Ask many gardeners about growing tomatoes from seed and whether they grew them from seeds or from seedlings and chances are you will find that the majority will answer seedlings. Many people are not confident with growing from seed, yet it can be just as rewarding, if not more so. With the right timing and technique, you can easily grow tomatoes from seeds at home.
I begin to grow my seeds in a plug tray or cells – an old egg carton with a plastic liner and some potting compost can work great for this. The reason for this is that the ones I utilize are fairly small so I can grow a great deal of seeds in a small space and the other is that when the seedling begins to develop the root turns into the percentage of compost and binds this together. The seeds will need a temperature of 15C or more to get a great start and I just grow these in my kitchen on the windowsill. I do grow them in a propagator but they will grow in a normally heated house.
There’s A Trick To It
The main requirement is to keep them inside until the last frost has passed, so firstly you need to find our when that is likely to be in your local area (you can get this information from most detailed weather reports). Around 8 weeks before that date plant the seeds and keep them warm in your house.
Temperature, humidity, nutrition and light are the main elements to look at when growing tomatoes from seeds. If you can, use a “starter” seedling potting mix because it will usually contain the right balance of nutrients needed for the seedlings and also be loose enough for the little seeds to force their way through the soil and germinate properly. Using a small pot or seedling tray pot them an inch below the surface of the soil as you would any other seed.
Spray them with a light mist every day. The soil should be kept at around 27C (80F) to encourage growth and they should be exposed to at least 5 hours sunlight per day. Sitting them on the window sill seems to get them started well. After the first 3 or 4 leaves have come through they can be transferred out of the starter pot and placed individually into it’s own separate larger pot so that the roots can grow without restriction. Once they have reached this stage placing them outside for several hours per day will help to harden them up ready for when they can be transplanted into your prepared garden bed or final pot after the last frost has passed. It really is that simple to grow the most delicious tomatoes from seed and there are quite a few online seed sellers and places like GrowGreatTomatoes.com tomato growing website who specialise in providing advice for budding tomato growers.
If you have followed these tips when growing you will produce a great deal of tomatoes – perhaps more tomatoes than you can get through! It is best not to put your excess tomatoes in the fridge as they can lose their flavour quickly that way. Instead, keep them in a paper bag in a dark place to slow the ripening process but keep the flavour. If you need them to last even longer try freezing your tomatoes either sliced up or whole. Once defrosted they can be used in cooking.