How to Grow Tomato Plants From Seed: All You Need to Know
Tomatoes Growing on a Trellis
I love tomatoes, they are such a versatile fruit and liven up a salad no end, another bonus is they are good for you. I really enjoy planting tomatoes and watching them grow. I am going to share with you how I grow my own tomatoes from seed, receiving a bumper crop every summer. Leaving me to enjoy my summer dishes at my leisure. I am now a chutney king and enjoy making fun fresh dishes with tomatoes, especially tomato sauces.
Tomatoes are very easy to grow. From hanging baskets to window boxes to a garden plot or even an old car tyre. Grow tomatoes on your kitchen windowsill or find a cosy spot in your conservatory. These delicious summer fruits that originated from South America love rich soil, warm temperatures and plenty of water.
Firstly we need good quality seeds. Where is the best place to get good tomato seeds? From a good tomato of course. There are many varieties of tomatoes based on their shape and size. Purchase your preferred variety of tomatoes from your local market or local green grocer; select firm, rounded tomatoes with a clear shiny skin.
Slice the tomatoes in half. Remove the seeds with a spoon and gently wash the seeds clean. Leave to dry in a cool place. Once the seeds are completely dry, wrap in newspaper and store in a cool dry place till your ready to plant. The seeds will keep all through the winter months.
Nutritious Soil: a must to grow sweet, juicy and fleshy tomatoes
Seedlings in an Egg Carton
Plant Your Seeds in a Seedling Starter Tray
Mist Watering is The Best Option for Seedlings
Three Important Things to Remember
Choose a nutritious soil to give your tomatoes the best growing start. Tomatoes will thrive in a rich soil with added compost (bought or rotted). You will need to buy some seed trays to get your tomatoes growing strong. Empty egg cartons (see photo to the right) work very well too (remember to put a small pin prick in the bottom to allow the excess water to drain off). Fill the seed trays with the soil and using a tweezers (fingers are awkward with tiny seeds) carefully push two or three seeds into each individual hole in the seed tray. Pat the soil down lightly making sure not to compact the seed tray.
These tasty fruits love warm weather hence the need for at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to grow strong. Once your seeds are planted place the seed trays in a warm place that will get plenty of sunshine daily. A window ledge or sheltered spot in the garden will do fine during the day. Tomatoes must have a temperature of around 55 degrees to thrive. If nighttime temperatures are cooler; the tomatoes must come inside to a warm place during the night. It is crucial that your seedlings are warm at all times. A cold night outside will kill your baby tomato plants.
Tomatoes are mainly made up of water so it makes perfect sense that they need a lot of watering. Little and often is the best way to water your seeds. Make sure you take care when watering the seeds; you don't want to flush them out from the soil. For this very reason, mist watering is best for seedlings. And very effective too. It's best to water early in the morning and last thing in the evening before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down. Stick with the same watering routine to ensure thriving plants.
Tomatoes From Summer 2013
A Bumper Crop From Summer 2014
Planting Your Seedlings
Once your seedlings are about two to three inches in height it's time to re pot or plant in the garden.
Tomatoes will grow well anywhere as long as they have the all important rich soil, warm temperature and plenty of water. Grape, cherry or pear tomatoes will look gorgeous in hanging baskets or window boxes. Plant single seedlings (beef and plum tomatoes) into pots with a growing pole to encourage the tomatoes to grow upwards.
Planting in the garden requires a little extra care. Turn the soil over a couple of times before you plant the seedlings. Rake well and remove any small stones. Add plenty of compost if the soil is sandy. Water the soil before and after planting the seedlings. Erect growing poles to encourage the tomatoes to grow upwards. Or plant the seedlings in the garden close to a wall and erect a trellis. The tomato plants will climb the trellis as they grow.
Tomatoes are a vine plant so it best to provide a climber for them. The stalks can be weak hence the growing poles or trellis. If an aid for growing upward isn't provided the stalk/vine will break or the plant will attach itself onto other plants in the garden and spread along the ground resulting in to much growth in the vine and not enough in the fruit. Also fruit on the ground is more susceptible to insects. The growing poles also help to expose the fruits to the sun. Meaning they will ripen quicker.
Tie some long coloured ribbons to the grow poles or trellis. The ribbons will keep insects and birds away from your tomatoes.
The Mini Greenhouse: the perfect green house for limited space to grow your tomato plants
Tomatoes will grow very happily in a green house if your summer months are not so warm. While many people may not have the space or indeed the time to utilize a green house there are numerous ones available. Sizes range from a full size green house with all mod cons down to a simple one, small enough for a corner balcony. Materials are available in numerous cloths from polythene to all year round weather-guard. If your a keen gardener but have limited space, don't let that hold you back. There's a green house out there that's perfect for you and your seedlings.
Homegrown Tomatoes: Perfect for salads, soups and sauces
Your Own Taste Better
Once you've grown and tasted your very own homegrown tomatoes you will never look back. Tomatoes make great sauces, soups, salads, chutneys and fillers. Sliced, diced, roasted, fried, grilled or stuffed; there is very little a tomato won't do. Tomatoes are simply delicious with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper.
The above method of growing tomatoes has never failed me. I have an abundance of succulent tomatoes every year. I freeze what I can't eat and enjoy them in the cooler months. I reuse seeds from my own tomatoes for the seeds the following year. I always pick the best tomato seeds from the very best tomatoes, using the delightful flesh to make wonderful tomato soups and pizza base sauces. Whether you live in a Castle or a room with a window ledge; you can grow tomatoes. I hope you do. Wishing you every success with your tomato seeds and your tomato fruits.
Another Delicious Recipe
- Homemade Tomato and Basil Pesto Soup with Crispy Cro...
This classic tomato and basil pesto soup is a real knock out. Easy and simple to prepare. Good for a snack or a starter. A real tasty treat. This recipe will give 4 good portions. You will need the...
© 2011 Gabriel Wilson
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