How to Plant a Tomato in Houston

by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

1. Prepare your tomato bed. I recommend raised beds because of our frequent rains and gumbo soil. Be sure there is lots of compost in the soil. If you add manure, make sure it is composted, and not hot. You don't want to burn the plant roots or lock up nitrogen.

2. Go to the nursery and buy several different tomato plants. Buy four inch pots instead of six packs. Four inch pots do better. And you are better off planting many different varieties than six plants of one variety. Also buy colliodal phosphate to put in the bottom of the hole. Liquid sea weed and molasses should also be purchased. Make sure you have enough tomato cages. Also freeze cloth. Also purchase a couple of bags of mulch.

3. Use a pitchfork to turn the bed one last time. Then water it lightly and dig the holes, about three to four feet apart. The depth of the hole depends on the size of each tomato plant. You can plant tomatoes high up on their stems.

4. Put a handful of colloidal phosphate in each hole. Tease the roots apart on the transplant and plant it deep. Don't forget to label each plant with the variety name. Wooden shims and black markers work well for this.

5. Put the tomato cage in place.

6. Water the plant with the hose then with a weak starter solution. Remember to water the new plants twice a day with water for the first week.

7. Wrap freeze cloth around the cage and secure with clothes pins. Leave the top uncovered. Cover the bottom of the freeze cloth with some of the mulch.

8. Start salivating over that great home grown taste.

Last revised March 8, 1998

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