Best Tomatoes for Colorado: Top Varieties to Grow & Enjoy

Have you been looking to grow your own tomatoes in Colorado but are unsure of the best varieties to choose? It’s important to choose tomato varieties that are specifically suited for this region’s unique climate. Luckily, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will provide an overview of the climate in Colorado and highlight the top tomato varieties that are known to thrive here. We’ll also provide practical tips for growing and caring for your tomato plants, as well as ways to enjoy your harvest through the extended season. So, read on to discover the best tomatoes for Colorado and get ready to enjoy fresh, juicy tomatoes straight from your own garden!

Understanding Colorado’s Climate for Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a popular crop in Colorado, but the state’s unique climate can present some challenges. Understanding the climate conditions in Colorado is essential for successful tomato growth.

The Challenges of Growing Tomatoes in Colorado

Colorado’s high altitude and unpredictable weather can be challenging for tomato plants. The state is known for its sunny days and chilly nights, which can cause temperature fluctuations that stress tomato plants. Additionally, hailstorms and heavy precipitation during the growing season can impact plant growth.

The Advantages of Growing Tomatoes in Colorado

Despite these challenges, Colorado’s climate offers some advantages for tomato growers. The dry air and low humidity help prevent fungal diseases that can damage tomato plants. In addition, the state’s intense sunlight can lead to sweeter and more flavorful tomatoes.

The Suitable Growing Seasons for Tomatoes in Colorado

In Colorado, the best time to plant tomatoes is typically after the last frost date, which varies by location but generally falls between mid-May and early June. Tomatoes can be grown in both spring and fall if proper care is taken to protect plants from frost.

Recommended Tomato Varieties for Colorado

Choosing the right tomato varieties for Colorado is crucial to ensure successful growth. Here are some of the top varieties that have been known to thrive in Colorado’s unique climate:

Variety Description
Early Girl An early-maturing variety that produces medium-sized tomatoes with a sweet, tangy flavor. It is a determinate type that is ideal for container gardening.
Celebrity A determinate variety that produces meaty tomatoes that are resistant to cracking and disease. They have a classic tomato flavor and are excellent for canning and sauces.
Carmen An indeterminate variety that bears large, flavorful tomatoes that are perfect for slicing. The fruit has a meaty texture and is resistant to cracking and disease.
Cherokee Purple An heirloom variety that produces large, irregularly shaped tomatoes with a deep purple color. They have a rich, sweet flavor and are ideal for fresh eating and sandwiches.
San Marzano An indeterminate variety that yields elongated tomatoes with a firm, meaty texture. They are perfect for making sauces and canning, and have a classic tomato flavor.

These recommended tomato varieties are just a few of the many options available for Colorado gardeners. Keep in mind that determinate varieties tend to do better in areas with shorter growing seasons, while indeterminate varieties require more space but offer a longer harvest.

Experimenting with different varieties can be a fun and rewarding experience, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Colorado

Growing tomatoes in Colorado can be challenging due to the state’s unique climate conditions. However, with the right techniques and care, it is possible to have a successful harvest. Here are some tips for growing tomatoes in Colorado:

Soil Preparation

Colorado’s soil tends to be alkaline, so it’s important to amend the soil with compost or organic matter to lower the pH and improve nutrient levels. Work the compost into the soil to a depth of six inches before planting.

Planting and Spacing

Wait to plant tomatoes until after the last frost date has passed in your area. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Space tomato plants about 24 to 36 inches apart to ensure good air circulation and prevent disease. Plant the seedlings deep, burying the stem up to the first set of leaves to encourage strong root growth.

Watering and Irrigation

Consistent watering is key to tomato growth. Water deeply and regularly, about 1 to 2 inches per week. Avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can lead to disease. Consider using a drip irrigation system to save water and prevent over-saturation.


Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so providing them with the right nutrients is important for growth and yield. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply the fertilizer two weeks after planting and then every four to six weeks thereafter.

Pest Control

Tomatoes in Colorado can be susceptible to pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. To prevent infestations, keep the garden clean and free of debris, and inspect plants regularly for signs of pests. Consider using natural pest control methods such as introducing beneficial insects or using neem oil.


Regular maintenance is essential for healthy tomato plants. Prune the plants to promote air circulation and remove any diseased or yellowing leaves. Stake or cage the plants to keep them upright and support heavy fruit. Monitor for signs of disease and treat promptly if necessary.

