Growing tomatoes from seed is rather easy. Not only will you save money on buying from the produce department at your local grocery store, you will also save money on buying tomatoes plants when you grow them from seed.
You can purchase seeds at your local garden stores and department stores with garden department.
For the price you would pay for one tomato plant, you can buy enough seeds to grow twenty or more plants for around a buck.
Depending on the variety you may get up to 100 seeds for $1.00-$2.00. Below you will find that growing tomatoes from seeds is not only beneficial but very easy.
What you will need:
- Tomato Seeds (any heirloom or hybrid variety of your choice)
- Well Drained Sterile Seed Tray and Dome
- Popsicle Stick (or other tool to create rows)
Step #1: Prepare Your Soil
The first step is to prepare you planting area. In this case it will be your seed tray. Fill your tray with 1-2 inches of soil depending on its depth.
Water the soil until it is moist but not soggy. You may need to water, let it set and then water it again to allow it to soak up the water evenly.
Once your soil is nice and wet, you then want to create rows to plant the seeds. Using a Popsicle stick or other tool, make rows that are approximately ¼ in deep.
Depending on how many tomato seeds you are growing, you may decide to simply create small holes with your Popsicle stick and drop a seed in each one.
However, if you are planting a lot this could be very time consuming and take up more of an area to insure that you don’t damage the previous planted seed.
Step #2: Sowing Your Seeds
Once you have your rows finished (or holes), it’s now time to plant. Take a few seeds at a time, and lightly sprinkling them down each row evenly. If you happen to get two touching don’t worry, they will still grow.
Once you have placed your seeds, go back and pinch the dirt in the rows to cover the planting.
You can also use more potting soil to lightly cover if you choose. If you do add soil, be sure to lightly spray it down to give it some extra moisture.
Step #3: Create the Greenhouse Effect
Once your tomato seeds have been sown, place the clear plastic dome over the tray. If you are using a greenhouse then the dome isn’t really necessary as long has you maintain a high humidity level.
Step #4: Germination Begins
Once your plants begin to germinate, watch them closely. You will want to keep the soil moist but not soggy. They will get root rot if the soil is too wet.
Once they get about an inch tall, you can remove the dome to allow fresh air to move through the seedlings. Allow them to grow 2-3 inches before transplanting.
Step #5: Transplanting the Seedlings
After your tomato plants have grown to 3 inches it’s time to transplant them.
Using sterile pots made from burlap or peat (Styrofoam cups work well also), fill them to about ½ inch from the top with sterile soil.
Moisten the soil just as you did with the seed trays. Again, you may need to water and wait a few times to allow it to soak in well.
If using Styrofoam cups poke a small hole in the bottom with a toothpick to allow drainage. Using popsicle stick, create a hole in each pot that is about as big around as the popsicle stick and 2-3 inches deep.
Once your pots are prepared it’s now time to start the main transplanting stage. Using a popsicle stick, gently slide it under the soil beneath a seedling and lift upwards to life the seedling.
Always hold the seedling by the grown to insure no damage is done to the stem. Gently pull the seedling upwards while pushing the soil and roots up and the same time.
Once your seedling is removed, place the roots and stems into the holes in each container.
Plant it as low to the crown (or baby leaves) as you can with out them actually setting on the soil. Secure the soil around the tomato seedling and move on to the next.
Step #6: Maintaining Healthy Seedlings
Once you have potted the entire tray tomato seedlings, you can now place them in front of a sunny window and continue to water them routinely.
Be sure to check them every day to insure that they have dried out. A few sprits of water from a water bottle works great on a daily bases to insure high humidity and help the leaves take in water since their roots are still growing.
As they grow you will see their true leaves begin to grow and then from there on your tomato plant will take off.
You will need to replant them in a few weeks, either in the ground, growing bags or bigger pots depending on you gardening preferences.
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© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published January 3, 2016. Last updated: January 5, 2020 at 14:16 pm. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock