How to Plant Tomato Plants


Tomatoes, a popular and easy-to-grow vegetable, bear repeatedly during the growing season and have many culinary uses. Tomatoes are low in calories and rich in vitamins A and C as well as lycopene. Plant three to five tomato plants per person for fresh tomatoes to eat or cook with, or five to 10 plants per person to preserve them for winter use, too.

Step 1

Work a complete garden fertilizer such as NPK 8-32-16 or 6-24-24 into the upper 6 inches of soil with a garden tiller in early spring. Follow the fertilizer instructions for dosage.

Step 2

Dig holes for the tomato seedlings with a trowel or garden spade when the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees F. Make the holes about twice the diameter of the root ball and slightly deeper than the plants were in their pots. The lower leaves should be near the ground.

Step 3

Space the holes for the seedlings 24 to 36 inches apart for most garden varieties of tomatoes. Space dwarf varieties 12 inches between plants. Create rows 4 to 5 feet apart.

Step 4

Mix 2 tbsp. of NPK 10-52-17 or 15-30-15 fertilizer into 1 gallon of water. Stir well.

Step 5

Remove each seedling from its starter pot and place it in a prepared hole. Pour 1 cup of the fertilizer solution into the hole around the roots. Fill in around the plant with soil, firming slightly. If you are planting peat pots, make sure they are completely covered with soil.

Step 6

Water each tomato plant with about 2 qts. of water.

Step 7

Position a tomato cage around each tomato plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden tiller
  • Low-nitrogen garden fertilizer
  • Spade or trowel
  • Tomato fertilizer
  • Tomato cages


  • University of Illinois: Tomato
  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Home Garden Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M: Tomato
Keywords: plant tomatoes, transplant tomato plants, grow tomatoes

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.