Local Tomato Farms in Colorado

If you’re not up for growing your own tomatoes, there are plenty of local farms in Colorado that offer delicious, fresh, and sustainably grown tomatoes.

One top option is the Esoterra Culinary Gardens in Denver, specializing in heirloom varieties and sustainable practices. They offer a wide selection of tomatoes, including black krim, brandywine, and Cherokee purple.

If you’re in the Boulder area, check out the Red Wagon Organic Farm. Their tomatoes are certified organic and hand-picked at their peak ripeness. You can find a range of varieties such as roma, cherry, and beefsteak.

Farm Name Location Specialties
Esoterra Culinary Gardens Denver Heirloom varieties and sustainability
Red Wagon Organic Farm Boulder Certified organic tomatoes
Rocky Mountain Organic Farms Brighton Vine-ripened and chemical-free tomatoes

If you’re in the mood for a road trip, check out The Tomato Lady in La Jara, Colorado. They have over 100 varieties of tomatoes, from classic beefsteaks to rare and exotic varieties.

Supporting local farms not only ensures you’re getting the freshest and most flavorful tomatoes, but it also helps sustain Colorado’s agricultural industry. It’s a win-win!

Extending the Tomato Season in Colorado

As the growing season for tomatoes in Colorado is relatively short, gardeners may want to consider techniques to extend their harvest. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

Use Season Extenders

Season extenders are devices that help protect tomato plants from the cold and extend the growing season. These include:

Season Extender Description
Row Covers Lightweight fabric covers that trap heat and protect plants from frost.
Cold Frames A small structure with a transparent roof that helps trap heat and protect plants from cold and wind.
Greenhouses Permanent or temporary structures that help regulate temperature and humidity.

Grow Early-Maturing Varieties

Choosing early-maturing tomato varieties can help ensure a harvest before the first frost. These varieties are bred to produce fruit quickly and ripen earlier than other varieties. Some recommended early-maturing varieties for Colorado include:

  • Sub-Arctic Plenty
  • Early Girl
  • Glacier

Protect Plants from Frost

In Colorado, the threat of frost can damage or kill tomato plants before they have a chance to mature. Here are a few tips to protect your plants:

  • Monitor the weather and cover plants with blankets, tarps, or other materials to prevent frost damage.
  • Water plants thoroughly before a frost to help insulate them.
  • Consider transplanting seedlings into larger containers and bringing them indoors during cold snaps.

By following these tips, gardeners in Colorado can enjoy a longer and more fruitful tomato growing season.

Caring for Tomatoes in Colorado

Tomatoes can be finicky plants, and growing them in Colorado requires some extra care and attention. Follow these tips to ensure your plants stay healthy and productive:

  1. Prune regularly: Remove the suckers (new growth that emerges from the base of the main stem and the branches) to increase air circulation and prevent disease. Trim off any yellow or diseased leaves as well.
  2. Stake or cage your plants: Tomatoes need support to grow upright and prevent the fruits from touching the ground. Use stakes or cages to keep your plants in place and promote healthy growth.
  3. Monitor for pests and diseases: Colorado’s dry climate can make plants more susceptible to pests and diseases. Keep a close eye on your plants and treat any issues early on to prevent them from spreading.
  4. Regular maintenance: Water your plants deeply and regularly, especially in hot weather. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every few weeks to keep your plants healthy and productive.
  5. Harvest tomatoes at the right time: Wait until the tomatoes are fully ripe before picking them. The fruit should be firm but give slightly when gently squeezed.

Remember, healthy plants are less likely to succumb to pests and diseases, so invest the time and effort to keep your plants thriving.

Preserving and Enjoying Colorado Tomatoes

Once you have harvested your tomatoes, there are many ways to preserve and enjoy them for months to come. Here are some tips and ideas to make the most of your tomato bounty:

Canning Tomatoes

Canning is a great way to preserve tomatoes for long-term storage. To can tomatoes, start by washing and sterilizing canning jars and lids. Next, blanch your tomatoes by boiling them for one minute, then plunge them into cold water. Peel the skin and remove the core. Pack your tomatoes into the sterilized jars and add lemon juice. Seal the jars and process them in a boiling water bath for the specified time based on your jar size.

Freezing Tomatoes

Freezing is another simple and effective way to preserve tomatoes. To freeze tomatoes, start by blanching them, then cool and remove the skins. Dice or slice the tomatoes and place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Be sure to label and date your containers, and use within 8-12 months.

