How to Plant Better Boy Tomatoes

Overview

Better Boy tomato plants are resistant to nematodes, verticillium and fusarium wilt and are a popular tomato plant for the southern garden. They are an indeterminate type of tomato plant; they grow into long vines and produce tomatoes for a longer period than the bush type of tomato plants. Because of their large size, Better Boy tomato plants need to be attached to a support such as a trellis, cage or stake to prevent them from sprawling on the ground. Contact with the ground creates rotting and diseased fruit.

Step 1

Locate an area of the garden that is exposed to at least six hours of sunlight each day. Better Boy tomato plants produce the most tomatoes when exposed to as much sunlight as possible. Better Boy tomato plants are planted 36 inches apart so plan the required space accordingly. Plant Better Boy tomato plants after all danger of frost has passed.

Step 2

Remove all the weeds and rocks from the area and turn the soil using a shovel or tiller to a depth of 1 foot. Loosening the soil helps the tomato plants' roots get established easily.

Step 3

Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the planting area and using a hoe, work the compost into the top 6 inches of soil. Rake the area smooth with a rake. The area is now prepared for planting the Better Boy tomato plants.

Step 4

Remove the lower leaves from the Better Boy tomato plants up to the top leaf cluster that contains four to six leaves before planting. It is better to pinch off the lower leaves with your thumb and forefinger rather than use a hand cutting tool that may carry disease from one plant to another.

Step 5

Plant the Better Boy tomato plants at a depth that includes the entire bare stem up to the top leaf cluster. However, instead of planting the tomato plants straight down, plant at an angle with the bottom of the root ball no more than 6 inches below the ground. This may seem strange, but roots will develop along the buried stems creating sturdier plants and the compost-enriched soil and fertilizer is more accessible to the plants at that depth. Planting the root balls more than 6 inches below the surface places the main root systems out of the reach of the fertilizer applications. The exposed tops of the plants will begin growing straight up in a few days.

Step 6

Water the plants heavily to avoid transplant shock. Apply application of a standard garden fertilizer or a fertilizer specific to tomatoes after the tomato plants are actively growing. Follow the directions on the fertilizer container label carefully. Do not over-fertilize the Better Boy tomato plants or they will produce excess foliage at the expense of tomato production.

Things You'll Need

  • Better Boy tomato transplants
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake

References

  • NCSU: Growing Tomatoes for Home Use
  • OSU: Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden
  • Missouri Edu: Growing Home Garden Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: better boy, tomato plants, growing tomatoes

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.