How To Grow Tomatoes From Seed

Published on: 28 April 2017 Last Updated on: 29 May 2021
planttomato

If you are an avid tomato grower you’re probably envious of all the different varieties that other growers talk about, but that you can’t find transplants for in your area. In many cases, those growers are growing tomatoes from seed.

Growing tomatoes from seed really isn’t that difficult, as long as you understand a few basic things. Well, I will walk you through this process below. Read on.

Why is it necessary to start tomato seeds early?

Tomato seeds planted in the garden won’t germinate until the ground is warm enough. What’s the ideal ground temperature? They germinate best at temperatures in the 70-80 degree range.

If you plant seeds directly into the ground, odds are the summer will be too short for tomatoes to become productive before the end of the growing season unless you live in one of the warmest climates in the US.

The days to harvest number that is on a packageof tomato seeds assumes that you are using transplants.

tomatoes

To decide if your area is warm enough to plant directly in the ground, add 30-50 days to that number. So if it says 90 days you would need 120-140 days of temperatures above 70 degrees to get your first ripe tomato if you plant the seeds in the ground!

When should I start my seeds?

Most people who are growing tomatoes from seed start 4 6 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in their area. You need to wait to plant the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date when the soil has warmed up to at least 50 degrees.

The date you start growing tomatoes from seed can vary depending on the space you have available and the length of your growing season.

tomato-flower

First, you need to gather some important items:

  1. Containers: Start with clean, sterile containers to grow your tomato transplants in.
    Your local garden center or big box store should have seed starting kits that consist of a black plastic tray with peat pots or plastic inserts and a clear plastic dome cover that fits over the top.

If you’re only starting a few seeds, you may want to just plant them in paper or foam cups with holes punched in the bottoms.

Many of us like to save money and reuse flats or recycle containers like plastic milk jugs for starting seeds. This is fine as long as you wash them thoroughly and then sanitize in a 10% bleach solution (1 cup bleach in 10 cups of water).

Note: Be sure whatever container you use has drainage holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain out.

  1. Lights: You cannot grow a healthy transplant without proper light. Even a sunny, south-facing window is not really adequate. Using a led grow light or fluorescent light on a timer that it is on for 12 hours and then off for 12 hours, will ensure that when you are growing tomatoes from seed your plants get all the light they need to grow properly.

You will need to plan a way to raise the lights so that the top leaves of the plants are 2- 3î below the lights. One method is to use a wire shelving unit. The chain that comes with a fluorescent shop light works perfectly to hang it from the shelf above your plants.

  1. Growing Media: Use fresh, sterile germination mix labeled for seed starting. These mixes are usually peat-based and do not contain garden soil.

Tip: More than 50% of people who are growing tomatoes from seed for the first time lose their seedlings to damping-off disease. This fatal disease can literally wipe out your seedlings overnight. Starting with sterile containers and soil mix will greatly decrease the chance of your seedlings becoming infected.

Read also: How To Choose The Right Containers For Your Container Garden

Growing tomatoes from seed are the only way to have the very best tasting and old fashioned heirloom varieties which are not usually available as nursery started plants.

Read also: Does Organic Gardening Improve Soil Quality?

Lucia Patterson is the woman behind TheLegalGuides, a blog solely focused on legal guides, tips, and advice. Lucia loves essay writing and blogs at EssayWritingGuides from her college days.

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how to harvest asparagus-

Asparagus 101: When, How, And How Often To Harvest?

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Prepare the Soil  Prepare the soil by adding organic matter, such as compost or manure, and adjusting the pH to 6.5 to 7.5. You can use a soil test kit to check the pH and nutrient levels of your soil. You may also need to add some fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 10-20-10, to boost the phosphorus and potassium content. Dig it Deep Dig a trench about 8 to 12 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches wide. You can make the trench longer or shorter depending on how many asparagus crowns you have. Asparagus crowns are the dormant roots of the plant that you can buy from nurseries or online. They usually have one-year-old or two-year-old crowns, which are more reliable and productive than seeds. Fertilize Spread some fertilizer along the bottom of the trench, about 2 pounds per 100 square feet. Then, cover the fertilizer with 2 to 3 inches of soil, forming a ridge in the center of the trench. 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To freeze asparagus, you should first wash and trim the spears, and then blanch them in boiling water for two to three minutes, depending on the thickness.  Blanching is a process of briefly cooking and cooling the vegetables to stop the enzyme activity that causes them to spoil.  After blanching, you should drain and cool the spears, and then pack them in freezer bags or containers, leaving some space for expansion. You can freeze asparagus for up to a year, and use it in soups, casseroles, or stir-fries. How to Prevent and Treat Asparagus Pests and Diseases?  Asparagus is generally a hardy and resilient plant, but it can still suffer from some pests and diseases that can affect its growth and quality. Here are some of the most common problems that affect asparagus plants, and how to prevent or treat them: Asparagus beetles These are small, black or red beetles that feed on the spears and the ferns, causing them to wilt and turn brown. 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Rust can reduce the vigor and yield of the plants, and make them more susceptible to other diseases. Rust is more likely to occur in humid, wet, or shady conditions.   To prevent rust, you should plant resistant varieties, space the plants well, and prune any excess or infected ferns. To treat rust, you should apply fungicides to the ferns, and avoid watering them from above. Crown rot This is a bacterial disease that causes the crowns and the bases of the spears to become soft, mushy, and foul-smelling. Crown rot can spread quickly and kill the plants. Crown rot is more likely to occur in wet, compacted, or poorly drained soil. To prevent crown rot, you should plant healthy crowns, improve the drainage and aeration of the soil, and avoid overwatering or injuring the plants. To treat crown rot, you should remove and destroy any infected plants, and disinfect the tools and the soil. 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