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How To Avoid The 3 Biggest Tomato Planting Mistakes – And Grow Great Tomatoes!

One of the best ways to ensure an amazing home-grown crop of tomatoes is to get your tomato plants off to a great start on planting day – and that means avoiding 3 of the biggest and most common tomato planting mistakes gardeners make when they first put their plants in the ground!

Tomatoes are the number one most grown backyard vegetable of all. And it’s so easy to see why! This amazing fruit is not only tasty fresh, but the perfect ingredient to create salsas, sauces and a long list of delicious dishes.

But when it comes to flavor and freshness, you just can’t beat growing your own! Even the freshest of store bought tomatoes can’t hold a candle to a just-picked backyard tomato. The color. The sugary-sweet taste. And that juicy, meaty flesh that brings your taste buds to life!

mistakes planting tomatoes
How and when you plant your tomato plants plays a huge role in just how well they will perform!

But as amazing as growing your own tomatoes can be, it can be a frustrating process for many gardeners. What starts out early in the season with high hopes of an incredible harvest often quickly turns to disappointment as their plants fail to grow and produce. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Getting Plants Off To A Great Start – How To Avoid The 3 Biggest Tomato Planting Mistakes

Sadly, more often than not, when gardeners have trouble growing tomatoes, it can all be traced back to one important day – planting day! The truth is, when and how your tomato plants go in the ground is incredibly vital to both their short and long term success.

Plant your tomatoes right, and you set the stage for fast, healthy growth and strong blooms. But get them off on the wrong foot – and pests, disease and trouble are sure to find your plants in short order.

The good news is getting them off to that fast start isn’t difficult. In fact, by simply avoiding three of the the most common planting day mistakes covered below, you can all but set your tomato plants up for big success. And, of course, a huge harvest!

planting early - tomato planting mistakes
One of the biggest mistakes of all is planting plants too early. Not only can it put them at risk of a late frost, plants that sit in cool soil also fail to develop strong roots and stems.

How To Avoid The 3 Biggest Tomato Planting Mistakes – And Grow Great Tomatoes!

#1) Planting Too Early

There is always a rush of excitement when gardening season arrives. But unfortunately, when it comes to planting tomatoes, putting the brakes on that excitement for just a few extra weeks can pay big dividends for your tomato plants – and the success of your future harvest.

One of the biggest mistakes gardeners make with their tomato plants is putting them in the ground too early. Not only can early planting put plants at risk of damage from a late frost, the cool weather can all but stop their growth too!

Tomato plants love warm weather. Even more, the roots of tomato plants love warm soil. When forced to sit in cool soil, the roots struggle to absorb nutrients and water. Instead, they shrivel. And when they do, the plants sit stagnant in the soil.

Allow your garden soil to warm to a minimum of 65°(F) before planting. Allowing the soil to reach 70° is even better. At this temperature, the roots of plants will expand rapidly.

So how do you know if your soil is warm enough? The easiest way is to use an inexpensive instant read thermometer. In just seconds, it can tell you the soil’s temperature down at the root level. Affiliate Link: Soil Thermometer – 5-in Stainless Steel Stem

tomato planting mistakes
Allowing the soil to warm into the 70’s (F) before planting can pay big dividends for your plants.

#2) Planting Too Shallow – How To Avoid The 3 Biggest Tomato Planting Mistakes

Right behind planting too early as a common mistake is planting your tomato plants too shallow in the ground. The deeper the roots of your tomato plant are, the most moisture and nutrients they can soak in. Deep roots also help shield tomato plants from the hot summer sun – and from drying out too quickly.

When planting tomato transplants, it’s best to always plant 2/3rds of the plant under the surface of the soil. Even if your tomato plants have leaves up to that point.

The tiny hairs are that all along the stem of a tomato plant are actually root sprouts. And when planted in soil, all of those hairs then grow into an extensive root system. One that can help to both absorb moisture and nutrients all summer long.

For a typical 10″ to 12″ tall tomato transplant, plant 7″ to 9″ under the surface of the soil. It may make your plant look small, but it will take off quickly. And even better, have an incredibly strong root structure to boot!

deep roots
By planting your transplants deep, a larger, more robust root system can form.

#3) Not Mulching The Soil – How To Avoid The 3 Biggest Tomato Planting Mistakes

Last but not least, don’t make the mistake of leaving your soil bare after planting! Once you finish planting your tomatoes, whatever you do, cover the soil underneath them with mulch.

Mulch is critical for the success of your tomato plants in so many ways. First and foremost, it helps to keep competing weeds from stealing nutrients from your plants. But it also helps to regulate the soil temperature, allowing your plants to avoid the shock from cool nights or hot days.

Even more, that same mulch also helps to preserve valuable moisture in the soil – and it can help to shield your plant from spores in the soil that can cause blight. See: The Best Mulch For Tomato Plants – 4 Amazing Mulches To Use To Grow Better Tomatoes!

For best results, apply a thick, four inch layer of straw, shredded leaves or grass clippings about 12 inches in diameter from your plants. When mulching, leave the mulch a few inches away from the main stem to keep it safe from rot.

bare soil
Allowing the soil to remain bare after planting is asking for all kinds of issues. Mulch your plants as soon as you plant!

As your plants continue to grow, thicken the layer to around six inches. This will more than help your plants stay strong, healthy – and productive as summer rolls around! Here is to avoiding 3 of the most common tomato planting mistakes of all, and getting your tomatoes off to their best start ever this year!

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