Grow Yummy Tomatoes from Seed!

Heirloom Tomatoes grown from seed.

Heirloom Tomatoes grown from seed.

There is nothing better than biting into a tomato freshly picked off the vine and warmed by the sun in July.  But if you want to experience that, now is the time to get started.

Step 1: Get ready.  Fill a “no-hole” planting tray with a good quality, fresh potting soil.Tray of potting soil


Sunshine Pro-Mix is my preferred potting soil.

Sunshine Pro-Mix is my preferred potting soil.

Step 2: Moisten it thoroughly.  Get out your seed package and make plant tags so you know which varieties are which.

Tomato seed package

Step 3: Make a shallow groove across the tray.


Step 4: Drop tomato seeds in the groove one at a time, about 2 inches apart.


Step 5: Continue making shallow grooves (about 2 inches apart) and dropping in the tomato seeds one by one until you need to change varieties, or you finish the tray.


Step 6: Now cover all the seeds with about 1/4 inch of potting soil.  (0.6 cm).  Be sure to remove any small sticks or rocks in the potting soil.

Step 7:  Cover the tray with a clear plastic bag, and put it in a warm spot.  (The top of the fridge is a great place if you don’t have a heat mat.
Step 8:  Check daily for germination.  Tomato seeds usually germinate in 5-10 days if the temperatures are warm enough.  (Around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius)

Newly emerged tomato seedlingsStep 9: As soon as the first seedlings begin to emerge, uncover them, and move them to an area with bright light.  A south facing window is great, and a grow light is even better.  You can keep the grow light just above the seedlings.  (About 3 inches or 10 cm).  The light should be left on 12-14 hours a day.  Be sure to rotate the trays daily so each seedling grows straight rather than leaning.
You might notice that at first, they don’t look like tomato leaves.  That’s because the first leaves to emerge, the seed leaves, are more smooth and strap like.  The next leaves will come shortly, and they will look like they are supposed to.
Step 10:  You can direct a household fan on your seedlings to mimic wind, or just brush your hand over their tops several times a day to toughen them up.

Step 11: When the tomatoes have at least 2 sets of true leaves, it is time to re-pot them into a larger container.  (Blog post to follow)

Enjoy your summer bounty!

tomato collage

Posted Friday, March 25th, 2016 under Gardening ideas, Quick tips, Uncategorized, Vegetable Garden.

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