Tomatoes are more than a filling veggie. Raising them is like a rite of passage for both dedicated and leisure gardeners. You get to show them off as well as enjoy them, and understanding how to effectively cultivate them can greatly improve your gardening abilities. Follow these easy procedures to raise tomatoes from seed, and your tomatoes will undoubtedly be among the largest on the street.
1. Start from Seed
Maybe you want to get a head start on the growing season. Maybe you desire types that aren’t available at your local garden center. In any case, growing tomatoes from seed is the best method to enjoy this fruit. Regular beefsteak tomatoes are delicious. But there are many varieties of tomatoes, including cherry, yellow and heirloom, and they all offer different colors, sizes and flavors. Greater variety is a good reason to grow tomatoes from seed rather than starter plants. This provides you greater control and, in most cases, results in a stronger crop.
2. Plant Your Tomato Seeds
You may plant tomato seeds in any tiny container, such as a yogurt cup, egg carton, or seed beginning tray, as long as it has appropriate drainage holes. To stimulate rapid root development, place 2 or 3 seeds in each container or cell and use a seed starting mix such as Miracle-Gro® Seed Beginning Potting Mix. Fill your pots halfway with potting mix, then add water until the mixture is the consistency of a wrung-out sponge. Put seeds approximately 1/8 inch deep and lightly push the dirt to ensure the seeds have enough contact with the earth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap to conserve moisture, and place your seeds in a dark, warm location, preferably between 70°F to 80°F. As your seeds begin to sprout, which normally takes 1 to 2 weeks, relocate them to a sunny location or under artificial lighting. When their first leaves appear, transfer them to larger containers, such as 16-oz plastic cups with holes poked in the bottom.
3. Prepare Your Tomatoes for the Outdoors
Prepare your tomato seedlings for outside circumstances by hardening them off. This entails gradually exposing them to the elements they will encounter outdoors. Place them outside for a few hours a day in an area protected from wind and direct sun, and bring them inside in the evening or whenever temperatures below 50°F are forecasted. This should be done every day for 10 to 14 days. For windier and less temperate days, you can also purchase cold frames from a garden center or home improvement store, or make your own protectors using plastic sheeting.
4. Prepare Your Tomatoes to the Ground
According to an ancient proverb, “tomatoes have fun in the sun, but fade in the shade.” The more sun, the better for all tomatoes. When it’s time to put them in the ground, ideally about 2 weeks after your last frost date, mix in a big helping of high-quality garden soil, such as Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables or Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil. Add a 3-inch layer of mulch, such as Scotts® Nature Scapes® Advanced Color Enhanced Mulch around your tomato plants to help conserve soil moisture and keep weeds at bay. Keep your tomato plants at least 6 inches away from the mulch.
5. Water and Feed
Feed your tomatoes with an appropriate plant food such as Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed® Tomato, Fruit, & Vegetables Plant Food, as like most plants, they will be especially hungry for nutrients during the first few weeks in the soil. Water them once a day. Once established, be sure to water and feed your plants on a regular basis. To evaluate moisture levels closer to the roots, do a simple soil test by sinking your finger approximately one inch into the soil. Take note of any wilting symptoms in the plants’ leaves.
6. Harvest Your Tomatoes
In general, fruit should arrive between 45 and 90 days after planting. Rich hues and a little tenderness are generally indicators of ripeness. But be careful, as you don’t want the tomatoes to become overly ripe, which can result in a very soft tomato. Now you’re ready to pick and eat, share and show off your bounty.
7. Keep Your Tomato Plants Healthy
Remember to water often to protect the soil from drying out. Tomatoes like water, and one of the leading causes of tomato plant deterioration is a lack of moisture. You’ll be shocked at how well your plants react to plant food, so feed them on a regular basis as well. Snip any branches that grow close or on the ground to avoid illness. Remove any tomatoes that have been bitten by bugs or worms as soon as possible. You don’t want to motivate them.
Can you plant tomato seeds directly outside?
If your growing season is 4 months or more between frosts, you may direct-sow tomato seed straight in the garden… and if you are diligent about weeding, watering, and all of the other tomato Care routines. Of course, you may also purchase seedlings locally or through mail.
When can you plant tomato seeds outside?
When nightly temperatures stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, plant tomato seedlings outside. Don’t rely solely on the average last frost date, however. Generally, tomatoes can go outside about a week or two after the last frost in an area, but this isn’t a strict rule. Weather patterns might change from year to year.
Can I plant tomato seeds straight from a tomato?
Plant Your Tomato
Then simply bite into your juicy little tomato, scoop out a few seeds and push them into the pot with your finger a few inches apart from each other until they’re covered with soil. Wait for the seeds to grow while keeping the soil wet.
Can you put seeds straight into soil?
Planting seeds indoors is one method of getting your garden started. Another alternative is to plant seeds directly in the ground. Planting seeds this way is called direct sowing, and it is an easy process that yields great results.