With summer in full bloom it’s time to start planting some delicious summer fruits and vegetables. So we thought that now would be the perfect time to teach you aspiring green thumbs how to plant and grow your very own heirloom tomatoes. Couldn’t be a better time to start thinking about tomatoes, especially with the 18th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival happening in just a few short months!
How to Plant your Heirloom Tomato Plant:
Note: This tutorial is for starter heirloom tomato plants.
Like any plant that produce fruit, you’ll want to make sure that you use high-quality vegetable soil — we recommend using a professional potting mix or a raised bed mix from a local landscape supply company. The better the soil, the more high-quality fruit it will produce.
Another thing to keep in mind is how much space an heirloom tomato plant needs to grow. The examples we show are grown in large, half-wine barrel planters — one plant per planter. These heirloom tomato plants use a lot of soil and will need a lot of space to grow. No matter the planter you use, be sure that it has proper drainage to allow water to escape.
Start by removing any low-hanging stems — simply pinch them with your fingers and pluck them off. Look for any flowers and remove those as well. They shouldn’t be on your tomato plant in the early stages as this will cause the plant to focus on the flower instead of growing and creating healthy tomatoes in the coming weeks.
You’ll notice that your plant has little hairs that look like spiderwebs. These will later become the roots of your plant so you’ll want to be sure to bury your plant deep in the soil.
Pour soil into planter (about half full — you’ll want to leave enough room to be able to cover the base of the plant).
Squeeze the base of the container to release the heirloom tomato plant.
Once the plant comes free, flip it upside down to ensure that you’re not pulling on the plant and possibly separating it from its roots.
Spread the soil around to even it out. Make sure that you bury the plant up to the first stem.
Once the plant is situated in its new home, soak the soil throughout.
- Don’t over water your heirloom tomato plant. These plants are incredibly resilient and don’t need to be watered daily. Your plant will do best if you thoroughly soak the soil through about once a week.
- Use a tomato cage to hold the plant up.
- Chicken eggshells can add calcium to the soil, which is good to help prevent blossom end rot.
- Feel free to use rocks or shells to the bottom of your container if you have an enormous planter. This can help you from having to fill the entire container with soil and will provide more efficient drainage.
- Tomatoes love sun, so try to grow them in a location that gets at least 7 hours of sunlight per day.
Although your tomatoes will produce better fruit if they don’t have any competition near them, feel free to plant basil and/or marigolds (which are edible and repel insects) in the same planter to maximize your garden’s space.