How To Plant A Tomato Plant

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:

savvyhousekeeping how to plant a tomato

How To Plant A Tomato:

You will need:

  • A tomato plant
  • Well-prepared soil
  • A bag of cow manure
  • Shove
  • 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?

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16 thoughts on “How To Plant A Tomato Plant”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Shawn, yes! You will.
    Rob, clever idea with the self-waterer.
    Wolfsong, I will have to try compost tea. Many people swear by it…

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

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  9. 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.

  10. 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


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