Many people like to start tomato plants from seed. This is especially helpful if you want a particular cultivar or if you are growing a lot of plants. There are many varieties sold as seedlings to be transplanted into the home garden, so starting from seed isn’t really necessary.
Preparing the soil –
Make sure the soil is dry enough to dig in, and warm enough to plant in. It’s also a good idea the check to make sure it is past the last frost date for your area. Clear the area for your tomato patch, being sure to allow plenty of room for each plant. If the plants are too crowded they will compete for food and moisture. It will also make harvesting the fruit difficult if they are too crowded.
Spread organic material, such as compost or peat moss, over the cleared area. Add a layer of fertilizer that is balanced for tomatoes, such as a 5-10-10. Check out this post for more information on which fertilizer to use:
Dig this in to 10″ deep. This can be done with a shovel or a rototiller.
Decide where the plants will go. Dig deep holes so that the seedlings can be planted deep. Plant so that the first set of leaves is just above the ground. If the seedlings is very leggy, bury it very deep. Roots will develop along the stem that is buried. Firm the soil around each plant. Water in slowly and thoroughly.
Mulching is extremely important in growing tomatoes. The mulch will help the soil retain the moisture, shade the roots and keep weeds from growing. Mulch with organic matter, or with plastic sheeting if you need to warm the soil. The black plastic controls weeds more thoroughly.
It’s a good idea to set the support in place at the time of planting or soon after.