Tomato season is fast approaching … perhaps not quite so fast for us Southerners, but it is time to start thinking about raising your seedlings indoors.
A rough guideline is to aim for about a week after your local area’s expected last frost... (although there’s always that late sneaky one isn’t there?!)
Growing tomatoes from seed takes about 6-8 weeks, from sowing to transplanting.
If you are new to growing tomatoes from seed, you may find the following tips may be helpful.
Always use a good quality seed raising mix, avoid the cheap imitations they are often the cause of seedling failure as they will not supply all the nutrients needed for the seed to grow.
Place dry seeds into dry seed raising mix, then water carefully with a watering mister. The furry seed coating, or ‘testa’ becomes sticky when it comes into contact with moisture, helping the seed to settle into its new environment and releasing its nutrients in preparation of sprouting.
Tomato seeds will not germinate in under 10 degrees Celsius, ideal temperature is between 16 and 30 degrees.
Use room temperature water and if you’re on town / tap water let it sit for a couple of hours this lets the chlorine and other additives evaporate .
Don’t over water or underwater, I know this can be confusing but just try to keep the soil damp not soggy. A spritz twice a day should have your seeds sprouting within a week.
Handle with care
Transplant your seedlings by the leaves , never touch the stems as they bruise so easily and damaged areas let in fungi which causes seedlings to rot.
Avoid putting tiny seedlings into large pots or containers, the roots become overwhelmed by large quantities of micro organisms .
It’s time to upsize by one when you see roots coming through the bottom of the container.
Don’t rush your babies out the door, gradually expose them to more sun and wind outdoors each day (a few hours one day, then 3 hours the next etc), keeping in mind to adjust watering as they will dry out faster.
Seedlings that have had a stress free childhood quickly adapt to outdoor garden life.
Nothing is as rewarding as harvesting your own sun ripened toms that you’ve nurtured from a tiny seed, Good luck!
By Holly from Veggie Garden Seeds
To get started try out new 'Tomato Heirloom Mix Seeds' which include, pineapple tomato, cherokee purple, burnley sure crop and urbana tomato seeds for just a tiny $3.75pp.