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How to plant tomatoes

Tomato Plant

Planting tomatoes

How to plant a tomato plant. Possibly you have that perfect dirt, black dirt full of nutrition and easy to dig in. Well that isn't the case for me and I am sure many other people out there have my same problem. Where I live I have clay, hard clay. They say clay is full of nutrients but it is also like cement mortar and plants need to breath so I have over time and still am hauling in all kinds of manure sand, no I am not making bricks, and other mulch I can get my hands on.
What I am trying to say is you need to take the soil you have and make it better. You can always go to the state extension service with your soil and they will tell you what to put into it to make that perfect soil for your tomatoes and other plants, a good idea.

I am just going to let you now how I plant tomatoes, I am not a master gardener although I should be after all the years I have planed gardens. Hopefully you can learn by my success and mistakes. I can't guarantee this will work for you, a disclaimer but I can tell you what works for me.

Plant your seeds early

Tomato plants ready to go into the ground

The first thing you need are the tomato plants. I start mine from weed the first part of the year. I usually order on line from gurney's henry fields or any other reputable dealer. Make sure you get the seeds that are from the previous year. I do use older seed but when I order seed in I expect that it is the latest.
I used tomato seed peat pots I bought at Wal Mart, they sell them at other retailers also. They have small peat cups but they don't work as well for tomatoes. I have had much better success as I planted about 216 tomato seeds and most of them developed into tomato plants. Of course you can always just go buy your tomatoes already grown at your local nursery or on line.

About three to four weeks before planting if the weather permits you need to harden up your tomatoes. When I say harden your tomato plants I mean take them outside into the sun. Even if you buy your tomato plants at the store and bring them home and throw them into the ground chances are they have been in a greenhouse and not used to direct sunlight. If you want to plant them right away I think you will find much more success if you put them out in the sun for a few days before planting. The first day just do two or three hours and increase your time each day until they get used to being in the sun. You will find that your plants may get bleached out a little bit but they will green up once they get used to the sun and when you put them in the ground they will take off instead of going into shock from too much sun. Make sure they are watered well when you have them outside, you don't want them to die from dehydration.

My ground was really dry, it has been a dry winter this year and with the clay it was extra hard. It is very important that before you plant you make sure the ground is moist. My grandmother always told me that the first thing you do when you are transplanting is you dig your hold and fill it full of water. You let the water all soak in then put in your plant and fill it full of water again and then put your dirt in. If you don't do this and the surrounding ground is dry it will suck any moisture out of the plant and your plant will go into shock. This is true with any transplant.

Holes for tomatoes

Dig your holes for your tomato plants and fill with water before you plant to moisten up the soil around the plants to prevent dry soil from sucking all the moisture out of your new transplant. This is hard clay soil that has had manure and some sand mulch and peat moss put into it. Every year it gets better as we put more into the soil.

Water Walls for tomatoes

Water walls on tomato plants

We live in the mountains and have already had one frost (lost a few tomato plants but the tomatoes with caps on them and water walls did well. We lost a few of the tomato plants that had the caps on them but not many, a few of them were nipped but the majority of them are fine. We didn't lose any of the tomato plants with the water walls on them, they all did well. The water walls on the tomato plants act like a small greenhouse and will work well on any of your plants and will speed up your harvest. I take mine off when the plants develope more.

Tomato Peat Pot with sides exposed


Before I put my tomato plants in I remove the material around the peat so the roots are not restricted.. They say you can leave it on but for me I have not done well with my plants when I left it on. Above picture shows what it looks like after I have taken of the material. I hold my thumb on the top making sure not to hurt the stem of the plant. I take my middle and ring finger and firmly press on the bottom so when I pull gently the sides away I am holding pressure on the top and bottom to keep the plant from pulling apart. I gently bring the sides down and rotate the plant so the roots are not broken off but slip through the material. If the material comes off the bottom easily fine, otherwise I just leave it on so as not to disturb the plant too much.

If you want a list of plants to plant your tomatoes with and to not plant your tomatoes with
click here. This will also tell you what plants not to plant with your tomatoes.


Tomatoes are compatible with chives, onions, parsley, marigold, nasturtium and tomatoes love carrots!

If you plant garlic bulbs between your tomato plants they protect them from the red spider mites. Stinging nettle grown close improves the keeping quality of tomatoes.

Tomatoes will protect roses against black spot. If you are not able to plant tomatoes close to roses make up a solution of tomato leaves in your vegetable juicer, adding four or five pints of water and one tablespoon of cornstarch. Strain and spray on roses.

Don't plant tomatoes near young apricot trees. Tomatoes and corn shouldn't be planted together since the tomato fruitworm is identical with the corn earworm.

Don't plant near potatoes since tomatoes render the potatoes more susceptible to potato blight.

You may grow your tomatoes in the same place year after year, unless you have a disease problem, then plant them in a new place.

If you smoke be sure to wash your hands before you work in your garden, tomatoes are susceptible to diseases transmitted through tobacco.

Tomato Harvest

Just a few of the Tomatoes I Harvested

Tomatoes Harvest

Tomato Harvest


I like a large variety of tomatoes




Step by step instructions on how to harvest, dry and store mint. Mint for tea or for cooking. I haven't bought mint for years and it is very rewarding to sit at the table in the winter months and look out at the snow while you sip your own tea.

More Tomatoes

More Tomatoes


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