How to Grow Tomatoes Easily

Overview

Tomatoes are an abundant producer in the garden, supplying an ample harvest with just a minimum of care. Grow tomatoes easily in your garden by taking advantage of nursery grown seedlings. Many purchased seedlings are grown from hybrid seed, chosen for their disease and insect resistance so there is less worry of problems in the garden. Using these seedlings in conjunction with other low-maintenance garden methods allows you to grow tomatoes without a lot of time or work.

Step 1

Prepare the garden bed for planting after all frost danger has passed in spring. Lay a drip irrigation hose along the planned tomato row, then cover the bed with a sheet of black plastic mulch. Anchor the edges of the mulch down with rocks or soil. Black plastic prevents weed growth and retains soil moisture, so you do not need to weed throughout the summer.

Step 2

Cut a hole in the mulch with a utility knife at each planting spot. Space the holes 24 inches apart in rows that are 4 feet apart.

Step 3

Plant the tomato seedlings into the planting holes 2 inches deeper than they are at in their nursery pots. Fill in around the plant with soil then water each plant with a starter fertilizer, following label application instructions.

Step 4

Place a tomato cage over each tomato after planting. Cages support plants without the need for pruning or tying throughout the garden season.

Step 5

Water the tomatoes once a week via the drip irrigation hoses. Irrigate until the top 6 inches of soil feel moist. If water pools on the black plastic after rainstorms, poke a few small holes in the area where puddles form to take advantage of natural water as irrigation.

Step 6

Harvest tomatoes as soon as the fruits are full-colored and firm. Frequent harvesting leads to further fruit set.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid heirloom tomato varieties if you prefer easy gardening. Heirloom varieties are often more prone to overgrowth, disease and pests.

Things You'll Need

  • Drip hoses
  • Plastic mulch
  • Utility knife
  • Starter fertilizer

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Tomatoes
  • North Carolina Extension: Growing Tomatoes for Home Use
Keywords: growing tomatoes easily, planting tomato seedlings, tomato plant care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.