Looking for the perfect way to plant your tomatoes – and give them the best chance to grow strong, healthy and fast right from the start?
Tomato plants are by far the most popular vegetable plant to grow at home. Whether growing in containers, pots, raised beds or in a traditional garden, it is the dream of every tomato growing gardener to have their tomato plants growing bigger than ever by summer. And of course, producing lots of tomatoes in the process!
But to make that dream come true, it is critical to get your plants off to a great start. Plants that lag behind early and struggle to establish in the soil usually end up struggling to produce as well. Even more, they also are the plants that have the most trouble fending off pests and disease.
But here is the good news, it’s not hard to get your plants off to a fast start! In fact, by following just a few simple planting tips, and adding a few powerful ingredients into your planting hole, you can all but ensure that your tomatoes will be off and running right from the get go.
With that in mind, here is a look at 5 simple secrets that will have your tomato plants rocking in no time – and have you rolling in tomatoes by mid summer!
How To Plant Tomato Plants For Success!
There is little doubt that how you plant your tomatoes has a huge impact on their performance. Not just early on, but as they mature and begin to produce.
Four of the five tips below center around what to put in your planting hole to give your plants the energy and nutrients they need to flourish early on. But before we get to those four special ingredients, the very first key to success is to create the perfect planting hole for your tomato plants and those additional nutrients to go into.
#1 Creating The Perfect Planting Hole
One of the biggest mistakes gardeners make when planting tomatoes is not creating their planting hole big enough. Just because the root ball of your plant may be a few inches wide and deep, it doesn’t mean your planting hole should be just slightly bigger.
Tomatoes need to develop extensive root systems to grow big and healthy stems and foliage. The roots not only anchor the plant, but also soak up the nutrients and moisture the plant needs to survive. Simply put, the more roots a plant can grow, the more it can eat and drink. And just as with humans, the more you do both, the bigger you grow!
Dig your planting hole at least twice the width of your transplant. As for depth, the deeper you can loosen the soil below, the better. Loose soil makes it easy for new roots to expand. We like to plant our transplants so that one-third to one-half of the plant in buried.
This will not hurt your plant in the least. Even if you are covering up a few sets of bottom leaves. What it will do is grow a tremendous amount of new roots for your plant!
The More Roots The Better – The Perfect Way To Plant Tomato Plants Right!
Tomatoes can grow new roots directly off their main stem and well above the root ball. If you look closely at your transplant, you will see tiny white hairs on the main stem. When buried under the soil, those tiny hairs grow into roots. That is exactly why burying your plant helps so much!
Listen Below To Our Podcast On How To Best Fertilize Your Plants Once Planted!
To make our planting holes, we love using a post hole digger. It carves a wide, six to eight inch hole. It also allows us to easily go down as far as we need to plant deep. Best of all, a post hole digger can save on your back, keeping you from constantly bending over. Affiliate Link: Fiberglass Post Hole Digger
Now that we have the perfect planting hole, it’s time to fill it with four incredible power-giving ingredients that will have your tomatoes growing fast!
#2 Add Pulverized Egg Shells – The Perfect Way To Plant Tomato Plants Right!
One of the best all natural ingredients you can add into your planting hole is pulverized egg shells. By adding finely ground egg shells, you can provide your plants with tons of additional calcium as they grow and produce.
Tomatoes require calcium to grow strong and healthy. And a lot of it! In fact, along with nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, calcium is one of the most important nutrients of all for tomatoes. It helps the stem walls of plants grow thick, and even more importantly, prevents blossom end rot.
Blossom end rot occurs when plants can’t take in enough calcium. When that happens, the end of the tomatoes turn black, ruining the tomato in the process. See: How To Stop Tomato Blossom Rot & Tomato Blight
But by simply adding finely ground egg shells into the hole as you plant, you can give your plants the calcium they need. It should be noted, for best results, grind down (a coffee grinder works great for this!) the shells as finely as possible. The more powder-like the shells can be, the faster the calcium can be absorbed by plants.
#3 Add Worm Castings – The Perfect Way To Plant Tomato Plants Right!
Worm castings are one of the absolute best-kept secrets when it comes to powering tomato plants naturally. And adding them as you plant can really help your plants off to a fast start! They are truly are “secret” weapon when planting tomatoes!
So what are worm castings? Essentially, they are the manure worms leave behind as they chew through soil. But their manure is special in that it will never burn plants. Instead, they give them a slow and slow dose of near perfect nutrients.
When you put castings in the planting hole, the roots of the plant absorb them easily and quickly. For tomato plants, this helps to promote steady early growth without being overpowering. Affiliate Product Link: 100% Pure Worm Castings
Unfortunately, if you provide too much energy too quickly to tomato plants, it will cause them to overgrow their stems and foliage – all at the expense of future production. But with worm castings, there is never a worry of that occurring.
For best results, mix one-half to three-quarters of a cup of castings into each planting hole. If you have never tried castings before, make this the year you do so. They truly are incredible for promoting early and strong growth!
#4 Add Compost – The Perfect Way To Plant Tomato Plants Right!
Just as with worm castings, compost is another incredible way to power your tomato plants with low and slow energy. Even better, compost helps loosen heavy soil too. And the lighter the soil, the easier roots can grow through it!
Compost is filled with an amazing blend of natural nutrients and humus. Loaded with power, when mixed into a planting hole, it energizes roots and powers early growth.
For best results, mix two to three cups into every planting hole. We like to put a cup right at the bottom of the hole to help roots go deep. We then mix the rest with the surrounding soil as we fill in the planting hole.
One final tip on compost – top off your plants with it too! A few inches of compost on top around your tomato plants can be a powerful mulch. Every time it rains or you water, more nutrients leach down to the roots.
#5 Add Coffee Grounds – The Perfect Way To Plant Tomato Plants Right!
Last but not least, don’t forget the coffee! Giving your plants a dose at planting time can help wake them up fast too. Well, perhaps not coffee, but instead the spent grounds that made the coffee.
Coffee grounds contain a whole host of trace nutrients and minerals, including nitrogen. Adding in two to three tablespoons of spent grounds into each hole helps provide fast energy to plants – especially young plants that can otherwise suffer from transplanting shock.
Just as with the worm castings, egg shells and compost, mix the grounds into the soil as you back fill. Be sure to only use spent grounds and not freshly ground coffee. Before it is steamed, fresh grounds contain acids that can be harmful to the soil and plants.
Here is to planting your tomatoes right this year – and to having a banner harvest come summer! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
As always, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! You can sign up for our free email list in the subscribe now box in the middle of this article. Follow us on Facebook here : OWG Facebook. This article may contain affiliate links.