How to plant tomatoes

A beginners guide to planting tomatoes

Here I will presume that you don’t grow tomatoes from seeds, but buy ready grown plug plants. 

How to plant tomatoes outside

  • Dig a hole 2 – 5 cm deeper than the pot from which you are planting out. 
  • Remove the plant from the pot and loosen the roots, especially at the bottom to break the structure – this will promote healthy root growth. 
  • Tamp the soil around the plant firmly.
  • Water your tomatoes well after planting them to reduce the shock to the roots and make sure they have enough moisture. 

 

Where to get tomato plants?

You can buy tomato seedlings from your local garden centre, on a carboot sale, online and sometimes in supermarkets. 

If you buy tomato seedlings from a garden centre, you will get plants grown commercially, meaning they were grown indoors,so it’s better to keep them inside for a while. 

If you want to grow your own tomatoes from seeds, check this article:

How to grow tomatoes from seeds

 

When to plant tomato plants outside?

You can plant them out when there is no risk of night frost, which could damage the young plants, in the UK, it’s mid-May. You can plant seedlings or transplants outside from May to June. 

I also recommend looking up a biodynamic calendar to check the best time to plant out your tomatoes (yes, it does work!). 

 

How big should tomato seedlings be before transplanting

You can plant out seedlings which are 10 – 20 cm tall and have 4 – 6 true leaves. 

 

How deep to plant tomatoes

The good news it, that you don’t need to worry about planting tomatoes too deeply. Tomato plants can grow roots along the stems, so you won’t harm the plant covering it with soil too deeply. If you have a leggy plant, you can bury the stem up to the first leaves, or you can even dig a longer hole and bend the plant gently. 

 

How far apart to plant tomatoes

Depending on the tomato variety, plants should be between 0.5 and 1 m apart. 

Do not plant your seedlings closer than recommended for the specific variety as overcrowding may cause a quicker spread of diseases. 

How to plant tomatoes in pots

  • Fill the pot with soil
  • Make a hole for the seedling – it should be deep enough to cover the stem up to the first leaves. You can check the depth of the hole with a stick and compare it with the plant.
  • Remove the plant from the pot and loosen the roots, especially at the bottom to break the structure – this will promote healthy root growth. 
  • Tamp the soil around the plant firmly
  • Water it generously 

 

What pot size do I need for tomato plants?

To grow tomatoes in pots, you need the pot size of 30 cm across the top. Bear in mind that smaller pots try out faster, so you may want to go for larger ones for this reason. 

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