Tomatoes come prepackaged in six packs (6 of the same plant grown separately in individual cells), grown 6 in one plastic box, or sold singularly. Whatever way yours comes, take them out of the containers and loosen up their root system. Take your fingers and pry them apart at the bottom. You want to get the roots growing outward, not into themselves, as they were when they grew in their cramped plastic cell homes.
Now look at the illustrations. Illustration 1 shows a tomato plant, the way it looks when you buy it. Illustration 2, is the same plant showing how the root system was pulled apart to promote better root development. The tomato stem without its leaves, and the level at which it should be planted.
Finally plant your tomatoes about three feet apart, in an area where they will get full sun. Full sun is 6 plus hours of direct sunlight a day. Cherry and Grape tomatoes do best growing up Sturdy Stakes (plastic coated metal stakes). I use 8 foot ones hammered into the ground. I direct their growth up the stake, tying them to the pole with jute. Take off side suckers, so there is just one straight upward growing stem. (illustration 3). Big Boy and Beef Stake tomatoes are best grown in cages. Let them do their thing, no sucker removal needed.
Companion Post …Planting Annuals, a beginning Gardener’s Guide 5-28-2011 (this post would be helpful when planting pre-started vegetable plants from a garden center, like lettuce, peppers, collards, cabbage, etc.)