Have you ever wondered “how do I plant tomatoes”? It is not as difficult as you’d think. Here’s a simple, easy-to-follow guide on how to plant tomatoes.
Where do you plant your tomatoes?
Tomatoes enjoy a sunny environment sheltered from the wind. They need at least four or five hours of sunshine per day! They prefer to be facing South or South-East.
The best neighbors for your tomatoes are asparagus, garlic, cucumbers, peppers, onions, radishes, or aromatic herbs such as mint, basil, parsley, sage, thyme or rosemary.
Avoid placing them nearby cabbages, potatoes and fennel.
Grow tomato plants from seeds
You can plant tomato seeds around January or February for ripe tomatoes at the end of spring.
It takes between two and three months to have seedlings ready for planting.
Sowing seeds is the most economical way: sow tomato seeds (no more than 12 seeds per square-inch) in small pots filled with soil, which you will keep in the sun and heat, covered with a little soil (half in inch) and moistened regularly (ideally, do this with a sprayer). In ten days, the plants grow up.
Once your seedlings are more developed (2-3 weeks after sowing), it is time for transplanting. Select the most robust ones and place them in a larger pot. Regularly add fertilizer while spraying less and less often. You should also put them in an area a little less hot, to adjust them to their future conditions.
A “good seedling” is 8 inches high, with green foliage. It should not have any flowers at that point.
Are your seedlings turning yellow? They may have exhausted the soil. It is time to transplant them into their final place, or in a larger pot.
Planting your tomato seedlings
Wait for the month of May to plant your tomato seedlings in your garden, or in a planter on your balcony. Some suggest waiting until mid-May to avoid the frost.
When you transplant your seedlings, make sure to space them about 15 inches apart (except for the smaller varieties, which you can space closer apart). Plant a stake a minimum of 3-feet high next to each seedling. Tomatoes climb, and when the fruits come, the branches will bend under their weight. They may even break if they are not supported.
Drive the stake 8 to 12 inches in, then attach the seedling (with a string), leaving it loose enough not to damage it.
How do I take care of them?
Water them in the morning. Regularly add compost or fertilizer (choose a fertilizer not too high in nitrogen).
You should regularly “pinch” your tomatoes. That is, pinch off by hand the small side growths (the “greedy” ones) on the edges of the branches. They use the sap of the plant that will be better served in your fruit. Do this when these little growths are a few inches.
As your plant gradually grows, tie the stem to the stake (every 8 to 10 inches). When the plant exceeds 3 feet, strengthen the ties, as the weight of the fruit increases the pressure.
When your plant starts to buckle under fruits (at least 3 or 4), cut the top of the plant.
- When your tomatoes begin to ripen, you will improve their flavor by no longer watering them (but then, of course, once they are harvested, begin watering again. At least if you want to get more!).
- At the end of the summer, it is necessary to top the plant to avoid new flowers appearing (they do not have the time to bear fruits). If your plant is a late variety, wait until the end of September or October, depending on the climate.
- For the latest green tomatoes harvested late in the season, just wrap them individually in newspaper so they naturally acquire a beautiful red color after a few days.
- If your plant has large brown spots on the leaves/stems, and white appears underneath the leaves in wet weather, it is likely being attacked by mildew! Remove and destroy affected leaves and branches. If too much of the plant is reached, discard it completely.
- To treat plants, there are two solutions. One is to water it with a decoction of snake grass. You can also introduce a copper rod into the stem of the plant, which produces a natural protective reaction.
There you go. You should have tomatoes in no time.
Let us know how they turned out!