Tomatoes can be seeded directly or transplanted into the garden. They are best planted on raised
beds made by adding large amounts of sifted compost or other soil amendments so that a bed is established
above the previous level of soil.
If seeding, plant more seeds than necessary so
as to make up for any losses from insects such as cutworms.
Plant seeds in rows with 3 to 5 feet between rows. Push
them into the soil 1 inch deep. Fill these holes by
scratching the surface, firm the soil lightly, and cover
with a thin mulch of grass clippings or other organic
material in order to hold soil moisture. Water well and
keep moist during the germination period. When the plants
are about 3 inches high,
thin to 2 feet apart down the row.
For transplants, use young plants, 3 weeks old
with 4 to 6 true leaves, wider than tall, stocky, succulent,
and slightly hardened to outdoor conditions. Make sure
the planting site is level and smooth. Spread and
mix organic matter and a high-phosphorus fertilizer over
the area. Mark where you want each plant and make the
hole deep enough to bury the stem as far as the first
leaf. Tip the plant out of a plastic pot to remove it.
If it's in a peat pot, tear the
top edge off so it can't act as a wick. Place the
plant deep into the hole. Place plants about 2 feet apart
in 4- to 5-feet rows. Press the soil firmly around the
plant and water thoroughly to remove
any air pockets. If transplanting in the summer,
shade the plants in the middle of the day for the first
week or use floating row cover.