Tomatoes are fairly easy to care for and grow as long as they are planted properly. Planting tomato plants requires some advance soil preparation to make sure the seedlings will have adequate nutrition while they develop. Once the soil is ready, planting tomato plants is a breeze. For best results, tomato plants shouldn't go into the ground until after the last frost of the season. The freezing temperatures can damage the plants, stunting their growth and their fruit production.
Work up the top 6 inches of the garden bed using a hand tiller, fluffing the soil and removing any stones and loose roots. Choose a spot that gets at least eight hours of full sunlight each day.
Sprinkle a 2-inch-thick, even layer of compost on top of the soil and work it into the dirt with the hand tiller. Spread a dose of high-phosphorus fertilizer in a single layer on top of the garden bed and mix it into the soil with the tiller.
Set the tomato seedlings, still in their pots, out in the garden for a couple of evenings. When planting tomato plants, hardening off the seedlings to the outdoor temperatures can increase their hardiness.
Dig 3- to 4-inch-deep holes about 24 to 36 inches apart in the prepared garden bed. Loosen the seedlings from their pots and place one in each hole.
Mix a fertilizer solution of 2 tbsp. of water-soluble fertilizer to a gallon of water, then pour one cup of the solution around the base of each seedling before filling in the hole with dirt. Fill in the hole, patting down the surface of the soil to smooth it.
Place a wooden stake in the soil, about 3 inches from each seedling. Do not tie the seedlings to the stakes at this time; they need to grow freely until the first flowers develop.