How to plant a tomato plant in your garden or a container
How to plant a tomato plant - planting tomatoes for a bumper crop
Each and every gardener who plants tomato plants would want to know how to plant a tomato plant so as to get a bumper crop. The method you use when planting tomatoes as well as the time when you plant it depends solely on the weather conditions at your place. For people with short summers i.e. short tomato growing periods you would have to plant all your tomato plants in one go and the way you need to do this is explained further on. For people with longer summers you could plant tomatoes in batches and not all in one go so as to receive fruit continuously rather than all in one go.
The simple steps below explain everything you need to know right from planting the seeds to harvesting delicious tomatoes.
When do you plant your tomatoes?
When to plant your tomato plant
How to plant a tomato plant is one question, but the most important thing to understand is when to plant your tomato plant. The best time to plant a tomato plant would be when the soil temperatures are around 50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the room temperature around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this needs to be the condition of the external soil be it your garden or container. Instead of wasting precious weeks waiting for the exterior temperatures to be suitable you could grow tomato seedlings indoors in small containers in an area that receives ample sunlight on a daily basis. Don’t make the mistake of planting them out in the garden too early nor place the containers outside if you’re permanently keeping them in containers because this rush may lead to a whole crop failure.
A time lapse of tomato growth - notice how the tomato plants droop when the soil dries up. The day is on the left and you'll notice the word water appear on the bottom right whenever the plants are watered.
Do you harden your tomato plants before transplanting?
Getting your tomato plants ready for the backyard/container
If you really want to know how to plant a tomato plant successfully, this is a very important step – How to plant a tomato plant in your backyard or container. No matter whether your tomato plants are bought from a store or planted from seeds you would need to ensure that your tomato plants are hardy enough to survive the changing outdoor temperatures. To accomplish this you would need to wait till the temperatures are just right as already mentioned above and then place the tomato plants outside in the shade during the days and get them back in during the nights or if it isn’t possible to get them back in at least find a way to cover them like in a green house.
Planting tomatoes is very simple if you know the basics and most people do know them but fail to implement them. Many of us know that plants should not be kept in the chill of the night as they could be harmed. However, not many of us are aware of the shock plants receive when they are suddenly exposed to the harsh direct sunlight. Yes, tomato plants do need direct sunlight; but, it doesn’t happen all in a day. You’re tomato plants were indoors from the day they germinated and aren’t used to the sun so they would need to be exposed to the sun slowly and not suddenly. This process of hardening tomato plants usually takes about a week to a week and a half. After the tomato plants have been hardened they are ready to be transplanted into the garden or bigger containers/pots. However, before transplanting there’s one more step that needs to be taken care of.
A simple guide to help you better understand the process of hardening tomato plants and the importance of hardening your tomato plants.
Is this your first time planting tomatoes
If you've found this article helpful or informative and you're looking for more info; then, you'd surely find the other articles I've written about tomatoes to be helpful.
How to water tomato plants - The wrong method could lead to crop failure
Fertilizing Tomatoes - What Should I add?
Yellow leaves on tomato plants - A sign of mineral deficiency, but which one?
Growing and caring for tomato seedlings - Indoor care
Getting the soil ready for a bumper crop
If you want to know how to plant a tomato plant you should first have suitable soil to plant it. For any plant to grow well it needs to get an initial boost. If the tomato plant doesn’t grow well right from the minute it germinates, there’s very little hope of you getting any fruit from it. Therefore, before you transplant the tomato seedlings into the garden soil or the soil in the containers make sure to dig it up and loosen the soil. Add a bit of compost to the soil and mix well to ensure a uniform distribution of nutrients. If you’ve decided to plant in a container add a few earthworms to the soil – just 3-4 will do. Sprinkle the soil with water and keep it covered with mulch till the tomato seedlings are ready to be transplanted as this helps keep the soil flora and fauna which includes useful microbes and earthworms to live and keep the soil well nourished. Also the mulch that you add will decay and slowly deposit organic matter to the soil which works as a fertilizer.
Test your tomato planting skills - Answer sincerely to know where you stand
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It’s time for transplanting
It’s now the time we’ve all been waiting for. How to plant a tomato plant from seeds has already been answered and we’ll now look into transplanting it outdoors. We want to see our tomato plant seedlings transferred from their nursery into their permanent home – either the ground or a container. You may wonder when it’s time to plant a tomato plant outdoors; the plants are ready to be out in the open after they have been hardened and grown to a size of about six inches. The best time to plant tomato plants or any type of plant is on a cloudy day as they won’t get a shock of direct sunlight. When tomato plants emerge from their seeds they have two leaves at the base (the first leaves) that carry the nutrients for the initial life of the soil. These leaves need to be plucked out before you transplant the tomato plant and the plant will have to be at a depth to just cover the birth leaves.
Fertilizer and Support
Before you plant the tomato plants outdoors you could add both kelp as well as bone meal to the soil instead of chemical fertilizers as the addition of strong fertilizers will put the plants in a state of shock. Kelp and bone meal are slow releasing fertilizers and will provide the tomato plants with micronutrients, phosphorus and other essential minerals. Most importantly, when transplanting tomato plants, see to it that you do it carefully as bruises may leave the plant weak and vulnerable to pests and diseases.
If you live in a windy area, the tomato plants are going to need support to stand erect and firm. Therefore, you would need to add some sort of support – just like a stake. If you plan to add stakes to help your tomato plants stand up, add them before you transplant the tomato plants as this ensures that you don’t harm any roots while inserting the stakes into the soil.
Here's a simple way of adding support to tomato plants using stakes and in this case it doesn't matter whether you do it before or after transplanting because the stakes are nowhere close to the tomato plants root system.
I would like to thank the following people for the amazing pictures that helped explain each and every step on planting tomatoes:
Apreche for the beautiful picture of a healthy tomato plant in a container on his veranda
Gkdavie for the huge tomato on the awesome tomato plant
OakleyOriginals for the picture on preparing the soil for gardening.
Wait for the plant to grow and bear fruit
If you’ve followed all the steps as mentioned above, you’ll be sure to get a bountiful crop. Now that you know how to plant a tomato plant, you could begin planning and setting up your garden- tilling and making compost.
Continue to water the tomato plants the right way and see to it that they don’t lack in any nutrients. If at all you’re tomato plants suffer a deficiency you will notice yellow tomato leaves – more than usual.
Add compost and manure as and when required and you’ll see your tomato plants growing tall and bearing flowers and ultimately fruit. Once the fruit has grown big enough you could harvest them and use them in your kitchen to prepare delicious meals or sauces.
I did say - wait for the plant to grow and bear fruit. But, most people are confused whether the tomato is a fruit or vegetable. Hope you've found this article helpful and now know a bit more on how to plant a tomato plant.