How to grow tomatoes from seed

Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender February 14, 2010 Posted Tags: , , Comment No Comments

Come sowing time! Spring is approaching fast and everyone is getting ready to sow some tomato seeds. They are fairly easy to grow from seed and if you have a warm windowsill in your kitchen then the germination will not be a problem.

For the tastiest fruits many gardener grow the tomatoes in a greenhouse, polytunnel or even in a conservatory. However outside growing is rewarding too, just make sure you grow the plants in the warmest, sheltered area of your plot, garden.

Sowing the tomato seeds

Ideally label and fill a small pot or a seedtray with seed sowing compost, firm down and water. Scatter the seeds thinly as most of them will germinate be careful not to over sow at this stage. Place the pot on a windowsill or warm light shelf to germinate, and within 2 weeks, you should see seedlings, and they will be big enough in around 4 weeks to move on to individual pots. Sow seeds about a cm deep, keep the temperature 12-25 Celsius and the seeds germinate within 14 days. Make sure that you keep the compost moist during the entire growing process, and warmth is very important too. If you sow the seeds outside in an unheated greenhouse or propagator, wait until all risk of frost has passed in your area. And do not worry you can sow them as late as end of April, the plants will go faster in the hopefully warm spring and you just have a slightly later crop.

Move the tomato plants by gently holding the seedlings by their stalk and carefully moving them out with the help of a dibber or such like. Grow the plants on for 3-4 weeks before transplanting them to the final position after all risk of frost has passed.

When the roots are showing at the bottom of the pots it’s time to transplant the tomatoes.

Moving into their final position

Once the plants have 6-8 pairs of true leaves (more importantly when there is no frost expected), then it is time to move your tomatoes to a growing bag, border of your greenhouse or a warm fertile place in your garden. Break up the compost in the bag and scoop out some so that the root ball fit in the hole. Water well and place it in a warm spot. Oh and make sure you made some holes in the bottom of the bag for the excess water.

If you are growing indeterminate/cordon tomatoes, then you will need to support the plants with a cane and tie the plants to it carefully.

Ideally tomatoes grow on one single stem, expect the bush varieties, so snap out any shoots that grown in leaf joints, and once your plant has produced four or five trusses of flowers, pinch out the growing tip (the very top of the tomato plant). Doing this will ensure that all the growing energy is put into producing fruit rather than plant growth. You will need to keep doing this as the plant will try and grow more sideshoots. You also need to feed once a week with fertiliser, and water daily, or even twice a day in dry and sunny spells.

These are just our recommendations, individual growing conditions affect the germination of the seeds and the growth of the plants.

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