Planting tomatoes in the ground or in buckets. Tomato planting instructions for growing tomatoes in containers or an upside down tomato planter.
When to Plant Tomatoes
In cold climates, tomato planting is best done after the last spring frost.
In hot climates, two crops can be grown. Set the first group of plants into the ground in late February and plant the second group in late August or early September.
How to Plant Tomatoes
When planting tomatoes outdoors, choose a planting site in full sun. Add organic compost to the planting area and dig it in to loosen and condition the soil.
Sprinkle fertilizer over the planting bed just before you set the plants in.
Slip the transplants out of their pots and loosen the rootballs slightly. If any roots are circling in the bottom of the pot, either untangle or remove them.
Bury the tomato vines up to their first set of leaves. The buried portion of the stem will root out into the soil and give extra strength to the plant.
Firm the plants in and slip 2 twigs into the soil on either side of each main stem to prevent cutworms from wrapping around them.
Make a little well of soil around each plant so the water will not run right off when you water them in.
Now is the time to set any tomato supports you plan to use into place.
You can let tomato vines sprawl onto a bed of mulch but this looks messy and the fruit underneath the vine tends to get lost and left to rot. It's better to stake, trellis, or cage the plants.
There are different types of tomato cages. Some tall. Some short. Some round and some square.
If you are growing indeterminate tomatoes, use the largest, tallest tomato cages you can get to support them. You'll be glad you did later in the season when the plants have grown to gargantuan proportions.
You can either set a cage over each plant or you can plant 3-4 plants around each cage.
If you chose to do the latter, dig a hole and fill it with compost first. Set the cage over the hole and space the tomato plants about 2 feet apart around it. The compost will provide extra nutrients to the plants throughout the growing season.
This is the prettiest type of tomato support to use when planting tomatoes. Just make sure the tomato trellis you choose it big enough to support the type of tomato you wish to plant on it.
This is an especially nice way to grow a tomato vine against a wall or in a planter.
Staking tomatoes is the simplest and least expensive way to manage indeterminate types of tomatoes.
You can use wooden stakes, pvc pipes, or those neat curved metal stakes that you just wrap the plant's stem around.
Whatever you use, push or pound the stake into the ground deep enough so that it will remain stable with the weight of a mature tomato crop pulling against it.
Tie the vines to their supports with strips of pantyhose or other soft fabric what won't cut into the tender stems. Something with a little stretch is good as it will expand as the stems grow.
Choose a container or bucket large enough to accommodate the variety of tomato you are growing. A tomato trapped in a too small pot will not thrive.
Use a good quality potting mix. Bury the main stem as deeply as the container will allow but no deeper than the first set of leaves.
Planting tomatoes in an upside down tomato planter is simple.
Pinch the lower leaves off the main stem and gently push the plant's root ball and main stem through the hole in the bottom of the planter.
You can plant 2 tomatoes if the planter is large enough.
Use newspaper to hold the seedling in place and keep your soil from escaping through the hole in the upside down tomato planter.
Fill the planter with a potting mix that contains water crystals. Hanging pots dry out quickly. Mix in some slow release tomato fertilizer. You don't want to have to take your upside down tomatoes down to do this later.
Hang the plant before you water it. Make sure the support is strong enough to hold the planter when the soil is wet. Check after watering to make sure the soil is at the correct level.
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