Tomatoes are a favorite of home gardeners and are often the first vegetable that the novice gardener will attempt to grow. Now with hundreds of varieties available, tomatoes are divided into two main types: indeterminate and determinate. Indeterminate tomatoes should always be staked in the garden, as they will fall to the ground from the weight of the fruit as they mature. Older and heirloom varieties of tomatoes are most often of the indeterminate type. Determinate types of tomatoes will only reach a pre-determined height based on variety and are often used in container gardening. Transplants to the garden should be 5 to 8 inches in height and be planted after all danger of frost has passed.
Create a row in your garden for your tomato transplants. Use the handle end of a garden hoe to create a straight row to plant about 1 to 2 inches deep in the prepared soil.
Dig holes in the row every 2 feet for determinate types of tomatoes and 3 feet apart for indeterminate types. Dig the holes only slightly larger than the existing tomato container.
Gently remove the transplant from the existing container. This is not necessary if the transplants are in peat pots.
Place the root ball of the tomato plant into the dug hole. Backfill the hole with removed soil.
Apply starter fertilizer to each plant according to the package instructions. Water around each plant until the soil is moist, but the water is not standing.
Surround each plant with a wire tomato cage. This will keep the tomatoes from growing on the ground and help support the plant when the fruits appear and mature. If you don't have cages, pound a 4-foot wooden stake approximately 6 inches from the plant and begin tying the main trunk of the plant to the stake with plant tape when the plant reaches 12 inches in height.