How Deep To Plant Tomato Seedlings

Growing your own vegetables can be fulfilling, and tomatoes are among the most popular summer vegetables that expert and novice gardeners can find fun to raise. For most gardeners, the advent of spring is often the time to think about tomato planting.

But what about planting them? This post will cover more on growing tomatoes to help plant correctly for respectable yields. We’ll also look at how deep to plant tomato seedlings. 

When to plant tomatoes

How Deep To Plant Tomato Seedlings

If you have tomato seedlings standing upright like little green soldiers patiently waiting to be liberated from their pots and transplanted into a warm bed, you first need to think about how to plant them correctly. Proper timing and planting correctly are vital to establishing a successful tomato garden.

When it comes to planting tomato seedlings, you want to bury about two-thirds of the plant, which could mean planting your seedlings about 6 to 10 inches deep.

Prudent gardeners know that timing is key to getting the most out of gardens. That being said, when it comes to planting tomatoes, the most important thing to keep in mind when planting is that tomatoes run on warmth. While this might mean planting in spring or early summer in most areas, the best time to plant tomatoes depends on where you live and weather conditions.

Generally, the best time to plant tomato seedlings outside is when the soil temperature is about 60°F and night temperatures are consistently above 50°F. Tomatoes are tender, so they cannot tolerate frost. That’s why you want to plant when the dangers of frost are gone.

Depending on the variety, tomatoes take 60 to over 100 days from planting to harvesting. Planting early enough when the weather is favorable will give them enough time to reach maturity and set their fruits early enough so you can harvest before the danger of early fall.

Overall, tomatoes are long-season, sun-loving plants that perform best when planted in optimal conditions. For the best planting time, keep an eye on local weather, then plant when the soil is warm enough for optimal growth.

When to start seeds indoors

How Deep To Plant Tomato Seedlings

No matter the climate of where you live, growing tomatoes from seeds always starts the same way. Generally, it is recommended to sow seeds indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost date. Even so, many gardeners choose to start their seeds as early as 12 weeks before the expected transplant date so their seedlings can grow bigger before transplanting.

How early to start will immensely depend on the cultivar you are planting.

How Deep To Plant Tomato Seedlings

How Deep To Plant Tomato Seedlings

Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding vegetables for expert gardeners and novices alike. However, this is true when they are planted correctly and given good care.

Tomato seedlings are usually ready for transplanting into their final position when they are about 6 to 12 inches tall. If your seedlings are ready for transplanting, follow these steps to plant them correctly.

1. Hardening off

Before planting your tomatoes, it is extremely important to harden them off for a week or two. In simpler words, hardening off tomatoes means acclimating them gradually to outdoor conditions so they can harden to outside temperatures.

To achieve this, leave your seedlings out for progressively longer until they can tolerate night temperatures consistent around 50°F.

2. Prepare the soil

Tomatoes grow best in loose, well-draining soil. Planting in compacted soil can impede their root systems from growing, causing them to die.

For this reason, mix your garden soil with amendments, preferably organic materials like compost, to loosen and make it richer. It is recommended to loosen your garden soil to a depth of about 12 inches.

Next, make holes where you will plant your seedlings. Tomatoes should be planted such that two-thirds of the plant is underground, so the depth will depend on how tall your seedlings are. If the seedlings are too long, you can use the trench method, which is more or less planting your seedlings sideways.

3. Transplant

Once your planting holes are ready, set the tomato seedlings in the holes such that their ⅔ is inside the hole. In most cases, this will leave only two of its top leaves outside.

When planting, it is a good idea to take off the leaves on the part of the stem that is going underground. This promotes the growth of extra roots. Adding a handful of organic tomato fertilizer to the planting holes can go a long way to helping the plants start off healthy.

Next, fill the holes back and gently pat the soil down to remove air pockets, then use your fingers to create a little well for watering.

4. Watering

How Deep To Plant Tomato Seedlings

Water your tomato seedlings generously the first few days, preferably in the morning, so they can have sufficient moisture to make it through the hot day. When watering seedlings, avoid watering leaves and afternoon watering.

After around five weeks of transplanting, mulch to retain moisture, control weeds, and keep the soil from splashing the lower leaves.

As your tomatoes grow, pinch off suckers and support as needed.

How Deep To Plant Tomato Seedlings: Conclusion

Growing tomatoes can be incredibly rewarding, but they need to be planted correctly. When transplanting tomato seedlings, you want to ensure that about 2-3 inches of the seedlings go underground.

Burying tomatoes deeper helps them grow better because they develop adventitious roots. When planted deeper, they will develop more extensive and stronger root systems for healthy growth.

Related Article: When to Plant Tomatoes in Florida?