How to Start Tomatoes from Seed – zoohousenews.com
- December 11, 2022
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(Natural News) Learning the basics of home gardening means honing your skills so you can eventually start with plants that are above those that novices plant.
If you’re not sure where to start, try learning how to grow tomatoes from seed.
Planting tomato plants from seed offers several advantages. First, it gives you an early start to allow for a longer harvest. It can also help prevent disease so you can get the most out of your plants in the garden.
Knowing how to grow tomatoes from seed can help you save on groceries, especially as prices in stores are steadily increasing. If you know how to grow tomatoes from seed, you no longer have to spend money on tomato plants from the garden store. (Related: Home Gardening 101: 5 Secrets to Growing Great Tomatoes.)
Get the right seeds
The most important step is getting the right seeds to start with.
Ideally, you should have a steady supply of tomato seeds from previous harvests. If you are new to seeding, try new varieties.
Here are some options to consider:
Tomatoes that are beginner-friendly
When growing tomatoes for the first time, you may want to grow a variety that is large, tasty, and produces a large harvest.
Beefsteak Celebrity Italian Heirloom Primo Red
Tomatoes for fresh consumption
Cherry tomatoes are an ideal choice if you enjoy eating fresh tomatoes. They can also be used to make sauces with a touch of sweetness.
Amethyst Cream Sakura Sungold Sunsugar Super Sweet 100 Sweet Million Yellow Pear
Low-acid or yellow tomatoes
If you don’t eat raw tomatoes, consider low-acid or yellow tomatoes.
For example, Lemon Boy tomatoes grow quite large. They also ripen early and are great for tomato sauce.
Amana Orange grows taller than Lemon Boy tomatoes. As an heirloom variety, you can save Amana Orange seeds to plant until next spring.
Amana Orange Lemon Boy Oxheart Yellow Yellow Pear
Sweet tomatoes are perfect when flavor is paramount.
Some tall varieties are also rather sweet, such as:
Brandywine Costoluto Fiorentino Ferris Wheel Mortgage Lender Sicilian Saucer
Tomatoes for sauces
If your family loves pasta, choose tomatoes that are suitable for pasta sauces, such as:
Amish Pasta Roma San Marzano Supremo
Sunrise Sauce is an orange, low-acid tomato paste. It is very productive and has a long shelf life. You can keep it on your counter from September to November without it going bad.
Oxheart tomatoes are also great for sauces and grow very large. These hardly ever seed and are so satisfying to grow for pasta sauces.
Start early and use peat pellets
If you want to try tomato paste, experiment with San Marzano Gigante. Note that in an area with a shorter season, you may face some disadvantages.
The harvest time for San Marzano varieties is 90 days. If you factor in the frost-free days in your area, you might have trouble growing.
But if you have a microclimate with temperatures that are at least 20 degrees warmer, you might be able to grow San Marzano tomatoes.
Start by counting 90 days from the normal transplant date in June. You’ll land on September 1st, which means you won’t have much time to harvest.
If this is a problem, choose a smaller San Marzano variety that ripens at least two to three weeks earlier.
If you want larger San Marzano tomatoes, you can try to extend the harvest by starting sowing early. This means that you start tomato seeds six to eight weeks before transplanting into your garden.
Based on the calculated dates, you should start sowing from April 1-15.
For large, leafy plants with well-developed roots, you should start tomato seeding as early as February 1-15.
Use peat pellets to start tomato seeds. These pellets contain the right amount of water, which can ensure your appetizers turn out well.
If you don’t have peat pellets or a special seed starting mix from the garden store, you can stick with sterilized soil from your garden. Always pasteurize pots before planting to avoid spreading disease to plants that are already established in your home garden.
Start with more seeds than you need
Before you decide how many seeds to start with, add a few extras if you plan to give plants away to family and friends, or sell them for extra money.
Keep in mind that tomatoes germinate best at temperatures of 70 to 80 F, which is warmer than most people keep indoors during the winter. If you’re concerned, check which areas of your home have a warm spot for seeding.
Gardeners often keep germinating seeds in warm areas like the top of the refrigerator. If this doesn’t apply to you, keep your starter seeds on the mantel over a wood stove insert if you have one.
If you can’t find a warm place to germinate seeds indoors, you may need a seedling heating mat.
Take notes so you don’t miss the timing of your seeds. The first leaves usually form after seven to ten days.
True leaves begin to develop a few days later. Until then, the seedlings need to be placed under grow lights or in a very sunny window in your home.
If your windows don’t get enough sun to grow in winter, use LED grow lights.
Try to keep the plants about two inches below the lights for maximum light coverage and some warmth from the lights. Leave the lights on 12 to 16 hours a day and water as needed.
When the plants form two sets of true leaves, transplant them to a larger container. For the first transplant, you can use milk cartons or washed pint-sized sour cream containers. Get quart-sized yogurt containers for the second transplant.
Try not to touch the main stem of tomato seedlings, as they have juicy tissue that is easily bruised. Bruises in the stems serve as entry points for fungi that rot seedlings.
The main stem can also be damaged when a seedling falls over, which can happen if you have a weak-stemmed tomato seedling that develops into a top-heavy seedling with new leaves. Prevent this by sprinkling extra seed starter mix around the base of leggy seedlings and then pressing in.
Support the seedlings until ready to transplant by propping up the lean plants with toothpicks or a wooden skewer.
When transplanting, try to use taller containers instead of wider ones so you can send the roots deep. When transplanting, add a shallow layer of soil at the bottom to cushion the roots.
When transplanting for the first time, carefully remove the first leaves (cotyledons). Do not strip the leaf on the stem and avoid picking up anything from the stem.
Tomatoes are unique because their stems have small hairs that extend from the stem and can develop into roots.
Place the tomato seedling on the thin layer of soil and gently fill in the soil around it. Water seedlings well and lightly fertilize weekly. You can repeat this step several times before the tomatoes are finally planted in your garden.
Your tomatoes should also be hardy against strong winds. Like all plants, tomatoes need wind to develop strong stems. You can do this by gently running your hand over the tops of the tomato plants several times a day.
Follow all of these stations to produce big, lush tomato plants that cost less compared to buying them. When you grow tomatoes from seed, you will have plants that are healthier and free from disease or pests.
Watch the video below for eight tips for a great tomato crop.
This video is from the Alex Hammer channel on Brighteon.com.
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Home gardening tips: How to grow onions from seed.
Home Gardening 101: Make the most of your garden by planning an edible landscape.
Home gardening for preppers: 7 medicinal herbs you can propagate from cuttings.