|Thursday Tips & Techniques: Planting Tomatoes in Three Easy Steps|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 12 May 2011|
By Kathy Widenhouse, Guest Contributor
Fourth in a series
How to plant your tomatoes plants in 3 easy steps and get your tomato crop off to a healthy start.
Step #1: Plan
Tomato seedlings need the right amount of room both between their rows and between individual plants for air circulation and to allow them to mature. Allow 5 or 6 feet between rows so you can comfortably weed, water, fertilize, and pick. When it comes to spacing individual plants, set them 24” – 36” apart. Note that indeterminate tomatoes need more space than determinates since they continue to grow until frost.
Step #2: Dig
Dig a hole twice as big as the plant's root ball. Or, if your tomato plants are leggy, dig a trench 6 inches deep and the length of your planting area. Leggy stems can be buried lengthwise in the trench to develop additional roots.
Step #3: Plant
About an hour before planting, water your tomatoes thoroughly. After digging hole or trench, fill it 1/3 full with topsoil. Add 1-2 scoops compost and a handful of bone meal or fertilizer. Mix everything well! Add water to the hole or trench and allow it to soak into the soil. Clip off the plant’s lower set of leaves. Set tomato plant in the hole or trench. Fill in with remaining topsoil and press firmly around the stem. Water well. Wrap newspaper, aluminum foil, or a discarded toilet tissue roll around the base of the stem to prevent cutworms from feasting on your newly-planted seedlings.
About the Author: Kathy Widenhouse is a contributing writer for The Daily Dirt and owner of Tomato Dirt, a leading source for information on growing tomatoes and using them.