Tomato Planting Guidelines

You want to take as much care with your tomato planting as with any other aspect in growing tomatoes. The right techniques can avoid disaster down the line and double or triple the mouth-watering produce you have on your plate a few months later.

Depending on where you live and how long your growing season is, it’s a very good idea to stagger your planting dates and spread them over time if you have that option. You can start with a small crop, then add to it over the next few weeks, this will both reduce the chances of rot, pests and disease taking a bite out of your crop. And also give you a first, second and third harvest and so on.

Soil Preparation

Tomato planting from pot to ground is also called transplanting. The best time to transplant is only after the soil temperature has reached a good 55 to 60 degrees Farenheit. Also prepare the soil for the job with a little pre-season soil preparation – you want it to be loose, rich and well-drained. This only really requires that you mix up the soil with compost and spread it over the plot.

Unless your soil is heavy and clayey, you have a brand new plot to start, there is a lot of sand or your plot is very old and tired out. In this case get digging and re-vitalise it from the deep.

Planting Your Plants

Once your seedlings have reached a good 6 inches they are ready for the great outdoors. Pinch off the lower leaves and go easy on the fertilizer to start with. Some light diluted compost is all they need in the beginning. Handle these babies gently in every way, your hands included to avoid bruising.

Put them in full sunlight, ideally in a green-house, but if not then out in the light where the sun can help them grow right from go. You can space your plants about a foot apart, remember they will soon grow and you’ll need space in between to water, weed and harvest. And give thema  good dose of warm water – one gallon will do. And make it soon after planting to help the plants deal with the change and not go into shock.

Many expert tomato growers will recommend a cup of kelp meal and bone meal in the holes before the plants. Two great slow release fertilizers that your plants will love. When putting your plant in the ground, get the roots and stem below the surface, with the leaf cluster remaining above. Get your stakes in early if you plan to use them. It’s best to put them in at the same time as transplanting.

Watering

Once planted water your plants every day for the first two weeks after transplanting. With warm water. After that cold water will be fine. If they are out in the open you should make sure they’re getting a good 2 or 3 inches of rain every week, which equates to about 2 gallons of water. If they aren’t getting this you should water them this much to keep them healthy.

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