Growing tomatoes from seed is not as difficult as you might think. It is important to start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the threat of the last frost, this way they have enough time to mature and endure being transplanted to the garden. Ole timers will tell you not to plant summer vegetables before Good Friday, so based on this tidbit then count backwards, on the calendar, 6 to 8 weeks.
Growing Tomatoes From Seed
Once you have a suitable time frame for planting, it is time to start your seeds. Begin by using a planting tray filled with well moistened gardening soil that is specifically formulated for seed development. A pencil can be used to create ¼ inch deep rows that are 2 inches apart. Next, place a seed every inch of the row and cover with loose soil, maintaining the ¼ inch depth. When growing tomatoes from seed it is important to not forget a label for each row or each tray of the variety of tomato being planted and include the germination time. You can loosely cover the trays with damp paper towels or napkins to keep the top of the soil stay moist. Place your trays in a warm place that is at least 75 degrees and no more than 85 degrees. At this point, sunlight is not necessary unless it is the heat source.
Most varieties of tomatoes will germinate within 10 to 14 days. You will know you have had successful germination when you see the first tender leaves emerge from the soil. This is when you will realize why it was so important to label the varieties you are planting because all of your tender little plants will look exactly the same, at this point of growing tomatoes from seed. Now is the time when sunlight becomes important, a good location for the little ones to soak up some sunlight and keep the temperature around 65 to 70 degrees will be key component to proper growth. After about 30 days you will notice a new set of leaves will have grown; called the “true leaves”, they resemble mature tomato plant leaves. This is a great indicator that the time has come to transplant the little darlings to larger individual containers for further maturation.
Your plants should be about 6 to 8 inches tall by now, depending on the variety, and ready for their own containers. There is a little preparation needed before nestling them into new homes; you will need to pinch off the lower leaves on the stem to allow deeper planting. The buried stem will then sprout new roots creating a more stable plant. Keep your plants indoors for another 7 to 10 days, then they will be well rooted and ready to start going outside. Begin by putting them in full sunlight for a few hours on the first 2 or 3 days; during the next 3 days, extend the sunning time by a few more hours and repeat the process until they are outside for 12 to 14 hours in full sunlight. This process will ease the shock of transplanting and ensure a greater chance of success.
Growing Tomatoes From Seed – The Conclusion
Now they are ready to go to the garden and with a few simple steps, you have accomplished the task of growing tomatoes from seed. Remember, timing is paramount to proper germination and healthy growth. Also, keep the soil moist while allowing adequate drainage throughout the progression from seed to garden gem. Growing tomatoes from seed can bring a gardener closer to their plants by nursing them to maturity and ensuring healthy plants season after season.