What is the most popular vegetable to grow in your garden? Of course-tomatoes! Have you had a questionable past with growing your own tomatoes? You can grow tomatoes successfully if you follow these tomato planting tips!
Planting tomato plants is easy. They are among the easiest garden plants to grow and if you live in an area warm enough to grow them, you can plant them way I do, and they are almost maintenance free. Here are ten tips to start your best tomatoes yet.
The top 10 Tomato Planting Tips
1. Choose disease resistant heirloom varieties and buy from reputable nurseries.
I plant a plethora of different tomato varieties each year so that I will have a good harvest. The reason I choose to grow different varieties is that each variety has pros and cons. You want to grow tomato varieties that are disease resistant.
2. Start seeds early
After choosing your varieties, next you need to determine when to start your seeds. The easiest thing to do is to first figure out your last frost date. Once you know your last frost date, count back eight to ten weeks and that is when you want to start your tomato seeds.
Bonus Tomato Planting Tip: Make sure to transplant your tomato plants into larger containers as they grow. You can tell it is time to pot them up by checking for roots growing out the bottom of their cup.
3. Choose plants with dark healthy leaves and thick stems.
When purchasing tomato plants or choosing out which plants of your seedlings to plant, make sure to choose sturdy plants. Long lanky stems are signs that they either grew too fast or they didn’t get enough sunlight while growing. This is one of the most important tomato planting tips.
4. Make certain that the area where you plant your garden has at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
Tomato plants need full sun in order to truly thrive. Plant them in an area that gets at least six hours a day for optimal results. Tomato plants also need loose, well draining and nutrient dense soil.
5. Invest in and put up a sturdy trellis upon which to grow your tomatoes.
I like to use a cattle panel held up with metal fence posts buried every four feet. Good quality tomato cages also work as well. A simple wooden stake or single piece of electrical conduit will work great as well if you plan on single stemming your tomatoes.
6. Wait until overnight temperatures are in the mid-to-upper fifties at night before planting.
When soil temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, dig a trench four inches deep and long enough to bury the entire stem of the tomato plant. Without a fence, you would have to plant tomato plants 4 foot apart but since you are growing your tomatoes up a fence, you can plant each plant a foot from the one beside it.
7. Add in some nutrients
In planting hole, pour one gallon of water and dust the hole with about a tablespoon with dried kelp powder. Make certain to spread it around the hole and not just dump it all in the bottom of the trench. The water guarantees that the plant stays well hydrated and the kelp contains growth hormones that give the plants a healthy boost.
8. Bury them deep.
When planting your tomato plants, remove all but the uppermost leaves of your tomato plant, then plant the entire stem, leaving only the leaves above ground. Tomato plants are unique because anywhere the stem touches the ground, the plant will send down roots.
9. Top the soil off
Sprinkle another tablespoon of kelp along the area where you planted the tomato stem and dust with diatomaceous earth around the base of the tomato to prevent cutworm damage.
10. Water the plants in deeply
Water a second time with another gallon of water. If you live in an area that gets hot temperatures, mulch around plants to conserve moisture and to prevent diseases in the soil from splashing up from the soil when it rains or when you water.
Now that have planted your tomato plants, water your plants regularly and keep the vines tied to the fence. With proper care, within a few weeks, you will have a terrific tomato crop that the entire neighborhood will envy.