Tips and Steps For Growing Tomatoes from Seed

Tomatoes thrive very well in warm climates, although they can still be grown in greenhouses under controlled conditions. The initial nursery preparations for tomato seedlings are very important. There are two ways of handling this. You can grow the tomatoes from seeds or buy seedlings from a vendor. Growing tomatoes is very easy, yet delicate and this means some careful considerations need to be made first.

from seedThe first step to growing tomatoes from seed is identifying quality tomato seeds to plant in a nursery bed. You can search online for seed stores that deal with agricultural products to find a good one. You will need seeds from a reputable source for quality assurance. You also need to decide whether to use heirlooms or hybrid tomato seeds. Depending on your garden size, you can plant the two simultaneously.

The next step after purchasing tomato seeds is preparing a nursery where seedlings are to grow. The nursery should be prepared with rich and fertile sterile soil. This is an important procedure, especially if the nursery will be indoors or within a greenhouse. Ensure the soil is well moistened before creating furrows in the same. These furrows should be ¼ inches deep and about ½ inches apart. Next, drop the tomato seeds along these furrows, then cover lightly with sterile soil. Sprinkle water gently on these furrows to give enough moisture for the seeds to grow.

One important fact you should understand about the seeds is that they need light (especially sunlight or florescent light), warmth and moisture to grow healthy. Light is very important when the seedlings are germinating in their nursery. If these are present, the seedlings should start germinating within a period of 6 days. Proper care should be taken on the germinating seedlings and this involves ensuring that there is enough sunlight and moisture, as well as, uprooting any weeds if any. This should go on for at least 25 days after germination.

You should have prepared the field or garden where these seedlings are to be transplanted to. This entails ensuring the soil is loose enough (involves digging and getting rid of any weeds) and then creating holes where the tomato seedlings will be transplanted to. Next, you need to add in some fertilizer, preferably C.A.N (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) or D.A.P (Di Ammonium Phosphate), in the already prepared field for transplanting. You can also transplant the seedlings into containers that have been prepared, too. Water the containers or field in readiness for seedlings.

You need to water or irrigate the nursery bed at least two hours before you can start to transplant the seedlings. This will help loosen up soil around the seedling’s roots for easy pricking out. When this is done, use an old spoon fork to prick individual healthy tomato seedlings from their growing containers. Ensure the roots come out with a ball of soil then insert the seedling to its container or hole. Press the soil firm around its roots and then repeat the procedure in all holes or containers you wish to plant the tomato seedlings.

These are the most important steps in growing tomatoes from seed. If you handle everything perfectly, you should be sure of a bounty harvest within 16 weeks or even less.

Learn About Growing Tomatoes Indoors

You can begin growing tomatoes indoors very early in the spring and you should. The reason for this is that it takes tomato plants a long time to mature and produce fruit. Most places in the US do not have a long enough summer for tomatoes to do well when sown outside. Giving them a few months indoors to get a good start will make all the difference in the world in your harvest.

grow indoorsGetting started is easy. You want to begin in March or April. Use individual planting containers that have small drainage holes punched in the bottom. One quart yogurt containers are about the right size. Don’t use smaller containers than this because they won’t have enough soil to give your tomato plant roots a good start.

When you choose your soil, be sure to get a good seed starting mix rather than potting soil. This sort of medium is specially prepared to nurture seeds and using it makes a huge difference in how well your seedlings do.

Once you have your containers ready and have purchased your starter mix and your seeds, get a big bucket and empty the starter mix into it. Pour in water slowly and mix it gently until you have a mix that is about as damp as a sponge that has been wrung-out. Put this mixture into your containers. Fill them to approximately one inch from the top, then tap the bottom of the container to get the mix settled in.

Use a pencil or similar object to make a quarter inch deep hole for your tomato seed. You can do one seed per container or put in three seeds with an inch between each. Later, you will choose the strongest seedling and discard the other two. Cover the seeds with more starter mix and mist the surface of the mix with a spray bottle.

Keep your planted seeds in a warm place. It should be between 75 and 85 degrees consistently. The top of your refrigerator is a good place because it will provide warmth from the bottom. Suspend a fluorescent light above to provide more warmth and light. Spray lightly with water every day to keep the soil evenly moist. If it tends to dry out quickly, you can place your little planters in a shallow tray with water they can soak up from the bottom.

Once your seedlings have sprouted, keep them at between 65 and 75 degrees with your fluorescent light positioned approximately four or five inches above. When they reach a height of two or three inches and have good leaves, repot them into larger pots so that they will be able to grow. Continue using seedling mix.

Transplant the plants by removing them gently from the smaller pots using a fork to loosen the soil and lift from below the root ball. Make a hole in the mix in the new pot that is a little bigger than the root ball. If your plants are too tall and spindly, you can actually bury the stems a little deeper to encourage them to strengthen and toughen up.

Keep giving your tomato seedlings plenty of light and rotate them regularly to encourage even growth. Give them plant food weekly. This should be fish emulsion or some good brand of liquid fertilizer. After about a month, if the weather is dependably above 50 degrees outside, you can begin accustoming your seedlings to being outdoors. Begin by putting them in the shade for a few days. Once they have adjusted, you can place them in your garden.

Growing tomatoes indoors is a great way to get them started early so that you can be certain they will do well throughout the summer. Follow the tips presented here to be certain of harvesting a bumper tomato crop.