Califonia Bountiful

Gardening: Gardening 101: How to plant a tomato

Now is the time to put your green thumb to work and start a tomato garden, thanks to the advice of an expert!

Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your backyard garden, says Kristina Lacayo of Green Acres Nursery and Garden Supply in Elk Grove, just south of Sacramento. She adds that the plants are incredibly productive—and because they're so versatile and delicious right off the vine, why not try to grow them yourself?!

Kristina says tomatoes have the ability to grow roots along their stems, so when planting tomato plants, plant them deep—right up to the first set of leaves. Then use a fertilizer with a high level of phosphorus. Phosphorus is critical because it's responsible for bringing water to the cells of the developing fruit. Also, although tomatoes do love sun and heat (they need at least six to eight hours of direct sun), consider planting them either in the evening or morning so the roots don't dry out.

Although you can plant other vegetables and herbs around your tomatoes, think about planting marigold flowers near them too. Kristina says that in addition to adding color to your garden, they also help deter pests. Win-win!

For more gardening ideas, visit the Green Acres Nursery and Garden Supply

website at

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