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When I was going to start my new adventure with Growing Tomato Plants my sister exclaimed with passion “You can’t even grow weeds!”  Since the main jobs that I had done to this point had nothing to do with growing plants,I was known to have an acid thumb.  Nothing I had planted before had grown.

What did I expect? I was always whining about how quickly everything grew. Of course, I was only 8 years old. My sister was old. She was 14, and seemed to know everything except how to cut the grass or do the “Important” chores like taking out the garbage, raking the leaves and jumping in the piles so I could do it all over again.

Growing Tomato Plants: look how juicy they are!!

So the reason I decided to start growing tomato plants, is that I see them everywhere I go. Heck, I can take the tomato seed out of the tomatoes that we get at the store and just plant the seeds from inside of it right? I saved up two entire tomatoes seeds and placed them in the back yard by the garage. I planted the tomato seeds as deep as my finger would go and dropped them in the hole. I covered up the tomato seeds, put some water on top of the dirt and went on my way.

I would go back to the area where I planted them, about every two days. Then one day I went back there, something was popping up out of the ground! I was going to show my sister that I can grow Tomatoes! Two more days, and the plant was up about 3 inches. ( it is really a dandelion that came up instead of a tomato).  (See picture below of the dandelions that came up)

Me Growing Tomato Plants

However, the 3 inches of growth looked nothing like I had expected, it was a dandelion growing where I had planted all of those tomato seeds.  I was wondering what the heck happened. I thought I did everything right, but there it was, another dandelion.

How was I going to grow anything, maybe my sister was right. I am just glad that I did not tell her what I was going to do. That would have been brutal teasing!

Here is what you can learn from my experience in growing tomato plants:

  • Start with Good Plants
  • Good thrifty plants that are about 6 weeks old are best for transplanting.
  • Setting the Plants set plants 1 to 2 inches deeper than they grew in the plant bed. They should be watered in, using a good fertilizer tea solution.
  • Weed Control – Pull them out is the fastest for small gardens or containers
  • Mulch Keeps the weeds downs
  • Pest Control Pick them off or make sure you have good spiders and other bugs that eat them.

To go over it again, follow the steps below, and ask a lot more people than I did in the beginning.

1. Use disease-resistant, adapted varieties from a known disease-free source.

2. Do not plant tomatoes too frequently in the same field. There should be an interval of two years between successive tomato crops, or where tomatoes follow potatoes.

3. Isolate the tomato planting from plants which generally carry diseases injurious to tomatoes, such as potatoes, cucumbers, dahlias, eggplant, and weeds (ground-cherry, pokeweed, jimsonweed, and nightshade).

4. Do not smoke or handle tobacco in any form when working with tomatoes. This is especially true of tomato plants in the first 12 weeks of their growth.

5. Follow the soil preparation, fertilization, and transplanting recommendations faithfully.


Recommendations are constantly changing. For the latest recommendations, ask your local Cooperative Extension Office.

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Turning Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs The Caretaker