Planting Organic Tomatoes? These Tips Will Help Them Thrive

Follow these simple steps when planting your organic tomatoes.

Organic Tomatoes are the hallmark of summer.

There’s nothing quite like a tomato fresh from the vine — still sun-warm as you drizzle it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt.

Which is why you should plant tomatoes in your garden this year.

Whether you started your own or bought seedlings from a local farm, there are a few important steps to take as you plant organic tomatoes.

They’re simple, but these steps will help ensure your tomato plants root in and focus their energy on the main stalk for a strong start to a bountiful season.

Remember:

Plant your tomatoes deep.

The hairs on the tomato plant will turn into roots when they touch soil, so planting them 4-6″ deep will help the plant create a stronger root system.

Prune the suckers.

Pinch or snip off the suckers (the off-shoots between the leaves and main stalk) so the plant can focus its energy in one direction.

You can choose to have one main stalk or to let one sucker turn into a second stalk – what we call the second leader.

More than two leaders will decrease your overall tomato yield.

Clip low leaves.

Tomatoes thrive with air flow, which decreases the chances of disease. Be sure to clip the lower leaves so no foliage is touching the soil.

Water them in.

With all transplants, it’s vital that they get water as they’re rooting in. This helps decrease transplant shock. We plant our tomatoes in a hoop house and lay drip-tape along the bed so they get watered right away.

And that’s it!

Whether you’re planting in a hoop house, greenhouse, outside, or in a container, follow these simple steps to help your tomato transplants thrive.

Are you planting tomatoes this year? Wondering what varieties to choose?

Check out these 7 Must-Have Organic Tomato Varieties for the Home & Market Garden.

2 thoughts on “Planting Organic Tomatoes? These Tips Will Help Them Thrive”

  1. hi kate!

    what amendments do you use, as the plants are first planted, and then through growth, and finally to flower set and fruiting?

    secondly, are you watering each day for first two weeks or so? we have drip installed in our hoophouse too!

    thank you!

    1. Hey Erin, we typically plant into a freshly composted bed and then will fertilize as needed. It really depends on your soil and what it needs, so it’s best to do a soil test, and then determine what to add from there.

      We do water each day for the first couple of weeks. This helps the plant focus on vegetative growth, which the plant needs to be able to produce more over the entire season.

      In the vegetative stage, we water more often and try to keep the temperature steady to decrease the overall stress on the plants.

      In the generative stage, when the plants are producing fruit, we introduce intentional stress, with less frequent watering and larger temperature ranges (for us, that means no longer keeping the heat on in the greenhouse at night, and allowing the natural temperature swing from day to night).

      Tomtaoes in general don’t like to be wet. You want to give them the opportunity to soak up everything, and then water them again when they’re dry. We’ve found that to be about 2 – 3 days between waterings.

      Tomatoes can be prone to disease that can be exacerbated by too much water, so keep an eye on them and adjust as needed. We’re still learning more about how to best grow tomatoes every year, and there’s always more to discover!

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