It’s springtime and you, like many people, find yourself wanting to raise some homegrown tomatoes at home. There are two primary ways to do this. One way is to plant your plants directly into the ground. Another way is to plant your tomato plants in any of various types of containers designed for that purpose.
In this article, I will be looking specifically at the option of planting your plants directly into the ground and whether or not you should have to till your ground with a machine tiller or not.
Most people tend to think that if you are going to have a garden of any type that it is best to purchase or rent or borrow a tiller and till up the soil in the area that is to be your garden. Many people have taken this approach over the years, but recently it has become the subject of controversy. There are some agriculturalists that are now saying that tilling your soil right before planting is not a good idea and that it actually does damage to the structure of the soil.
Many of us don’t have the time or the money to get a tiller and till up a part of our yard. So how do we deal with this situation if we don’t want to till, but have very hard, dense, and compacted soil?
The answer to this is relatively simple and is one that I have used with successful results. What you can do is dig a hole in the ground with a shovel where you want to plant your tomato plant. Make the hole approximately 15 inches around and anywhere from 18 to 24 inches deep. This hole in the ground essentially becomes your “pot” for your plant.
Next what you should do is fill the hole with a planting mix that you create. What I have done is used a mixture of potting mix, peat moss, organic humus, and vermiculite. All of these items can be purchased at your local home store. You can add some of the original soil back into your mix if you want, but make sure that the original soil content in your mix is less than 50 percent. If you prefer, it is perfectly acceptable to put all of your original soil elsewhere in your landscape and fill the hole completely with your new mix.
Fill the hole up with the mix flush to the ground and plant your tomato plant or seedling in the middle. At this point, it is helpful to put some mulch around the plant that will cover all of your planting mix. I prefer to use a black colored mulch purchased from my local home store. The reason for this is because tomato plant roots like to be in warm soil, and the black colored mulch will absorb the sun and help your new planting mix to warm up quicker. When your soil is warm, your tomato plant will grow at a more rapid rate than when the soil is cold.
So that is how to plant your tomato plants in the ground without tilling and still retain the greatest results of a beneficial loose soil for your tomato plant.