How to Plant Tomatoes the Right Way

Once you have started your favorite tomato varieties by seed, and the garden soil outside reaches at least 50-60 degrees F at night, you'll be ready to transplant your young tomato plants into your garden.  

If you want to ensure healthy tomato plants, there are a few steps you'll want to take when planting them into the ground. 

  • Instead of digging a "hole", aim for more of a "trench".  Make it about a foot long in length. 

  • Loosen the soil.

  • Amend the soil with compost.

  • Add a little "slow-release" fertilizer into the trench as well. 

  • Remove the leaves and branches along the stem, leaving several of the ones at the top of the plant. 

  • Lay your tomato plant horizontally into the trench and position the top of the plant upwards, gently. 

  • Fill in the trench with soil, leaving the top of your tomato plant sticking up out of the ground with several healthy leaves.  The stem of the plant should mostly be under the soil if you've followed these steps correctly. 
By using this method of planting your tomato plants, you'll encourage more roots to grow along the entire length of the stem, below the surface of the soil.  The end game will be a stronger, more vigorous and overall healthier tomato plant.

Sun, Soil, Light, Pests & Timing

  • Sun: Tomatoes need lots of sun, so be sure to pick a spot without too much shade.

  • Water: Give your tomatoes about two inches of water every week all season, and give theextra water in the first few weeks.

  • Soil: Tomatoes do best in loamy, acidic soil, and its a great idea to plant them in soil that can be well-drained.

  • Timing: Shoot to start seeds six weeks before the Springs last frost.

  • Fertilizing: Two weeks after your first picking, is prime time for fertilizing. 

  • Pests: Plant some basil to ward off common tomato pests.

If you want a handy reference, check out this infographic from Sproutabl’s article on growing tomatoes:

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