Tomato Planting Guide
Tomatoes can be found in nearly every vegetable garden across the country, and with good reason, as little else compares to the flavor of a home-grown tomato. There is a multitude of varieties, filling out the entire spectrum of color, size, and flavor.
How To Grow Tomatoes
Start: Start tomatoes indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost. Use a quality seed starting mix and grow under grow lights or in a very sunny, warm window. Plant seeds ¼” deep and keep soil moist. Harden off seedlings in a sheltered outdoor place for one week. Transplant after danger of frost. Seedlings should be planted 30-48” apart in rows 3-4’ apart.
Transplant: Plant outdoors when nighttime lows reach 60°F or higher.
Water: Tomatoes require plenty of water, 1-2” per week. Ensure watering is steady as tomatoes can crack and split if they receive a lot of water after a dry stretch.
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Plant in rich organic soil. pH 6.0-6.8
Fertilize: An all-purpose, balanced fertilizer will do well for tomatoes. Use according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you find your tomatoes have very lush, green vegetation but are not setting fruit, switch to a fertilizer with little or no nitrogen.
Harvest: Harvest tomatoes when they are as ripe as possible, fully colored and firm. Make sure to pick regularly to avoid overloading the plant. At the end of the season when a frost is imminent, all remaining tomatoes can be picked and ripened in a paper bag or on a sunny window sill.
Notes: Place stakes or cages at the time of planting to avoid damaging the plants’ roots.
Helpful Tomato Links
- Hybrid vs Heirloom: What’s The Difference?
- 10 Common Tomato Plant Problems and How To Fix Them
- How To Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors
- Companion Planting: 10 Veggies That Should Grow Together
- Too Many Tomatoes? Preserve Them!