It can be great fun growing your own tomatoes and you can get an even deeper satisfaction by growing your own from seeds. Growing tomatoes from seeds is very easy to do and also extremely cost effective especially if you use your own that you’ve cultivated from the previous year. With a little forward planning and by putting into practice some of these beginners tips, you will make a big success of your new tomato plants.
Planning Ahead and Preparing Your Seed Tray
You should start the process of planting your seeds about 6 to 8 weeks before you are thinking of planting them outside. Depending on how much room you will have when you transplant your seedlings ready to become fully grown tomatoes, you need to decide on which type of tomato you want to grow. If you don’t have a lot of room and are thinking about growing them in containers you might like to look at the smaller cherry tomato variety. But if you have adequate space to grow your tomatoes it shouldn’t be a problem with whatever you choose.
You should prepare your seed tray by lining it with a thick base of potting soil and filling it up to approximately 1 inch from the top. An ideal mixture would be equal amounts of organic potting soil, vermiculite, perlite and sphagnum peat moss.
Plant your tomato seeds about 4 inches apart. There are many different ideas on how spaced you should keep your seeds (some say 1 inch is fine, some say 2 inches etc…)but I find that keeping them well apart like this makes it easier to separate the plants when it comes to the time of transplanting them and avoids damaging the fragile roots. Once you have planted your seeds and are happy with their spacing you should spray the soil and the seeds with a fine mist of water and cover the top of the tray with cling film to help keep the air moist. Some germinating trays come with a plastic lid already fixed to them. Place the tray in a warm area.
When the seedlings appear, which should be after about a week if conditions are right, and most of the plants have developed at least 1 leaf you can remove the cling film or lid. Keep the tray in the same location and keep the new seedlings moist. Be careful not to over water them though as this can make your tiny plants wilt.
Transplant them into small individual pots when the seedlings have reached approximately 2 inches high. Lift them out very gently with their leaves and try to avoid touching the stems as they are still extremely fragile at this stage. Poke your finger into the soil in the new pots to make a hole. Place the seedling into it and gently press the soil around it to keep it in place and water it. These should be left outside in the sunlight and can be turned every so often so that they get even exposure.
Transplant your plants again once they have reached a height of about 6 inches tall. This time they will need the larger 6 inch pots and this is where they will stay until you decide to either plant them into the ground or in containers.
Your final stage in the process of seed to mature tomato plant is when they have reached a height of at least 8 inches. Prepare the soil in which you want to grow the plant and place it into the soil up to its top 4 leaves. Tomato plants can actually grow roots all the way up their stems and planting them this way will promote strong healthy roots.
By taking the time to “transplant out” your seedlings in this way, you will give your tomato plants a great start in life. It will promote strong healthy plants that will bear rich succulent fruits for many years. Now you know how easy it is growing tomatoes from seeds….what are you waiting for?
Stephen Martinson has been growing tomatoes for more than 10 years. His goal is to pass on all the tips and techniques he has discovered to help everyone grow their own beautiful delicious tomatoes the easy way. For more great easy to follow information on growing tomatoes from seeds, visit http://www.easytomatogrowingtips.com.