Fresh tomatoes in the garden during the summer time are always a treat. Any gardener, regardless of his experience, can expect to harvest a high yield of tomatoes providing optimal growing conditions are met. This increases the health of the tomato plants which in turn leads them to produce more fruit.
Select a garden area for your tomatoes that receives full sun all day. The area needs to be large enough so the tomatoes will not be overcrowded, allowing for each plant to grow up to 4 to 6 feet tall and a couple feet wide. Overcrowding will reduce the yield of tomatoes that each plant bears.
Prepare the garden soil in early spring as soon as it is workable and chance of frost has passed. Use a shovel to loosen the soil and remove large clumps of dirt and any large rocks. Mix in a bucket full of organic compost to help improve the soil so it drains better. This allows adequate moisture to reach the roots without them getting water logged, which can lead to root rot.
Create raised areas that are approximately 3 to 4 feet wide and about 4 to 6 inches high. Space rows 4 feet apart. Raised growing areas are important for keeping the soil warmer around the roots, which encourages strong root development and quicker plant growth.
Dig a hole for each plant in the raised area. Make the hole approximately three times the depth of the root ball and about twice as wide. Space the holes 1 to 2 feet apart.
Remove the lower leaves from the stem of each tomato plant, leaving only the top two sets of leaves. Place each plant in a hole so the top leaves are directly above the ground's surface. Planting deeply encourages a stronger root system. Fill in the hole with soil and tamp down firmly around the base of each plant.
Water the newly planted tomatoes deeply using a soaker hose. Water several times a week to keep the soil moist. Ensure it does not dry out completely in between waterings. During warmer months you may need to water a little more often if the soil dries out quicker, since dry soil can reduce the yield of tomatoes your plants will produce.
Fertilizer with a food made for tomatoes that is higher in phosphorus and potassium, the last two numbers on the product label, to encourage a higher yield of tomatoes. Apply the first round of fertilizer about two weeks after planting. Apply again when flowers appear, and finally when the fruit appears.
Apply a layer of mulching material around each tomato plant after planting to help maintain adequate moisture in the soil, control weeds and maintain temperature of the soil. Use a shredded bark, chopped leaves or compost.