Guide to Growing tomatoes from seed
A vegetable garden is never complete without growing tomatoes.
This post is about growing tomatoes from seed and how to plant tomato seeds. Growing tomatoes in your garden is very easy and rewarding. Tomatoes can be grown in the following ways
Growing from transplants is the easiest option and a time-saving one too. You can get good quality tomato plants that are disease resistant and hardy from your nearest garden centers. For those, who cannot get pre-grown transplants, growing tomatoes from seed is the best way. Not only it is economical, it also gives you wide variety of seeds to choose from.
Growing tomatoes from seed
First and the most important part of growing tomatoes from seeds is to get good quality seeds. These seeds have to be from a reputed seed company. There are many varieties of tomatoes. Almost 400+ of them. You can choose the variety you like. Tomatoes have so many variations in them. The varieties differ in the following ways
- Fruit Shape (E.g Cherry tomato, san marzano)
- Fruit Color ( Yellow cherry, Black Prince)
- Fruit Size/Weight ( Beefsteak tomato, 100s and 1000s)
- Plant growing habit ( Indeterminate & Determinate)
Once you have done your research on what tomato variety you want to grow, procure the seeds.
Whether you want to plant the tomato in container or in the ground, the procedure to growing tomatoes from seed remains the same. However, you might want to choose the variety based on where you are going to plant them. Indeterminate plants grow very tall and need staking. Determinate plants grow 3-4 feet in height. For growing tomatoes in containers, determinate is a better choice.
When to plant tomatoes
In the tropics, tomato seeds can be planted/sown around the year. Tomato plant can tolerate good amount of heat and is a sun loving plant. However, the seeds have to be started in a place that is not too hot or in the open. Seed starting flats or jiffy plugs can be used to germinate tomato seeds. If you are in the temperate weather, you can start the tomato from seeds indoors about 5-6 weeks before the last frost. check your local sowing schedule for the right planting dates.
How to plant tomato seeds
You will need the following for germinating the tomato seeds
- Tomato seeds
- Seed starting mix/Potting soil
- Seed starting flat/ pots
After you have the required items ready, you start sowing the tomato seeds.
- Fill up the container or pots with the seed starting mixture. A seed starting mixture is mix that is less fertilizer, infection free and well draining. It is usually soil-less and made of peat.
- Tap the surface of the container to remove any air pockets.
- Make small pits that are about 1/4th of an inch. Place the tomato seeds in that pit and gently close the hole with the peat.
- Remember, the seeds have to buried twice as deep as they are wide.
- After you have sown, gently water the container and remember to not over water. It can be kept in a warm place or in a propagator.
- In about 5-7 days the seeds will germinate. In summer the seeds germinate faster and in winter the seeds take a little longer to germinate.
- Be patient.
- For fastest germination, temperatures of 70-80 F. (21-27 C.) are best
As soon as the seeds germinate, move them to a sunny spot. Not moving them sooner to a sunny location can cause the seedlings to stretch and become lanky. If you are growing tomatoes indoors, use a fluorescent or grow lights installed few inches above the seedlings.
Weak fertilizer dose can be applied to tomato seedlings that have developed true leaves. Water them with a water soluble fertilizer at quarter strength. Watch out for plants that are lanky. Move them to sunny or well lit spot.
Growing tomatoes from seed is very rewarding as it open a whole new world of tomatoes. Now that you know how to plant tomatoes from seed, go ahead! sow different varieties and have fun!