By planting a tomato as described below you will ensure that your tomato develops an extensive healthy root system, which will allow it to utilize both water and nutrients in the soil. This will create a stronger plant that will produce more fruit.
Things You'll Need
- Tomato plant
- Tomato stake
- Fertilizer (depending on your soil)
- Shovel or tiller
- Hand shovel
- Garden rake
- Jute twine or heavy string
Prepare the Soil
Find a place to grow your tomato. For best results, tomatoes need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
Turn your soil; the texture of it should be fine and free of any large clumps of dirt, sticks and rocks. Also, any organic matter that has not decomposed should be removed. If you plan on planting many tomatoes, you may want to use a tiller. If not, simply turning and chopping the dirt with a shovel by hand will be sufficient.
Provide proper nutrients. Depending on the soil you will be using, you may need to add nutrients to your soil. If you have never grown anything in the soil you will plant your tomatoes in, I would suggest having your soil tested and adjusting it accordingly. Calcium is of great importance to tomatoes; it prevents blossom end rot and maintains a proper pH balance in the soil. Tomatoes also need plenty of nitrogen, but not too much. Excess nitrogen will cause your plant to become bushy and produce very few flowers and fruit.
Form a mound. Rake the prepared dirt into a mound about two feet in diameter at the base and level of the top so that it is about six inches higher than the surrounding dirt.
Plant the Tomato
Starting in the center of the mound you have prepared, dig a four inch deep trench outward approximately three quarters of the length of the tomato plant. The trench should gradually slope downward from the center.
Water the tomato well. This will reduce the shock the tomato will go through while adjusting to its new environment.
With a sharp blade or scissors, carefully remove any limbs on the lower half the of the tomato plant.
Carefully remove the plant from its container. Try not to disturb any of its roots. Lay the bottom three quarters of the tomato plant in the trench with the top of the tomato sticking out of the center of the mound. Starting with the rootball, cover the tomato with about three inches of dirt. When you reach the top of the plant, carefully bend the stem so that it is pointing straight out of the soil. Pack dirt around it to hold it in place.
Water the tomato. This step is crucial; it will prevent the tomato from going into shock and will cause the tomato to start forming roots on part of the stem that was buried.
On the side of the mound where the stem is not buried, place a stake beside your tomato. To control weeds and help maintain proper moisture in your soil, apply a layer of mulch around the tomato. Once the tomato is about one foot tall, loosely tie it to the stake with jute twine or heavy string.
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure the soil around your tomato does not dry out; keep it well watered, especially during its first two weeks in the ground.
When to Plant Tomatoes
The best planting season for tomatoes (_Solanum lycopersicum_) depends on your location and how long the growing season is in your area....