How to Plant Tomatoes & Lay Down Straw

In regards to backyard vegetable gardens, tomatoes are king of the crop and rank among the most popular plants selected by gardeners. Once daytime and evening temperatures remain above 65 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, your garden is prepared for your tomato crops. Boost your backyard garden’s tomato crop by spreading straw as a mulch. This helps prevent weed growth, reduces soil moisture loss and enhances the soil’s mineral levels. In research conducted by Michigan State University, tomato crops that were mulched with straw produced 27 percent more fruit compared to tomato crops that weren’t mulched at all. Why settle for less?

Break up the garden bed using a scoop, loosening the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches and breaking up any large clods of dirt.

Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost on the ground surface, then mix it in the top 6 inches of dirt. Compost improves soil aeration and increases soil nutrient levels, which in turn helps ensure a faster, healthier tomato plant establishment.

Fertilize the garden bed using either 20 pounds of 5-10-10 vegetable fertilizer or 12 1/2 lbs of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 500 square feet of gardening space. Mix the fertilizer evenly to the top 6 inches of soil.

Transplant the tomato seedlings from their miniature pots right into the garden soil. Bury each plant an inch deeper than it was growing in the grass. If you are planting more than 1 tomato seedling, space every single seedling approximately 16 inches apart and distance each row of tomato atom 3 to 5 feet apart.

Scatter straw in and about your rows of tomato plants, creating a two- to 3-inch-thick layer. In general, one standard straw bale will cover about 100 square feet of garden area.

Water your tomato plants each day, having sufficient irrigation to moisten the dirt to a depth of approximately 8 inches.

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