Drying Tomatoes

Drying tomatoes is a great way to concentrate their flavors and create a delicious snack. To dry tomatoes, slice them in half and remove the seeds. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with salt and herbs. Bake them in the oven at 200°F for several hours until they are dry and leathery. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Cooking with Tomatoes

There are endless ways to use fresh tomatoes in cooking. Try making salsa, bruschetta, or a simple caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and basil. You can also use tomatoes in soups, stews, sauces, and pasta dishes. Don’t forget to grill them for a smoky charred flavor or oven-roast them with olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Tomatoes are a versatile ingredient that can add flavor and nutrition to any meal.

With these tips and ideas, you can enjoy your Colorado-grown tomatoes all year long. Happy harvesting!

FAQs about Tomatoes in Colorado

Q: What types of tomato varieties grow best in Colorado?

A: Determinate varieties like Roma, Celebrity, and Glacier are well-suited for Colorado’s short growing season. Indeterminate varieties like Big Beef, Early Girl, and Cherokee Purple can also thrive with proper care.

Q: When is the best time to plant tomatoes in Colorado?

A: For best results, plant tomato seedlings indoors in late March to early April and transplant them outdoors after the last frost date, typically around Mother’s Day in May.

Q: How should I fertilize my tomato plants in Colorado?

A: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content to promote root growth. Avoid fertilizing too frequently or with high amounts of nitrogen, which can lead to excessive foliage growth and fewer fruits.

Q: What are some common tomato diseases in Colorado?

A: Colorado’s dry climate can help prevent common tomato diseases such as blight and wilt. However, issues like blossom end rot and cracking can still occur due to fluctuating temperatures and uneven watering. Proper care and attention, such as consistent watering and soil amendments, can help prevent these issues.

Q: How can I protect my tomato plants from pests in Colorado?

A: Colorado’s arid climate can deter many common tomato pests, but some, like aphids and whiteflies, can still be a problem. Consider using natural pest control methods such as companion planting, beneficial insects, and organic sprays.

Q: How can I increase my tomato yield in Colorado?

A: Proper pruning, staking, and fertilization can help increase tomato yield. Additionally, planting early-maturing varieties and using season extenders like row covers can help extend the growing season and maximize the harvest.


With the right tomato varieties and a little bit of care, anyone can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious, juicy tomatoes in Colorado. From determining the best varieties to grow to caring for plants and preserving the harvest, we’ve covered everything you need to know to get started.

Remember, growing your own tomatoes is not only rewarding but also a great way to support local agriculture and reduce your carbon footprint. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, we hope this article has provided you with the knowledge and inspiration to start your own tomato garden in Colorado. Happy harvesting!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tomatoes in Colorado

Q: What is the best time to plant tomatoes in Colorado?

A: The best time to plant tomatoes in Colorado is after the danger of frost has passed, typically in late May or early June.

Q: What are some common tomato diseases in Colorado?

A: Some common tomato diseases in Colorado include early blight, late blight, powdery mildew, and tomato yellow leaf curl virus. Proper sanitation, crop rotation, and selecting disease-resistant tomato varieties can help prevent or manage these diseases.

Q: How can I maximize tomato yield in Colorado?

A: To maximize tomato yield in Colorado, it is important to provide adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients to the plants. Regular pruning, proper staking or caging, and removing suckers can also promote better airflow and fruit development. Additionally, selecting high-yield tomato varieties and following recommended planting and care practices can increase overall yield.

Q: How often should I water my tomato plants in Colorado?

A: Tomato plants in Colorado generally require about 1-2 inches of water per week, either from rainfall or supplemental irrigation. It is important to water deeply and evenly, ensuring that the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Regularly monitoring the moisture levels and adjusting watering accordingly is key to maintaining healthy tomato plants.

Q: Can I grow tomatoes in containers in Colorado?

A: Yes, you can successfully grow tomatoes in containers in Colorado. Choose a larger container with good drainage, use high-quality potting soil, and provide adequate sunlight and water. Compact or determinate tomato varieties are recommended for container gardening as they require less space and are easier to manage.

Q: How can I protect my tomato plants from late spring frosts in Colorado?

A: Late spring frosts can be detrimental to tomato plants in Colorado. To protect your plants, cover them with frost blankets or other protective materials overnight when frost is expected. Consider planting frost-tolerant tomato varieties or using season extenders, such as row covers or greenhouses, to provide additional protection.