Transplanting your tomato plants in to the ground can be done anytime after the last frost date, or more specifically, when soil temperatures are at least 55 ËšF to 60 ËšF and night air temperatures do not go below 45 ËšF. Determining the soil temperature can be tricky for both novice and experienced gardeners, which is why we recommend using a soil thermometer.
Before setting your plants in to the ground, consider their surroundings. Did you know that tomato plants are actually picky about who their neighbors are? Do not grow your tomatoes near corn because the corn earworm is identical to the tomato fruitworm. Also avoid planting near potatoes; when the two are together your potatoes become more susceptible to potato blight. Finally, tomatoes and all members of the cabbage family repel each other and should be kept separate. On the other hand, tomatoes are compatible and can be planted with or near chives, onion, parsley, marigold, nasturtium, carrot, and garlic. Be cautious about your tomato predecessors as well. When rotating your crops, avoid following potatoes, peppers, or eggplants in addition to all members of the family that includes tomatoes.
Some final considerations you should make prior to planting are the amount of sunlight and the soil conditions of your garden plot. First of all, tomatoes should be grown in a spot that will allow them to enjoy full sunlight. If you are unsure of how much light your garden plot is actually receiving, try using the SunCalc® Sunlight Calculator. Secondly, tomatoes should be planted in fertile soil with plenty of organic matter. Knowing the nutrient levels of your soil is essential to growing tomatoes. For example, soil with too much nitrogen, will produce leafy plants with little fruit. This is why we recommend using a Tomato Grower's Soil Test Kit. This kit is inexpensive and easy to use and will determine pH as well as NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) levels in your soil before you plant.
While this may seem like a lot of information to remember, we are confident that with these few considerations you will be growing successful tomatoes in no time. Feel free to utilize any of our tomato growing articles for help or guidance. Best of luck and happy gardening!