Tomatoes are pretty hard plants….you can pretty much plant them any way you want and you won’t kill them. End of post. Just Kidding!! While they are hardy, by planting tomatoes the right way you can ensure you have a deep root system, ensure they are sturdy enough to hold up gobs of tomatoes and increase your harvest! Sounds awesome right?! So lets begin…how to plant tomatoes?
- Healthy Plant: First of all pick a healthy plant… you may be inclined to pick the tallest tomato plant with blossoms on it at the store but STOP! Why? I am going to tell you that you are going to pluck those blossoms off of it when you plant it! And tallest? Only pick the tallest if it the sturdiest one….would it fare well in a windy storm? If you are planting a tomato you grew from seed please make sure you harden them off first!
- Timing: For all things that you transplant I recommend doing so on an overcast day or rainy day! I know this is hard to do, we all want to be outside when it is sunny! So if you must skip this one. But why is overcast and rainy is good? Transplanting is stressful and when combined with heat and sun it adds more stress.
- Pre-watering: Get a bucket and fill it up with water. I always give my plants a quick “dunking” before putting them in the ground to make sure they are wet. By quick I mean quick, in and out 3 seconds max fully submerged. This really gets the whole root ball wet and helps reduce stress of transplanting.
- Trimming: Yes I am going to ask you cut off some of those precious stems and any flower buds on the plant! It is sad I know! The flower buds you are cutting off so the plant can focus on establishing roots in its new home instead of setting fruit. For the stems, cut off the lower stems on the plant…leaving 3-4 stems towards the top. Basically you are removing stems from the lower 1/3 (or more) of the plant, see below. Use pruners to cut off or if you have confidence in your nails and ability you can pinch them off with your thumbnail and pointer finger.
- Dig a deep hole: The hole needs to be the depth of the root ball plus cover the area you trimmed off branches.
- Take them out: Time to pull them out of their container. Place your hand firmly around the base like below, then tip like on the right and it should come out easily unless the roots have grown out the bottom.
- Deep: Bury them deep! Now you finally find out why we took all those lovely branches off the bottom of the plants!! You are going to bury the root ball and the bottom 1/3 of the plant (or more if you want!) The plant will develop new roots from the stem of the tomato… By doing this you are establishing a DEEP root system that will help the plant during windy storms and reduce the amount you have to water it.
- Cover: Cover your root ball with dirt and pat firmly. My bed of tomatoes all happily planted below.
- Cages, etc: Now you want to figure out how you want to support the plants as they grow. Do this after transplanting otherwise you will be trying to tame a big gangly plant later. The typical way you see people support their tomatoes are with cages like below. Other methods of trellising…check out this POST HERE for more ideas of how to support your tomatoes.
Want to win a packet of Silvery Fir Tomato Seeds from Grow Journey? Comment below with your favorite tomato variety and a winner will be picked at random on Saturday 5/16.
Silvery Fir Tomato seeds are certified organic. The plant is a determinate Russian heirloom. Carrot-like wispy, silver-gray foliage on compact 24″ plants help make this variety a striking landscape plant. An early producer that will set heavy crops of bright red 2-3″ fruits all at once, after which the plants can be removed and replace with another determinate tomato or other veggie. Does well in containers and hanging baskets. Days to maturity 65 days from direct sown.
Terraganics Living participates in various affiliate programs which means that you might click on a link for a product from which we receive a small commission, although the price for you doesn't change any. Commissions go towards the costs of keeping this sweet site up and running. 🙂