Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, low in calories and enjoyed in a variety of recipes and cuisines. They are popular to grow in Oklahoma home gardens due to their small space requirements and the large fruit harvest they provide. The best time to plant tomatoes in Marlow, Oklahoma, is early spring once the soil warms above 60 degrees Farenheit. Varieties of tomatoes that grow well throughout the state of Oklahoma are Better Boy, Big Beef, Brandywine, Celebrity, Floradade and Heatwave.
Select a planting location that receives full sunlight and has a nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Test the soil pH to verify it is 6.2 to 6.5. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil at least two weeks prior to planting to lower the pH if needed.
Work 100 pounds of composted manure into each 100 square feet of garden space to a depth of 10 inches with a tiller at least two weeks prior to planting.
Plant tomato seedlings or starter plants in the garden once the soil temperature is greater than 60 degrees Farenheit. The soil in Marlow, Oklahoma, usually reaches this temperature around the first week of April.
Dig a hole for each plant that is slightly deeper than its current container so the lower leaves will be close to the ground, forcing the plant to grow a deep root system. Set each plant in a hole.
Fertilize tomato plants when they reach one third of their mature size by applying ammonium nitrate or a 10-20-10 fertilizer into the soil several inches from the stem of the plant. Do not touch the plant with fertilizer because it will burn the foliage. Water the soil well after applying fertilizer to increase the absorption rate.
Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants to prevent weed growth and assist with moisture retention. Dry grass clippings are popular tomato mulch. An alternative is to lay black or red plastic sheeting around the plants.
Support tomato plants by placing a cage or stakes around each plant. Cages keep the plant off the ground to prevent fruit and stem damage.
Provide supplemental water to tomato plants when the weekly rainfall is less than one inch. Tomato plants grow best when the soil is evenly moist so it does not dry out during the growing season. Monitor the soil moisture during periods of drought, as additional water may be required.