How I plant tomatoes
Organic tomato fertilizer (I like tomatoes Alive! from Gardens Alive!)
Calcium supplement pills, 600 mg broken in half
Toilet paper tubes
Stakes or cages.
Good soil, with compost tilled in, in which tomatoes have not been planted for at least 3 years, 4 is better.
Place your tomato plants, leaving about 3 feet between each plant. Dig a hole. Drop in a half of a calcium supplement into the bottom of the hole (this helps prevent blossom end rot by giving slow release calcium to the plant). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic fertilizer. Now, pinch off the bottom leaves of the tomato plant, leaving 2 to 4 leaves on the plant for photosynthesis. Plant the tomato into the hole deeply, to about the level of the first set of leaves. This allows the tomato plant to root among the stem. A good root system is crucial to good tomato development, and the plants that root deeply will require less water through the growing season. This is also called trench planting.
Cut the toilet paper tube in half lengthwise, again across the middle. This will leave you with two circular tubes. Fashion them to fit into a circular ring around the base of the tomato plant (see photo above), pressing lightly into the soil. You have just made a cut worm collar (cut worms love to wrap around newly planted seedlings and cut them off about 1 inch about the ground. The collar prevents this).
Stake or cage the plants right away, before they have a chance to root (staking later can damage the new roots). Water in well. Tie the plans to the stake of cage with soft strips of old t-shirts, flannel shirts or even old stockings as they grow. Feed a few times per season with diluted liquid fish emulsion (yes, it smells bad and yes the smell will go away) and a few foliar (leaf spray) feedings of diluted liquid kelp. Mulch with cured grass (grass THAT HAS NOT BEEN RECENTLY SPRAYED WITH YARD CHEMICALS and was mowed a few days before and left to dry), compost, pine needles or leaf mold.
The process is similar for peppers, though I add 1 T. Epsom salts to that planting hole and do not stake them.
This is how I spent my morning. 20 plants in, 5 more to find room for! Tomorrow I plant eggplants, cukes, beans and some herbs.