Best Tomatoes to Grow in Iowa: Top Picks for Your Garden

When it comes to growing tomatoes in Iowa, choosing the right variety can make all the difference. With so many different types of tomatoes available, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you find the best tomatoes to grow in Iowa.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, our top picks for Iowa gardens will help you grow tomatoes that are juicy, flavorful, and abundant. From disease-resistant varieties to heirloom favorites, we’ve got you covered.

So, let’s dive in and discover the best tomatoes to grow in Iowa.

Tomato Varieties for Iowa’s Climate

When it comes to tomato cultivation in Iowa, selecting the right varieties is crucial for a bountiful harvest. Here are our top recommendations for tomato varieties that thrive in Iowa’s climate:

Tomato Variety Weight Flavor Profile
Celebrity 8-12 oz Well-balanced, juicy
Early Girl 4-8 oz Tangy, early-maturing
Cherokee Purple 12-16 oz Sweet, smoky, complex flavor

These tomato varieties have proven to be the most successful in Iowa’s climate, offering excellent flavor and high yields. Additionally, they are disease-resistant and can tolerate temperature fluctuations, making them ideal for Iowa’s unpredictable weather conditions.

Tomato Varieties for Iowa’s Climate

For those who prefer a smaller tomato variety, cherry tomatoes are an excellent option for Iowa’s gardens. Here are some of the best cherry tomato varieties:

  • Sun Gold: Sweet, flavorful, and prolific
  • Black Cherry: Rich, complex flavor and high yields
  • Yellow Pear: Mild, sweet flavor and unique shape

No matter which tomato variety you choose to grow, it is important to ensure that the plants receive plenty of sun and adequate water. With the right care and attention, your tomato garden can provide a bountiful harvest that will last throughout the season.

High-Yield Tomatoes for Iowa’s Gardens

When it comes to growing tomatoes in Iowa, gardeners want to ensure they get the most out of their efforts. High-yield tomato varieties are the perfect solution for those seeking a bountiful harvest.

One top pick for Iowa’s gardens is the Celebrity tomato, known for its high productivity and disease resistance. This variety produces medium-sized fruit with a sweet and juicy flavor, perfect for salads or sandwiches.

Tomato Variety Description
Roma Great for canning and making sauces
Big Beef Produces large juicy fruits, perfect for slicing
Cherokee Purple An heirloom variety with a unique flavor and a beautiful deep purple color

The Roma tomato is another excellent option for Iowa’s gardens, as it is ideal for canning and making sauces. This variety produces a large amount of fruit per plant and has a dense flesh that is perfect for cooking.

Big Beef is a beefsteak tomato that produces large, juicy fruits that are perfect for slicing and adding to sandwiches. This variety is highly productive and resistant to many tomato diseases, making it a great choice for Iowa gardeners.

Finally, the Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato is a beautiful addition to any garden. This variety has a unique flavor and a stunning deep purple color that adds a pop of color to any dish.

Disease-Resistant Tomatoes for Iowa’s Conditions

Tomato diseases can be a major problem in Iowa’s climate, including blight, bacterial spot, and verticillium wilt. However, some tomato varieties have natural resistance to these diseases, making them ideal choices for Iowa gardeners.

Resistant Varieties

Some of the most popular disease-resistant tomato varieties for Iowa include:

Variety Diseases Resistant To
Mountain Magic Blight, leaf mold, powdery mildew
Defiant Blight, verticillium wilt
Iron Lady Bacterial spot, early blight, late blight

While these varieties are not completely immune to disease, they are more resistant than other varieties, providing better chances of a successful harvest.

Growing Tips

Along with choosing disease-resistant varieties, there are other steps you can take to prevent tomato diseases in your garden:

  • Rotate crops: Avoid planting tomatoes in the same soil for at least three years to prevent soil-borne diseases from building up.
  • Avoid overhead watering: Water at the base of the plant to prevent splash-back of soil-borne diseases onto the leaves.
  • Use mulch: Mulching around the base of tomato plants helps prevent soil-borne diseases from splashing onto the foliage.

“Choosing disease-resistant varieties and taking preventative steps can help ensure a healthy tomato crop in your Iowa garden.”

Heirloom Tomatoes: Traditional Favorites in Iowa

While many gardeners opt for modern tomato varieties, heirloom tomatoes offer a charm and taste that cannot be beaten. Iowa gardeners have a variety of heirloom tomatoes to choose from, each with its unique flavor and texture.


The Brandywine tomato is a favorite heirloom variety among Iowa gardeners. This pink beefsteak tomato has a sweet, rich flavor and a slightly mealy texture. It is a large tomato that can weigh up to two pounds, making it perfect for sandwiches or slicing for salads.

Cherokee Purple

The Cherokee Purple tomato is a beautiful heirloom variety with a deep purple color and a slightly sweet, smoky flavor. Its texture is meaty and dense, making it perfect for slicing for sandwiches or grilling.

Green Zebra

The Green Zebra tomato is a unique heirloom variety with a green and yellow-striped skin and a tart, zesty flavor. Its flesh is firm and juicy, making it perfect for salads or garnishes. It is also an early-season tomato, making it an excellent choice for Iowa’s short growing season.

These heirloom tomatoes are just a few of the many varieties that Iowa gardeners can choose from. They offer a taste of tradition and a unique flavor that cannot be matched by modern hybrids. Give them a try in your garden for a taste of Iowa’s rich tomato history.

