Tips for growing awesome Tomatoes
The weather has warmed up in Atlanta and it’s time to start thinking about planting your tomato plants.
Nothing’s better than a home grown tomato! Whether you enjoy a tomato sandwich with white bread and mayo or making your own marinara sauce, we have a variety for you.
We sow and grow all of the tomato plants we sell in our Stone Mountain greenhouses. We think it makes a big difference that our plants don't sit on a hot parking lot or get trucked in from miles away. We’re growing over 37 varieties this year. If you have a favorite you'd like us to grow for your Atlanta area garden, please, let us know!
Growing tomatoes in the ground
- Plant your tomato plants in a location that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day.
- If your soil is heavy and has lots clay, amend it with with 2-3 inches of organic material such as Black Kow, Mushroom Compost or Organic Soil Conditioner. Apply ¾ cup of hydrated lime per plant and work into top ½ inch of soil your soil mixture.
- Plant tomatoes so most of the stem is under the soil. Either dig a deep hole and plant upright or dig a long trench and place plant on its side lifting the top of the plant above the soil. Carefully pinch or cut off the leaves that are under the soil taking care to not tear the stem of the plant.
- Space plants 1-2 feet apart in rows in your garden. Stake or cage shortly after planting to give them support as they grow and fruit.
- Add a small amount of fertilizer when planting. Wait to begin fertilizing on a regular schedule until your tomato plant blooms and sets it’s fruit, then you can begin a schedule of fertilizing every 2-3 weeks. When applying fertilizer don’t get any closer than 4-6 inches to the stems and avoid getting it on the leaves to prevent burning the plants
- Mulch your plants using straw or newspapers to reduce weeds and retain moisture.
- Water on a regular schedule and keep an eye on the weather. Adjust your watering schedule based on the amount of rain your plants are getting. You don’t want to “drown” your plants one day and then allow them to get bone dry the next.
- To reduce the risk of garden pests munching on your plants or fruit, include companion plants like Borage and Nasturtium in your garden. To attract pollinators plant Marigolds and Lantana close by your garden.
Growing tomatoes in containers
- Mix 3 parts bagged potting mix to 1 part organic soil amendment and add ¾ cup hydrated lime.
- Containers must be at least 12” across and 15” deep. Fill to within 1 1/2 inch of the top of the rim. A 5-gallon bucket works great
- Tiny Tim and Better Bush are good varieties to grow in containers, but larger varieties may be grown with proper support. Cage or stake after planting for needed support as they grow.
- Add a small amount of fertilizer such as Tomato Tone when planting. Feed again when the plant flowers and once a week thereafter taking care to not allow fertilizer to touch the stems or leaves.
- Always water dry plants before fertilizing.
- Water plants as evenly possible by not allowing them to be too wet or too dry.
- Raise your bucket up on bricks to discourage slugs from climbing up the pot and munching on your plants or fruit.
We hope you’ll be rewarded with tasty tomatoes all season long. The Southern Living Garden Guide also gives smart tips for growing Tomatoes in the South. If you have any questions, please call, our garden experts are here to help you grow awesome Tomatoes! 404-292-8446.