By David Lenz
I took a five-foot deck board and cut triangles every six inches to use as a planting guide. The triangle is about three inches deep. I made a little bigger triangle at every foot mark. This will allow you to plant in a straight line; you can use the other side as a straight edge for planting seeds.
I found a flat spot that was 5-by-16 feet. Then I mowed it close as possible to the ground. I took a piece of landscape cloth that was 16-feet long, rolled it out and used some small wood stakes to hold it down. I used my planting board to mark out where I wanted my tomatoes two foot apart and every other row is offset. The cloth is cut at each hole in an X.
I used my cordless drill and a bulb auger and drilled the holes for the tomatoes. I took six fence posts and place them one across from each other at three feet, eight and 13 feet on each side of the landscape cloth. I took cattle panels and laid them flat and then raised the top one to 42 inches and the bottom one to 18 inches. Make sure that you keep the panels flat and level. Then plant your tomatoes and water and fertilize and wait to have tomatoes.
An important thing to remember is after planting the tomatoes take off or pinch the bottom leaves and branches to force the plant to grow tall, hopefully there will be a stock at the bottom that is about 18 inches before the first branch. Besides making it easier to pick there will be no tomatoes on the ground to rot.
The only weeding that you need to do is around the base of the tomatoes and that does not take much time and you can water and fertilize through the landscape cloth.