How to Plant Tomato Seedlings


Fresh garden tomatoes add extra flavor to summer time recipes, and the plants provide enough yield to hold you through the entire growing season. Tomatoes are typically started indoors and the seedlings are then transplanted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. You can purchase seedlings from a nursery, or start your own indoors. Once you have your seedlings, it's important to know how to plant them outside in your vegetable garden. Here's how to transplant your tomato seedlings.

Step 1

Begin to transplant your tomato seedlings after the last frost when they are at least two inches tall.

Step 2

Acclimatize your tomato seedlings by setting them in a partially shady location outside for two hours. Increase this time to four hours the next day. Keep your plants outside in the shade the entire third day.

Step 3

Put your tomato plants in direct sunlight the fourth day for two hours. Increase to four hours of direct sunlight the following day. Leave your plants out all day the sixth and seventh day.

Step 4

Select an area in your garden that gets direct sunlight and has well-drained soil.

Step 5

Dig a hole large enough for your tomato seedling's root ball. Mix one-fourth cup of organic compost into the soil. Set the roots into the hole and cover them with soil to the first set of leaves on the stem. Press the soil firmly around the roots

Step 6

Continue to transplant your other seedlings by spacing them one and a half feet apart.

Step 7

Add mulch around your seedlings. Water immediately to dampen the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato seedlings
  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Mulch


  • Transplanting
  • Seed Starting Tips
  • Growing Tomatoes
Keywords: transplanting, starting vegetables, tomato seedlings

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for over 15 years. Coe is the former publisher of the politics and art magazine Flesh from Ashes. She has worked to protect water and air quality. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University.