Who wouldn’t love to be able to pick juicy, healthy tomatoes right from their home garden? Growing tomatoes from seed is the best way to grow these hearty vegetables, which need to be planted ahead of the growing season. Not only will you be ahead of the curve, it will give you more control over growing different varieties of tomatoes.
First, choose from heirloom tomato seeds, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes and many more, and try to determine the purpose of growing your tomatoes, such as using them for sauce, pastes or slicing. Seeds can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before being transferred outside, and they should germinate within 10 days. You will need small pots or containers, potting mix and the tomato seeds of your choice to begin.
Start by filling the containers with the potting mix and add water. You can also choose to dampen the potting mix before adding it to the container, then add water until the consistency is damp but it can still break apart if you poke it. Plant 2-3 seeds per container, placing them about 1/8” deep.
Once the seeds are pressed firmly into the potting mix, cover the containers with loose plastic wrap to ensure the moisture stays intact. If the potting mix doesn’t feel moist enough once the tomato seeds are planted, feel free to add some more water. Place the containers in a dark location, around 70-80 degrees in temperature. Over the next two weeks or so, your tomato plant should start to sprout and at that time, it can be moved out of the darkness and into a sunny location in the house.
As your tomato plants grow larger indoors and leaves start to appear, it’s time to transfer them to larger pots. It’s now time for the hardening off process to get your tomato plants ready for the outdoors. The hardening off process can begin when the nighttime temperatures consistently get above 50 degrees, and it should be about 4-6 weeks after first planting the tomato seeds.
When the hardening off process is complete and your tomato plants are ready to be exposed to outdoor conditions, it’s time to plant your tomatoes in the garden. Remember to water them often! Expect to see tomatoes pop up about 45-90 days after they’ve been transferred outside. Since tomato branches are prone to disease, make sure to snip branches as needed.
Now that the process is completed and the fruits of your labor have arrived, get ready to pick and eat your tomatoes! Share your bounty with family and friends for bragging rights that you’ve certainly earned.
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