5 Tips for Growing Tomatoes From Seed

starting tomato seedsTired of the long winter? Pull yourself out of the doldrums by planning and planting your own tomato seeds. There’s nothing that will help you dream of warm spring days more than the thought of lush, ripe summertime tomatoes. Start with these quick tips, then join us tomorrow for a more in-depth tomato tutorial!

1. Choose Something Unusual

Anyone can grow Big Boy or Early Girl tomatoes. You want to grow a tomato so flavorful, so unique, that you will be the envy of all your neighbors. Why not choose an heirloom tomato like the large, easy-to-grow Mortgage Lifter or the melon colored, low-acid Kellogg’s Breakfast. Live in a short season area? Pick a prolific cherry or grape tomato like Ildi or Gold Nugget.

2. Use A Seed Starter Mix

Many people start their seeds in peat pots, but I’ve never had much luck with them. Get your seeds off to a quick start with a seed starter mix. My favorite mix is Miracle-Gro (no, sadly they don’t pay me for this plug) Seed Starting Potting Mix. It is a combination of peat moss, perlite, and fertilizer.  Fill small containers –  nothing too big yet, you’ll transplant later – with the mix and water it until it is damp but not soggy.

3. Two To A Pot

Plant 2 seeds of the same type  in each container. Despite your best efforts, not all seeds will germinate. Planting two in each containers multiplies the chances of actually growing a tomato plant!

4. Provide Some Humidity

Cover your planted seeds with a dome or plastic bag. The whole point here it to provide humidity until the seeds germinate. Once they have germinated and you see the beautiful beginnings of a plant poking its head out of the soil, remove the dome or bag.

5. I See The Light

Actually, you want your fledgling tomatoes to see the light. You don’t need expensive grow lights or a fancy greenhouse. Provide light from a simple flourescent bulb. Keep it no further than 6-12 inches above the seedlings or they will become “leggy” reaching for the sun. As you can see in the above photo,this advice is from the voice of experience. I make mistakes here so you don’t have to!

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

March 28, 2013

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