When you can purchase ready-to-plant seedlings at your local nursery, why bother starting your tomato seeds? The most important factor is diversity! It is possible to cultivate your tomato plants from seed and pick from hundreds or thousands of different types. You may also save money by growing your tomatoes in your garden, which is particularly beneficial if you have a big one.
Tomato Seed Selection:
It’s time to get our hands on some tomato seed catalogs, now that we know a little more about the various varieties. As many as hundreds of appealing options may be available.
Step-by-step Instructions For Growing Tomatoes From Seed:
- Plant Seeds At The Appropriate Time
Tomatoes may be grown from seed in around six to eight weeks, from planting to harvest. Leggy, overgrown seedlings are the consequence of starting seeds inside too early. A week following my final spring frost date, I intend to put seedlings into the garden. Find out when the last frost was in your area, then go back six to eight weeks from that date. Your seeds should be started inside at this time.
- Clean Containers
Because I start so many seeds every spring, I need to maximize my growing area. Because of this, I plant my seeds in 1020 trays of plastic cell packs. ‘ Because they’re recyclable, they allow me to grow hundreds of plants beneath my grow lights. Alternatively, you may use plastic pots or repurposed clean yogurt containers, milk cartons, and so on.
- Use A High-Quality Seed Starting Mix
It’s important to use a light, well-draining growth medium like Pro-Mix Seed Starting Mix to get your tomatoes off to the correct start. Prevent uneven wetness by moistening the mix before adding it to pots or cell packs.
- Seeds Must Be Planted At The Correct Depth
Planting tomato seeds too deep will prevent them from germinating since the seeds are so little. Using wet potting soil, gently bury the seeds approximately one-quarter of an inch deep. To ensure that you remember which variety is which, identify each one with a plastic or wooden tag and the name written in permanent marker.
- A Lot Of Light In There
To grow strong and healthy seedlings you need a lot of sunlight. Seedlings that are exposed to insufficient light become leggy, finally toppling over. Under a grow lamp, where you can adjust the quantity of light, is great for starting seeds.
My grow lights are four-foot shop lights suspended from chains from a wooden shelf for a pittance. My lights can be moved higher as the plants develop so that they are always only a few inches away from the leaves of my tomato plants. To keep the lights on for sixteen hours a day, I use a timer.
It’s possible to grow tomato seeds inside in a sunny window, but because of the low light levels in late winter, plan on some stretching. The SunBlaster or this fluorescent fixture might be an excellent investment if you want to do seed starting every year.
- Moisture conservation
Keep a close check on soil moisture levels, since overwatering is one of the fastest ways to destroy fragile seedlings. However, you should avoid getting it soggy. As soon as the seeds have germinated, cover the pots with transparent plastic domes or a sheet of plastic wrap to keep them wet. Immediately after germination, remove all the covers to let the air flow.
- Enough Airflow
When it comes to cultivating healthy tomato plants, air movement is essential. My grow lights are located in my basement, where there is little to no air movement. Without an oscillating fan to circulate the air, this might cause fungal problems. When the seedlings are exposed to flowing air, their stems and leaves get stronger.
- Feed The Seedlings With A Liquid Fertiliser
It’s common for potting mixes to include slow-release fertilizer, which feeds your plants over weeks. You may use an organic water-soluble fertilizer, applied at half the recommended dosage every 12 to 14 days, to complement these fertilizers. Potting mix and fertilizer packages include specific instructions on how to use them, so pay attention.
- Tomato Seedlings Need To Be Hardened Off
This is the last stage in starting tomatoes from seed. Tomato seedlings should be hardened off after the last spring frost date has passed. It is necessary to “harden off” seedlings produced in a greenhouse before transplanting them to the outdoors.
Expect it to take between five and seven days to complete. A couple of hours outdoors in the shade is a good starting point. After they’ve gone to bed that night, bring them back inside. The seedlings should be progressively exposed to greater sunlight each day. Planting them in the garden or containers should take place within one week.
How Are You Going to Use your Tomato Harvest?
Slicing, cherry, paste, and cocktail tomatoes are just a few examples of the various sorts of tomatoes that may be grown. Think about how you will utilize your product before deciding on what crops you should cultivate. I like to prepare a lot of sauce, but most of our tomatoes are eaten fresh in sandwiches and salads from the garden. This is why I grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, from sauce-making kinds to sweet cherry and grape varieties to hearty heirlooms for dicing.
Even though tomato seeds are small and sensitive, they can resist harsh circumstances. Even a little tomato seed may survive in the soil for up to 8 weeks before emerging into a full-grown plant. Seeds need to be sown, too. Is it okay to simply put them in the ground?
Maybe a few of them may, but the vast majority will not. Other than that, birds and insects might eat them. Because of this, it is preferable to plant tomato seeds at the proper depth in the ground.
It’s obvious to me that cultivating tomatoes is a labor of love that takes a lot of time and effort. There’s no doubt in my mind that they are yours. Follow our instructions and you’ll have the tomatoes of your dreams in no time.