How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Planting tomatoes

Tomatoes can be seeded directly or transplanted into the garden. They are best planted on raised beds made by adding large amounts of sifted compost or other soil amendments so that a bed is established above the previous level of soil.

If seeding, plant more seeds than necessary so as to make up for any losses from insects such as cutworms. Plant seeds in rows with 3 to 5 feet between rows. Push them into the soil 1 inch deep. Fill these holes by scratching the surface, firm the soil lightly, and cover with a thin mulch of grass clippings or other organic material in order to hold soil moisture. Water well and keep moist during the germination period. When the plants are about 3 inches high, thin to 2 feet apart down the row.

For transplants, use young plants, 3 weeks old with 4 to 6 true leaves, wider than tall, stocky, succulent, and slightly hardened to outdoor conditions. Make sure the planting site is level and smooth. Spread and mix organic matter and a high-phosphorus fertilizer over the area. Mark where you want each plant and make the hole deep enough to bury the stem as far as the first leaf. Tip the plant out of a plastic pot to remove it. If it's in a peat pot, tear the top edge off so it can't act as a wick. Place the plant deep into the hole. Place plants about 2 feet apart in 4- to 5-feet rows. Press the soil firmly around the plant and water thoroughly to remove any air pockets. If transplanting in the summer, shade the plants in the middle of the day for the first week or use floating row cover.

Direct seed
Direct seed


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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