Best Cherry Tomatoes for Iowa’s Gardens

Cherry tomatoes are a popular variety among gardeners due to their sweet flavor and small size, making them great for snacking, salads, and sauces. Check out these top picks for the best cherry tomatoes to grow in Iowa.

Tomato Variety Description
Sun Gold This orange cherry tomato is known for its incredible sweetness and high yield, making it a favorite for Iowa gardeners.
Juliet With a sweet flavor and elongated shape, Juliet tomatoes are perfect for skewers and salads. They are also resistant to common tomato diseases.
Black Cherry These bite-sized, dark-red tomatoes have a rich flavor and unique color, making them a standout in any dish.

When growing cherry tomatoes, make sure to provide adequate support for their sprawling vines and water regularly to ensure even moisture levels. Pruning may also be necessary to promote fruit production and airflow. Enjoy the sweet taste of these cherry tomatoes all summer long!

Growing Tips for Tomatoes in Iowa

Growing tomatoes in Iowa requires some specific attention to detail to ensure a successful harvest. Here are some tips and advice to help you grow the best tomato plants in Iowa:

  1. Soil preparation: Tomato plants require well-draining soil with a pH between 6.2 and 6.8. Consider adding organic matter to your soil to improve its quality, and avoid planting in areas with poor drainage.
  2. Planting: In Iowa, tomato plants can be started indoors six to eight weeks before the last expected frost date. When planting outdoors, place plants 2-3 feet apart in rows 3-4 feet apart. Ensure that the root ball is buried deep enough to cover the stem up to the first set of leaves.
  3. Watering: Regular watering is crucial for healthy tomato plants. Water deeply and regularly, ensuring that the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  4. Fertilizing: Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer at planting time and again two weeks later. After the first fruit sets, switch to a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  5. Pruning: Remove all the suckers that grow between the main stem and branches of your tomato plants. This will help increase air circulation and promote fruit production.
  6. Staking: Staking your tomato plants will help keep them upright and reduce the risk of disease. Use a sturdy stake and tie the plant to it loosely with soft twine.
  7. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of your tomato plants to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to growing healthy, productive tomato plants in Iowa. Happy gardening!

Harvesting and Storing Tomatoes in Iowa

Knowing when and how to harvest tomatoes is crucial to ensure the best quality and flavor. In Iowa, tomatoes are typically harvested from mid-July to mid-September, depending on the variety grown and the weather conditions.

It’s important to wait until the tomatoes are fully ripe before harvesting them. Look for a deep, rich color and a slightly soft texture when gently squeezed. If the tomatoes are still firm, leave them on the vine for a few more days to ripen further.

When harvesting tomatoes, use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stem at the point where it connects to the vine. Avoid pulling or twisting the tomatoes as this can damage the stem and affect the quality of the fruit.

Once harvested, store the tomatoes in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or in airtight containers as this can cause them to spoil quickly. If you have a large harvest, consider canning, freezing, or drying some of the tomatoes to preserve them for later use.

Overall, harvesting and storing tomatoes requires a bit of patience and care, but the delicious taste of fresh, homegrown tomatoes is definitely worth it.


Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to get started on planting your very own tomato garden. With so many great varieties to choose from, including some that are perfect for Iowa’s climate, you’re sure to have a bountiful harvest of delicious tomatoes.

Remember to use the right soil, water your plants regularly, and keep an eye out for any common pests and diseases. By following our growing tips and harvesting guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy your homegrown tomatoes for months to come.

Whether you prefer the classic flavor of heirloom varieties or the sweetness of cherry tomatoes, there’s a perfect tomato for every Iowa gardener. So why wait? Start planning your tomato garden today and experience the joy of growing your own food.


Q: What are the best tomatoes to grow in Iowa?

A: The top picks for Iowa gardens include varieties such as Beefsteak, Early Girl, and Celebrity.

Q: Which tomato varieties are recommended for Iowa’s climate?

A: Tomato varieties that thrive in Iowa’s climate include Brandywine, Better Boy, and Roma.

Q: What are some high-yield tomato varieties for Iowa’s gardens?

A: High-yield tomato varieties that are ideal for Iowa gardens include Big Boy, Cherokee Purple, and Lemon Boy.

Q: Are there disease-resistant tomato varieties for Iowa’s conditions?

A: Yes, some disease-resistant tomato varieties recommended for Iowa include Defiant, Mountain Merit, and Iron Lady.

Q: What are some popular heirloom tomatoes for Iowa gardeners?

A: Popular heirloom tomato varieties in Iowa include Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and Green Zebra.

Q: Which cherry tomatoes are best for Iowa’s gardens?

A: The best cherry tomato varieties for Iowa’s gardens include Sweet Million, Sun Gold, and Supersweet 100.

Q: What are some growing tips for tomatoes in Iowa?

A: Valuable tips for growing tomatoes in Iowa include preparing the soil with compost, providing adequate watering, and regular maintenance such as pruning and staking.

Q: When and how should I harvest and store tomatoes in Iowa?

A: Tomatoes should be harvested when they are fully ripe. For storing tomatoes, keep them at room temperature until they reach the desired level of ripeness, then move them to a cool place, ideally around 55°F to 70°F, to extend their freshness.