Top Tips For Growing Tomatoes From Seed

Tomato season is upon us! Nothing beats the taste of home grown tomatoes. 

Growing tomatoes from seed takes about 80 days. Seeds can be sown in spring once all risks of frosts have passed until early summer. 
If you are new to growing tomatoes from seed, you may find the following tips helpful.
Sowing + Germination Tips:

  • Start by using the best quality seed raising mix, this will help give your seedlings all the nutrients needed to grow.
  • Use clean punnets, if re-using old plastic punnets make sure they have been well washed to prevent any risk of disease.
  • Place seeds on the soil, cover them lightly with soil then a layer of vermiculite to help keep moisture in. Water in gently.
  • Tomato seeds need temperatures between 21 - 27 degrees to germinate, so starting them in a greenhouse is best, a sunny window sill is not sunny enough and will cause leggy seedlings. They take around 7-10 days to germinate. The soil need to be kept moist, avoid letting the seedling dry out completely. 
  • Avoid putting tiny seedlings in large pots, move them to a bigger pots as needed.
Planting + Harvesting Tips:

  • When transplanting seedlings, hold them by the leaves, not the stems, to prevent bruising.
  • Once the seedlings are almost ready to be planted out in the garden (around 6 weeks old when they have 2-3 set of true leaves), gradually expose the seedlings to more sun and wind each day before moving them outdoors. Adjust watering as they'll dry out faster. Stress-free seedlings will turn into healthy happy tomato plants.
  • Before planting out the seedling, if it is a variety that needs staking, make sure this is done prior to planting to avoid any root damage. Space around 50cm apart. Apply a layer of mulch around the plant to minimise soil moisture evaporation and prevent weeds.
  • Water early in the day at the base of the plant, avoid watering the leaves as this can lead to disease.
  • Harvest tomatoes when they're the right colour, slightly firm, and come off the vine easily. You can pick them fully ripe for immediate use or slightly early for ripening indoors later.
Nothing is more rewarding than harvesting your own sun ripened tomatoes that you’ve nurtured from a tiny seed.
By Holly from Veggie and Flower Garden Seeds