Home gardeners often devote much of their time and energy to their tomato plants. Many people believe it's worth the effort because a home-grown tomato tastes so much better than what you can find at the grocery store. Tomatoes sometimes get a reputation for being difficult to grow, but with its warm summer days, the climate in Georgia is perfect for growing these delicious fruits.
Find a spot to grow your tomato plants. Tomatoes love hot, sunny days, so try to find a spot that gets at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Also, make sure you have well-draining soil so the plant roots do not get too wet.
Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the seedling's entire root structure. Seedlings should be planted as deep as their first set of leaves. In Georgia, the weather becomes sufficient for outdoor tomato planting between mid-March and early May.
Set the seedling in the hole, taking care to let the roots settle gently so they are not damaged.
Pack the surrounding soil back into the hole so no air remains. Air pockets in the soil can prevent the tomato plants from growing properly.
Repeat steps 2 to 4 with remaining tomato seedlings. Plants should be spaced 2 feet apart. Rows of plants should be spaced 4 feet to 6 feet apart.
Water the plants thoroughly so they begin to establish their roots. During the growing season, tomatoes need between 1 inch and 2 inches of water per week. If rain is not in the forecast, water the plants once or twice each week.
Fertilize the plants after planting with a 5-10-10 or 10-5-10 fertilizer. The initial fertilizer should be light and can be made by mixing 2 tablespoons of fertilizer into a gallon of water. Apply the fertilizer at the base of the plant, but be careful not to get it on the stem so it is not damaged. A second application should be made once the plants begin to bear fruit, then every three or four weeks during the growing season.
Stake your plants or place tomato cages around them after planting to provide them with the support they will need when they reach their full height. If you are using stakes, place them into the ground about 1 foot deep between 4 inches and 6 inches from the plant. Tie the plants to the stake every 10 inches, and continue to apply them as they grow.
Things You Will Need
- Tomato plants
- Stakes or cages
- You can start tomatoes inside from a seed about four to seven weeks before they should be transplanted outdoors.
- The hot weather typical of a Georgia summer can dry out tomato plants, so you may want to mulch around your plants to prevent them from drying out. Apply 2 inches to 3 inches around the base of each plant.
- Tomatoes should not be harvested until they have fully ripened for best quality. Once picked, they will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
- Tomatoes should not be planted in the same place each season and should not be planted near peppers or eggplants or where those vegetables were planted the prior summer. This can lead to diseases and pests that can damage or even kill the plants.