Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5 Quick Tips for Planting Tomatoes

Image: Jolly Janner 
Before heading out to plant your tomatoes, pick a spot in the garden that receives full sun, a good 6-8 hours a day, and one that has fertile, well-draining soil. Then, set your seedlings up for success by following these 5 tips for planting tomatoes.

Tip #1: Pinch off Bottom Leaves of Tomatoes

Pinching of the bottom most leaves of tomato plants encourages them to grow bushy and full rather than tall and thin. Pinch off only the bottom leaves, leaving the true leaves intact. True leaves are those that are main branches and have two to three sets of leaves per branch already.

Tip #2: Sprinkle the Ground with Egg Shells

In the weeks leading up to planting time, save your egg shells. Crush them up and sprinkle them in the holes in which you’ll be planting your tomatoes. Egg shells give the soil a boost of calcium, something your tomatoes will be thankful for. Make sure the shells are clean and crush them up before sprinkling them.

Tip #3: Size and Depth of Planting Holes

Holes should be twice as wide as the root ball of tomato seedlings and deep enough to plant tomatoes up to their first set of true leaves. Planting tomatoes at this depth gives them the support they need as they grow tall and wide, helping to keep their roots anchored.

Tip #4: Gently Loosen Root Ball of Tomato Seedlings

Gently loosen the root balls of tomato seedlings to entice the roots to spread out and anchor themselves once they’ve become established. It’s okay if some of the roots break. Loosen the ball about 3/4 of the way up, leaving the top of the ball intact.

Tip #5: Cage Tomatoes from the Start

After planting tomato seedlings, cage them right away. Doing this from the start is much easier than trying to slip a tomato cage over a mid to full-size plant and it’s many branches and leaves. You can also make your own support systems out of garden stakes and twine. 

Do you have any tips to share about planting tomatoes?

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