Planting Tomato Plants
in Containers
or Backyard Gardens

planting tomato plants

Easy steps for planting tomato plants in a container or backyard vegetable garden.

Learn how to plant, care for, water, and harvest tomatoes when gardening at home.

Create Your Own Free Square Foot Garden Or Planting Guide

With the weather on your side, buying tasteless store bought tomatoes during the summer months can be a thing of the past!

Your garden can produce a successful crop of delicious homegrown tomatoes every year to use on sandwiches, in salads, and homemade sauce recipes.

It is possible for anyone to become an expert at planting tomatoes, even gardeners who do not have enough gardening room for cultivating a traditional garden plot.

Download Free Garden Planning Worksheets, Garden Diary, Zone Chart, Or Planting Guide

Vegetable Gardening Tips for Planting Tomato Plants

healthy growing tomato plants

The most important vegetable gardening tip we can pass along is in selecting the proper varieties when planting tomatoes.

The average seed catalog offers 20 to 30 different tomato varieties.

Not all varieties will be suited for your climate or soil conditions.

However, there are dependable species that are easily grown, resistant to disease, and known for producing bumper crops of tasty tomatoes in just about any location.

Top Tomato Varieties

Small-sized fruits aka cherry tomatoes:

  • Sun Gold, Sweet 100, Sugary

Medium-sized fruits for slicing or salads:

  • Early Girl, Big Boy, Better Boy, Lemon Boy, Box Car Willie, Celebrity, Sioux, Paul Robeson

Large fruits aka beefsteak:

  • Goliath, German Johnson, Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine varieties

Medium-sized selections for shorter seasons:

  • Jetsetter, Early Girl, Stupice

Medium-sized choices for longer seasons:

  • Sunmaster, Homestead, Solar Fire, Porter's Pride

Favorite Heirloom Tomato Varieties:

  • Cherokee, and Brandywine

Planting Tomato Plants

ripe tomatoes in the garden
  • The plants prefer enriched soil, room to grow, and full sun. 
  • Tomatoes dislike cold temperatures. 
  • Plant your crops after the last frost date in your region. 
  • Choose a sunny area that will receive six hours or more of sunshine daily.

Planting Tomato Plants in a Container Garden

Tomatoes are one of the easier vegetables to grow in a container garden.

However, the crop yield will likely be less when the plant is grown in a container.

Use a large container, and fill it with high-quality potting soil.

Choose a small-growing or miniature plant variety, as these plants are better suited to container growing.

When growing tomatoes in containers, it is important to feed the plants frequently with liquid fertilizer.

It is also important to water the plants frequently, as soil in containers will dry out much more quickly than does the soil in a garden.

growing tomato plant in raised bed garden

Starting, Planting Tomato Plants from Seeds

Start the seeds indoors around eight weeks prior to the final frost date if you want to grow seedlings.

Plant the seedlings at a space of three feet apart.

Dig a hole about eight inches deep to hold the roots and the stem up to the first set of true leaves.

Planting tomatoes deeply helps the plants grow a strong root system, which in turn assists them in flourishing.

How to: Planting Tomato Plants in the Garden

small tomato plants ready to transplant
  • When planting tomatoes, put a tomato cage over each individual plant so you will not need to disturb the plant later on as it grows. 
  • As the plants grow higher, pull the growing branches through the cage to support them. 
  • This keeps foliage and fruit off the ground and makes it easier to harvest the produce.
  • It also safeguards the branches from snapping underneath the weight of the tomatoes.

Mulching Tomato Plants

  • Surround the tomato plants with a layer of mulch to deter weeds, insects, and plant diseases.
  • Mulching also helps conserve moisture. 
  • Organic mulches can be made of fallen leaves, straw, grass clippings, shredded newspaper, landscape cloth, or black plastic.

Fertilizing Tomatoes

  • By planting tomatoes in enriched soil, typically no additional fertilizers are required. 
  • It is a good idea to spread organics such as fish emulsion or compost teas as the seedlings are initially planted.
  •  Reapply the natural fertilizer when the first flowers appear.
planting tomato plants

Watering Tomato Plants

The secret to growing the best tomatoes is to water the plants frequently and deeply during the plant growth stage.

An ideal way for watering the crops is to use drip or soaker hose along the base of the tomato plants.

Utilizing this technique gets the moisture down to the roots without soaking the fruit or foliage, which causes mildew and other plant diseases.

Dig down a couple of inches every few days to check the soil below the surface.

If the soil is dry, water the plants.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that tomatoes need two gallons of water per plant each week.

The plants will require more watering during very dry and hot weather.

On the other hand, less water is required during rainy periods, and also after plant growth is achieved.

After the tomato plant begins setting fruit, reduce the amount of water given.

Having less water will stress the plant, and encourage fruit development rather than foliage growth.

In our area, (Oregon) we usually cut back on watering tomato plants around the 4th of July.

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Planting Tomato Plants to Vegetable Gardening

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