best in Iowa?

For growing tomato plants in Iowa, you should choose varieties that are well-adapted to cool climatic conditions. I listed the most popular ones for you below:

  • Pixie Tomatoes
  • Mountain Pride Tomatoes
  • Supersonic Tomatoes
  • Early Girl Tomatoes
  • Siletz Tomatoes
  • Manitoba Tomatoes
  • Legend Tomatoes
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Celebrity Tomatoes
  • Glacier Tomatoes

Is it better to grow tomatoes in Iowa from seeds or seedlings?

Since winters in Iowa can be pretty long, you may have to wait with growing tomatoes from seed until late May and this may greatly prolong the overall growing cycle and you may have to wait with harvesting your tomato plants in September or even later.

Hence, it may make sense to grow tomatoes in Iowa from seedlings to shorten the growing period quite a bit.

Should you start growing tomatoes in Iowa indoors?

Due to rather cool weather, it may make sense to start growing tomatoes indoors if you want to grow them from seed so you will be able to grow healthy seedlings and can transplant them outdoors later in the year when you no longer expect spring frost anymore.

How to water tomato plants in Iowa?

While your plants are still young, you don’t have to water them more than a few times per week.

However, once your tomato plants get bigger and it also gets warmer outdoors, you may have to water your tomato plants in Iowa almost daily to avoid your plants will dry up sooner or later.

Do you have to protect tomatoes against the sun in Iowa?

Since your tomato plants in Iowa will often not get excessive amounts of sunlight since it rains quite a lot and clouds will often prevent the sun from shining on your plants, you don’t have to actively protect your tomato plants from the sun but can rather let them grow in a natural manner.

Will wild animals feed on tomatoes in Iowa?

There are a number of wild animals that may try feeding on your tomato plants in Iowa, including squirrels, foxes, voles and other hungry intruders that you may want to keep away by installing fences around your precious plants.

Tomato pests & plant diseases in Iowa

While thrips, stink bugs, snails and many other pests may try to feed on your tomato plants, there are still many easy ways regarding how to get rid of tomato pests and plant diseases.

When to harvest tomatoes in Iowa?

By starting to grow your tomato plants from seed indoors around March, you will usually be able to harvest the first tomatoes in late July or early August.

However, if you want to directly grow your tomato seeds outdoors, it may take you longer since you may have to wait with starting your growing project until May so your plants will not get exposed to frost anymore and you may not be able to harvest your plants before September or even October.

Additional Information for Growing Tomatoes at Home

I hope this article has been helpful to you and you now know most things you know to grow tomatoes in Iowa in a solid manner.

If you want to get even more information on growing tomatoes at home step-by-step, you should also have a look at my tomato grower’s guide.

Moreover, you may also want to check out my growing tomatoes FAQ section where you will get answers to all questions you might still have regarding growing tomatoes in general.


Own experience.

About the Author

My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my own plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.

In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.

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