The tomato, with the scientific name Solanum lycopersicum , is a solanaceous plant that is grown in gardens and pots and is consumed both fresh and cooked for an infinite number of dishes, sauces and other preparations. The fruit of this plant is so consumed all over the world that it is grown almost everywhere and it is actually very easy to grow, if you know a few tips. To start having tomatoes in the garden, the first thing is to sow or plant them. Thus, if you are not able to imagine a complete garden without some tomato plants, keep reading us in this article, in which we teach you how to plant tomatoes step by step .
When to plant tomatoes
Tomatoes should be sown when the last frosts have passed, between early and mid spring. Logically, the specific months depend a lot on the specific climate of each area, so the most important thing is to make sure that we are not going to have temperatures below zero degrees.
In addition, although it is possible to sow the tomato plant directly on the ground, we are going to explain to you how to sow first in the seedbed, thus being able to sow between late winter and early spring . In this way, we can advance the entire process between 4 and 6 weeks, allowing us to enjoy our fresh tomatoes much earlier. Also, if what you are thinking about is planting tomatoes from the already somewhat developed plant because you have a tomato plant seedling, this range of months is also the most optimal for it.
How to plant tomatoes step by step
We will first explain how to plant tomatoes and then the best way to plant them. In case you do not have seeds and you choose to buy a small tomato plant, go directly to the section on planting tomatoes step by step , as it is the process to locate the tomato seedlings in the final place.
Sowing tomatoes in the seedbed step by step
- Prepare the seedbed: You can use any container, from specialized plastic seedlings to polystyrene drawers. In any case, it is important to make small drainage holes in the bottom if the container does not have them.
- Prepare the seedbed mixture: the ideal is to prepare a mixture with a part of peat, another of coconut fiber and another of worm humus, to which we will then add a little vermiculite and perlite. With this rich mixture, you will have no problem getting your tomatoes to germinate.
- Choose tomato seeds: choose a tomato variety suitable for your climate.
- Sow the tomatoes: spread the seeds in a small row or hole made with your finger, no more than 1 centimeter deep. Water the mixture abundantly after planting the tomatoes, and keep the substrate always moist until the seeds germinate, which will take about 10-15 days. It is important that you keep the seedbed somewhere warm and well lit.
After 4-6 weeks, your tomato plants should be ready to be transplanted to their outdoor location.
Planting tomatoes step by step
- Make a shallow hole, slightly larger than the size of the root ball, and cover the bottom of it with a layer of worm castings , or some other organic compost.
- Then bury the tomato plant, leaving part of the stem below ground level.
- Respect a distance of between 40 and 50 centimeters between the different plants.
- After transplanting, water the tomato plants. It is important that, when watering, you try to wet the soil and not the plant, to avoid excess humidity.
- Tomato combines very well with onions and some aromatic ones like basil, so if you have them, plant them next to your tomato plants.
Tomatoes – basic care
Now that we have seen how to sow and plant tomatoes , it is important to know the essential factors to know how to care for tomatoes correctly, so that our tomato plants develop without problems and we can obtain these delicious fruits.
Soil or substrate
Tomato is a somewhat demanding plant in terms of soil nutrients, so, as we explained above, it is necessary to enrich the substrate or soil with abundant organic matter. In addition, the soil should offer good drainage, so that very clay soils that easily puddle are not suitable for tomato plants.
Watering the tomatoes
The most vital thing with irrigation is that it be regular. Too widely spaced and abundant waterings will not do good to tomato plants, which suffer a lot from excess humidity, even if they are occasional. It is better to water often and in less quantity. Once the fruit is ripening, you can reduce the waterings somewhat so that its flavor is concentrated.
Many recommend mulching in this crop, although it should be done well into spring to give the soil time to warm up.
The tomato plants will appreciate having some rods or wires that serve as a support, to hold on them and keep their fruits off the ground. Nail a stick or cane for each plant to give it support.
Prune the tomato plants
Some tomato varieties require pruning approximately two weeks after transplanting outdoors. This consists of the removal of the axillary shoots, although it is not necessary to apply it in all varieties.