7 Things You Should Never Do when Planting Tomatoes

Do you want to do things right when planting your tomatoes? Do you want to grow lots of large, tasty tomatoes? If you do these 7 things, then you will probably still get a tomato harvest. However, if you don’t do these 7 things when you plant your tomatoes, then your harvest has the potential to be HUGE!!! So, if you want to be the envy of all your gardening friends, then make sure you never do these 7 things…

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#1: Never Plant your Tomatoes in the Same Place

Now, I know this is a pretty heated topic that gets tossed around a lot between home gardeners. Some will tell you that rotating your vegetable’s location is a must, while others will say they’ve never rotated their plants and they’ve have had great results for over 20 years. But here’s the deal…

Tomatoes will use different nutrients than other vegetables. They also have specific pests that enjoy eating them. Ideally, you can supplement the nutrients by adding compost and fertilizer year after year. So that problem is solved. And some would say that if you have a small garden, then your pests are going to find your tomatoes eventually.

However, for the new gardener, I would say don’t worry about making a huge spreadsheet tracking plant families and religiously rotating. Instead, if you don’t want to add a lot of nutrients to your soil year after year, then just plant your tomatoes somewhere they haven’t been for a couple of years. So for all of you beginners, NEVER plant your tomatoes in the same place, and your plants will stay healthy!

Never Plant in Same Location

#2: Never Plant in Cold Soil

Tomato plants like to stay warm. If you plant your tomatoes too early, it will actually stunt your tomato plant’s growth. Don’t plant it until night temperatures are consistently around 50 F (10 C). At this point your soil should be warm enough for your plants.

Never Plant in Cold Soil

#3: Never Place at Original Planting Depth

When you plant your tomatoes, cut off any lower branches. Leave the top branches intact (more or less depending on the size of your plant). Then place it low enough in the soil that all of the bare stem is buried. Roots will grow from the exposed stem and will give your plant a much larger and established root system. And more roots will give you a healthier plant, which will in turn give you a bigger, better harvest.

Confused by this step? Watch the YouTube video at the bottom of this post to see it in action!

How to Plant Tomatoes: Never Plant at Original Depth

#4: Never Cut the Edges of your Stem

Some people ‘nick’ the sides of their tomato plant stem before planting it beneath the soil. In theory, this will stimulate more locations of root growth. however, this also opens up more locations for bacteria to enter your plant. This can also severely damage your plant if you aren’t experienced with this method. Because of these two reasons, I suggest that you should never cut your stem. The only marks it should have is the pruning cuts where you removed the lower branches.

How to Plant Tomatoes: Never Cut the Sides

#5: Never Wait to Add Support

You should add your support system (tomato cage, poles, trellis, etc.) at the time you are planting. If you wait to install a support system until the plant is large enough to need it, you will most likely damage your plant’s root system during installation. And if you damage the root system, then your harvest will definitely take a hit as well. So don’t wait to add support! Instead, make it a habit to install it when you plant.

How to Plant Tomatoes: Never Wait to Add Support

#6: Never Plant in an Empty Hole

When you dig a hole for your tomato plant, don’t just refill it with soil and be done with it. Instead, you should fill your hole with things your plant will use over the course of the summer. The most common items added to the bottom of the hole includes egg shells, coffee grounds, worm castings, and small amounts of compost. If you nourish your plants from the start, then they will reward you with a great harvest!

How to Plant Tomatoes: Never Plant in an Empty Hole

#7: Never Plant Next to These…

There are several types of plants that will fight with your tomatoes. You should never plant your tomatoes next to these:

  1. Fennel, Walnut, or Dill – all inhibit growth of tomato plants
  2. Corn, Potatoes, Eggplant, or Peppers – all share the same pests and diseases, so grouping causes an increase of pests or diseases
  3. The Entire Brassica Family – broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, turnips, collards, and rutabaga… these guys just don’t get along
Never Plant Tomatoes Next to These...

So those are the 7 things you should never do when planting tomatoes. I hope this list gave you some ideas of what not to do, as well as some ideas of what you should be doing instead! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.

I’ve also included an awesome YouTube video from The Rusted Garden showing exactly how to plant your tomatoes. He also includes a few great tips on how to care for them as they grow, so make sure to hit the play button below!

Happy Digging!

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