If you plant your tomatoes right, they will reward you with huge amounts of fruit later in the season.
Giving your tomato plants enough space and planting them at the right time are perhaps the two most important factors that determine how much fruit you get to harvest.
In this post, I cover everything you need to know about optimizing your tomato production by giving your plants enough space and planting them at the right time as well as two planting methods that can really kickstart your production.
How Far Apart Should You Plant Tomatoes For Good Results?
Now we know that planting your tomatoes deep can lead to healthier plants and better harvests but another important thing to know about when planting tomatoes is how far apart from each other the plants should be.
How far apart you should place your tomato plants depends if you are growing a determinate or indeterminate variety. Determinate tomato varieties grow to a certain size and produce all their fruit at around the same time and then stop (hence the name) and Indeterminate tomato varieties keep growing and producing fruit for the entire growing season.
Indeterminate tomato varieties should be planted with 3-4 feet (91-122 cm) of space between them. Determinate tomato varieties can be planted 2 feet (60 cm) apart since they do not grow as large as indeterminate varieties.
You can probably place your tomatoes a bit closer than this but I recommend giving them enough space. That way the roots or the plants themselves won’t get in the way of each other and they can grow freely.
It may seem like a lot but especially indeterminate tomato plants will grow a lot so I recommend giving them space to give your plants the best growing conditions and avoid issues later on.
What Time of the Year is it Best to Plant Tomatoes?
Tomato plants love sun and warm weather but they cannot withstand frost and will die if the temperatures drop below 32°F (0°C).
The best time of the year to grow tomatoes depends on whether you are growing a determinate or an indeterminate variety.
The best time of the year to plant indeterminate tomatoes is in the spring as soon as there is no risk of frost. This gives them the longest possible time to grow and produce fruit. Determinate tomato plants usually produce fruit within 3 months and can be planted and grow as long as there is no frost.
I prefer to be able to pick a couple of fresh tomatoes every day rather than get a lot of tomatoes at the same time, so I mostly grow indeterminate tomato varieties.
I like to start my tomato plants from seed and to get the most possible out of my tomato plants, I usually try to start my seeds indoors in small containers a few weeks before the last expected frost. This can of course be difficult to time perfectly but that is alright.
If you are not 100% sure that the temperatures won’t get too low, you can cover your plants at night for the first few weeks.
How to Deep Plant Tomatoes in 9 Easy Steps
Deep planting tomatoes is easy and can make a huge difference, especially if you are growing an indeterminate tomato variety, so it is definitely worth it to learn how to do it.
I give you a quick overview of how to deep plant tomatoes here so you can decide if it sounds interesting to you, but since it is my favorite way of planting tomatoes, I have written a much more detailed guide with photos of everything which you can find here.
Anyways, here is a quick summary of how to deep plant tomatoes:
- Find a sunny spot in your garden.
- Dig a hole that is 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) deep.
- Remove branches near the bottom of the plant.
- Remove the container from the tomato plant.
- Place your tomato plant in the hole.
- Fill the hole with soil around the plant.
- Put some plant support for the tomato plant.
- Water your tomato plant well.
- Prune and water your plant often.
The whole point of planting tomatoes deep is that roots will grow all around the part of the stem that is underground, and the more comprehensive the root system is, the better the plants grow.
Other than getting larger and likely producing more fruit, a tomato plant that was planted deep is also not at as high risk of being overwatered. You can read more about that on this link.
It may seem like a waste of good tomato plants to bury such a large part of them but trust me, deep planting tomatoes is an excellent way to increase the overall yield of your plants as well as the quality of the fruit.
Another excellent way to grow tomatoes is by using the trench method. It works similarly to deep planting since a big part of the stem is buried to grow roots. Let’s get into it!
How to Plant Tomatoes Using the Trench Method
The trench method allows you to cover a large part of the main stem with soil and thereby make your plant grow lots of roots without having to dig very deep. This is perfect if you for instance have a garden bed with a net or similar as a bottom that prevents you from digging deep.
When using the trench method to plant tomatoes, rather than digging deep, dig a trench and bury your tomato plants sideways while leaving only the top of the plants above the soil. This will promote root growth from the entire part of the main stem that is covered in soil.
In this video, you can see some excellent, simple tips for growing better tomatoes. The deep trench method for planting tomatoes is explained perfectly in the first 2 minutes of the video.