How I plant Tomatoes

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

My favorite way to spend Mother’s Day is planting tomatoes. With fish scraps and egg shells collected and stored in the freezer, these secret ingredients are ready to add when planting my tomatoes. If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw the fish head yesterday. Yuck!

The fish scraps came from the grocery store when I bought an entire tuna and asked them for the scraps in a separate package. Remember that if you’re paying for the whole fish, the fish scraps are yours so you may as well put them to good use. Fish broth is an option but planting fish scraps and egg shells in the garden to get tasty tomatoes is even better! You can also ask the seafood department for fish scraps. Most are happy to share.

Sungold tomatoes from Go Gingham

How I plant Tomatoes

I usually wait until Mother’s Day because stores have plenty of plants to choose from and there’s no threat of frost in the weather. My plants don’t get covered with a tarp or babied. It’s all business in my garden – and I’m too lazy.

Dig a hole about 18″ to 24″ (2 feet) deep. (The depth of your hole depends on how tall your starts are to begin with. Taller starts need deeper holes than smaller/shorter starts.)

Remove tomato plant from starter container.

In bottom of hole, place cut up fish and egg shells. Here are more uses for egg shells in garden.

In bottom of hole, place cut up fish and egg shells.

Remove tomato plant from starter container.

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

Loosen any bound roots. You can use your fingers or a fork to do this.

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

Remove lower branches of tomato plants. Make sure to get a clean-cut – use scissors if you must.

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

Place plants in hole so that all branches of tomato plant are above ground.

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

Add dirt around tomato plant and press down firmly around base of plant.

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

That’s it! Water with fish emulsion (an organic fertilizer) and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

Don’t let your backyard chickens help. They’ll eat your little tomato plants – even if they promise not to.

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham
Don’t be fooled by this chicken…she wants to ‘help’ by eating the plants!

Here’s what those little plants grew into last year…

How to plant tomatoes from Go Gingham

They eventually tipped over completely! This year, I’m trying out a new way of staking my tomatoes….I’ll keep you posted whether it worked or not. Until then – Happy Mother’s Day to all those mothers out there and especially mine! I hope you’re spending the day how you’d like.

 What’s your secret tomato planting strategy? How do you like to spend Mother’s Day?

Go Gingham related links:

How to stake tomato plants – a very stylishly frugal method!
Three easy herbs to grow – you won’t be able to kill these, I promise!
How to build a raised vegetable bed
Growing vegetables in small spaces – I call it “sky gardening”
Composting tips – add richness to your soil with scraps from the kitchen
5 spots to start a garden – even in small yards like mine


Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.


    1. LuAnn,
      Next year!! I’ve been gardening organic for 10+years now and am thrilled with the results. Best of luck with your growing season! 🙂

  1. Hey Sara,
    do you ever use Epsom salt in the planting hole?
    I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in each hole. The Epsom salt adds magnesium, which tomato plants need, and is often deficient in modern soils. Magnesium boosts flower production.
    Then once established, I sprinkle the soil around the tomato plants with an Epsom salt/water infusion, every two weeks (I tablespoon Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water).
    This spring I found Epsom salt at Dollar Tree — woo hoo!
    Lili@creativesavv recently posted..Vanilla and how to make (what I think is) the very best extract

    1. Hi Lili!
      I haven’t tried this but I definitely will! Great tip – and I have Epsom salt, too. I’m just glad to have the smelly fish out of the house that was dethawing. Between the fish and the chickens out back, we’re already at high levels of flies around here! LOL! 🙂

  2. I’m interested in trying this (in Canada, so I’m not quite ready to put my plants in yet after such a cold Winter & slow Spring). Just curious though, have you every had trouble with creatures trying to dig up your plants to get at the fish scraps? I’m thinking raccoons, or even neighbourhood cats, might make me think twice about doing it.

    1. Christine, we have many critters, too, including racoons. If you dig the holes deep enough, they won’t know what’s in the soil. I’ve never had a problem and have happy tomato plants living in good soil! I hope you’ll try it. Please let me know how it works out for you 🙂

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