How To Plant Tomatoes
Lots of people love tomatoes, and if you love tomatoes, there’s nothing better than a fresh, vine ripened tomato picked from your garden. You can start your own tomatoes from seed indoors 6 – 8 weeks before the last spring frost.
Choosing The Right Tomato
What type of tomatoes do you want? What will you do with your tomatoes?
There are several different varieties of tomatoes. Big, small, red, yellow, green, black, pink, heirloom, slicers, cherry, grape, italian….and on and on. You need to know what you will use your tomatoes for. If you are going to can lots of tomato juice, you are not going to want to plant a bunch of cherry tomatoes. If you just want a few tomatoes for slicing, you will not want to plant Roma tomatoes. So after you know what you are wanting, then you can determine what type of tomatoes to plant.
Determinate Or Indeterminate?
All tomatoes are either determinate or indeterminate, but lots of people don’t know what that means.
- Determinate: Determinate tomatoes grow to a determined size and produce most of their fruit at the same time.
- Indeterminate: Indeterminate tomatoes continue growing and producing tomatoes until the first frost.
Planting Your Tomatoes
There are a few different ways to plant and maintain tomatoes, I am not going to try to cover every one, I am going to explain how I do it and have done it for years with great results.
- Prepare your garden. You should have the soil already prepared for planting before you start this process.
- Know how many tomatoes of each variety you are going to plant. For each upright tomato – determinate or indeterminate – have a 8 – 10 foot post. (Do not use posts on cherry, roma, grape, pear tomatoes).
- Plan your rows. I plant my tomatoes 40 inches apart in the row and the rows are also 40 inches apart. This gives plenty of room for maintaining, harvesting and cultivating.
- Drive the posts. Drive a post for each tomato plant in a row (or rows). 40″x40″ Make sure each post is straight and solid.
- Plant your tomatoes. Dig a hole at the base of each post. Dig each hole half a deep as the tomato plant is tall. If the plant is 18″ tall, dig the hole 9″ deep. You plant tomatoes deep because they will develop a stronger root system. The little hairs on their stems turn into roots when they’re under ground.
- Remove any leaves that will be below the soil line.
That’s all there is to it. I will cover how to maintain your tomato plants in a later post. For right now, just make sure your plants are planted close to the post. As your tomatoes grow we will use the posts to keep your plants off the ground and pruned.
Planting Bush Type Tomatoes
Bush type tomato plants are the cherry, plum, grape, roma varieties. They are still classified as determinate or indeterminate, but we don’t use posts for them.
- Dig the hole (half a deep as the plant is tall).
- Place the plant in the hole and remove leaves that will be below soil line.