How To Plant A Tomato Plant

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:10 am on Friday, April 24, 2015

savvyhousekeeping how to plant a tomato

People ask me how I get 5-foot tomato plants loaded with fruit. I use my dad’s method. The secret ingredient? Cow manure. Tomatoes like a lot of fertilizer, so I mix the cow manure with the dirt and use that to fill in the hole. It works great. Here’s more:

How To Plant A Tomato:

You will need:

    A tomato plant
    Well-prepared soil
    A bag of cow manure
    Watering can


Step 1: Buy your tomato plant or grow it from seed. Prepare your soil for planting.

Step 2: Dig a deep hole, about a foot or so deep.

Step 3: Mix the dirt from the hole with cow manure. Take about one-third of the bag of manure and stir it into the dirt until it is about 50 dirt/50 manure. It is important to mix the manure since it would be too hard on the plant to just put manure in the hole. Adding the dirt cuts the heat of the manure and still gives the plant plenty of fertilizer.

Step 4: Prepare the plant by pulling off all the leaves except for the top bush of the tomato. So it will go from this:

savvyhousekeeping how to plant a tomato

To this:

savvyhousekeeping how to plant a tomato plant

I will put most of the tomato plant underground with only the top poking out. Why? All the stem you see there will grow roots, which will give the plant twice the roots it already has. That leads to a stronger, healthier plant that produces a lot of tomatoes.

Step 5: Plant the tomato plant. Remove it from the pot. Put a little bit of the dirt/manure mixture in the bottom of the hole and sit the tomato plant on top. Fill in the hole using the manure mixture. At the top, pack plain dirt around the plant. Make a little mound and a ditch around it for water to collect, like so:

savvyhouskeeping how to plant a tomato plant

Step 6:
Thoroughly water the plant. Keep adding water until the ground saturates and the little ditch around the plant fills with a puddle of water. Voila, you’re done.

It’s important to note that this method is just for tomato plants. Many plants can’t handle the heat of the cow manure and still other plants won’t root if you strip their leaves off. But with tomatoes, I find it works like a charm.

What are your tomato planting secrets?


Comment by Shawn Powers

April 27, 2010 @ 9:31 am

Sadly for me, my tomato secret is usually to plant money in the hand of the clerk, and harvest my tomatoes from a paper bag when I get home from the grocery. :)

This year will probably be a bust too, but NEXT year, NEXT year we’ll finally have that garden we’ve always wanted.

Comment by Rob

April 27, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

i Have no tricks, but I do like to plant in self watering planters, that I make myself out of 5 gallon buckets. I had a great crop last year! Thanks for the tips!

Comment by WolfSong

April 28, 2010 @ 5:07 am

The only thing I do different, is instead of the bag of manure, I use compost, because, well, it’s free. Once they are established, I use compost tea every 3 weeks or so as fertilizer. Take an old pillow case, put some compost in it, put it in a bucket of water and let it steep. I usually let it sit for 24 hours, then dilute 10 parts water to 1 part tea, and water the tomatos-and any other plant that needs a boost! This worked wonders on my pumpkins last year!

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

April 28, 2010 @ 7:21 am

Shawn, yes! You will.

Rob, clever idea with the self-waterer.

Wolfsong, I will have to try compost tea. Many people swear by it…

Comment by Stephanie

April 28, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

Great post and great comments! I want a garden! Wah wah wah!

Comment by Katherine

April 28, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

I wish I had read this before Saturday! We planted 4 heirloom tomato varieties, and frankly they are not doing well. Some of the leaves are yellowing, turning papery, and shriveling. It’s so sad! The top leaves are mostly ok though, so I am not giving up hope yet. I’ve been told that as long as they get 6+ hours a day of sun they should be okay. They have at least 7, and they are well watered and mulched with the good stuff. I am hoping they are just in shock from the transplant or something. I will keep you posted though. Wish me luck!

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

April 29, 2010 @ 6:55 am

Katherine, I have been there before with plants so I know how you feel. It is probably just transplant shock, like you said. Keep me updated on how they are doing!

Comment by Jess

May 28, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

Crushed eggshells and human or dog hair… !!

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Comment by Kim

April 27, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

Horse manure about a foot deep and egg shells on top of it then planted the tomato seedling, keeping them well watered until established. I do not water the leaves.

Comment by Neesargon

April 15, 2015 @ 7:39 am

Living in London, cow manure is pretty hard to come by!

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

April 15, 2015 @ 10:06 am

Neesargon, chicken manure or horse manure also works. If that’s not available, there’s always compost.

Comment by bobby

May 9, 2015 @ 5:39 pm

I use rabbit manure,for my toms, I dig a hole 18 in deep,put in about 5lbs of manure, kitchen scraps ,then leaves ran over by lawn mower 2 or 3 times, all this in fall, then i put my tom cage over spot,leave there till spring, then i add the soil to make a small heap, now i bury tom deep,all this has decayed by then very well, now i pour on rabbit manure tea,made with 5 gal of rain water,or water that sit for 24 hrs,put 5 lbs manure in my onion sack,tie to bucket,then i add 4 tbs of fish emul, 3 tbs of unsulf molasses, then lol hook up my aqurm,pump run for 3 days, now u have the top tea in boston or where ever lol happy gardening bobby

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

May 9, 2015 @ 6:53 pm

Wow Bobby. You must get tons of tomatoes!

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