Growing Tomatoes From Seed
Which Tomatoes Should You Grow?
Tomatoes are by and large one of the most popular vegetables to have in your garden. The varieties are almost endless and tomatoes can be used in so many ways that the hardest part could be choosing which tomato is best to grow. As usual, we recommend trying several different types and varieties to see which one works best for you and your garden. However, some things to consider when choosing your the right tomato for you are:
1. How much space do you have? Determinate tomatoes usually only grow to 3-4 feet tall whereas indeterminate varieties can double that and be 6 feet tall or larger. So if you have limited vertical space, that will be a major factor to consider.
2. What are you using your tomatoes for? Tomatoes can be enjoyed fresh, canned, in sauces, and other endless recipes so depending on how you want to enjoy them could mean the difference between choosing a Sun Gold Tomato and a Mortgage Lifter Tomato. Both are excellent choices but have very different characteristics.
3. Location, location, location. Do you live in a zone with blistering hot and dry summers? Does it stay mostly shaded in your garden? Are pests and diseases a problem for you? All of these are just examples of what to take into account when growing tomatoes in your garden, as each tomato is going to have different requirements.
How To Grow Tomatoes From Seed
- Start tomato seeds indoors or in your greenhouse 6 weeks before your last average frost date for colder climates and 4 weeks for warmer climates.
- We recommend starting in seed trays to help the delicate seedlings stay free from weed pressure and regulate temperature fluctuations.
- Beginning in seed trays will give you a head start on the growing season. Instead of having to wait for weather conditions to even out, your tomato plants will have already germinated and established a root system and are ready to go into the ground immediately.
Seed Start Supply List
Depending on your preference, you can choose to start your seeds indoors with a light kit or outdoors in a greenhouse setting but tomato plants should always be started in trays and not directly planted in the soil. Below is a list of all the essentials to begin grow tomatoes from seed and get them ready for transplant.
- 162 Seed Tray
- Heavy Duty Bottom Tray
- Hanging Light Kit
- Sungro Seed Starting Mix
- Dramm Watering Can
- Dr. Joe Tomato and Vegetable Bubble
- 162 Seed Tray
- Fogg-It Mist Nozzle
- Sungro Seed Starting Mix
- 100 or 150 Watt Germination Mat
- Germination Thermostat
- Hoss Premium 20-20-20 Fertilizer
Planting Your Tomato Seeds
- Fill each cell in the trays completely with seed starting mix. Use your hands to pack the mix into each cell, saving some for covering the seeds later.
- Place starting tray on bottom tray and lightly water from above to generously moisten seed starting mix. Repeat 3-4 times to ensure all of the soil in the cells are moist. Water should be dripping from the bottom of the trays.
- Make an indentation in the center of each cell using your hands or a pencil roughly 1/8″ – 1/4″ deep.
- Place one seed per indentation and lightly cover with the remaining seed starting mix or perlite. Be careful not to add too much mix over the tops of the cells, as it can delay germination.
- Whether you are starting indoors or outdoors, the optimal temperature for tomato germination is around 75°F, so regularly check temperatures and adjust as needed. Be sure that your tomatoes are placed in an area with full sun or be sure that your grow light is directly above the tray, almost touching them. Move the lights up as the seedlings grow.
- Fertilize your tomato seeds once a week using the designated fertilizer in the supply list above.
- Water your tomato seeds 2-3 times a day.
- Once the seedlings about 3 inches tall and have developed their first set of true leaves, it will be time to transplant.
Tomato Seed Tips & Tricks
Handle With Care
Once your tomato seedlings emerge and are growing tall and strong, be sure not to touch the stem of the seedling. They’re very delicate and will bruise, which can introduce bacteria and cause you to lose your tomato plant.
Give Your Seeds Props
If you notice your seedlings leaning over, carefully support them using extra soil, a wooden stake or toothpick.
Shop Our Huge Tomato Seed Collection!
You don’t need acres of land to grow your own food. Vertical and container gardening is an excellent way to maximize whatever space you have available and have food for your family year round!