If you like juicy tomatoes and want to grow them in your garden. Then you are in the right place. Because today you are going to learn how to grow tomato plants from seeds?
Tomatoes need good care and proper attention.
There are some advanced tricks that will help you to reduce the workload.
In this post, you will learn the fastest methods of growing tomato plants.
How to grow tomatoes from seeds?
What are the best tomato varieties to grow in your home garden?
It is important for you to choose the most suitable tomato variety for growing in your garden. Beginners should pay more attention to this part because not all tomato varieties are the same.
Some of them are not recommended for growing indoors. These hybrid seeds are developed for greenhouses.
Once you check the Tomato seeds catalogs you will see three different words “Heirloom”, “Open-pollinated” and “Hybrid seeds”. Understanding the deep difference between these seeds helps you to select the perfect tomato variety.
Types of tomato seeds
These are also called heritage tomatoes because they come down to us from our ancestors. These are juicy mouth-watering tomatoes with excellent flavor.
The best part is you will get the same quality as your first batch every time you grow. Pollination is done by the bees and wind. This process is called natural pollination.
To grow unlimited batches of Heirloom tomatoes you can save the seeds of your first batch.
To get top-quality tomatoes you need to supply a good amount of tomato fertilizers. For rich juicy heirloom tomatoes stick to organic fertilizers.
Cherokee Purple and pineapple are well-known varieties.
As the name suggests this variety of tomatoes is open for pollination. This means you can pollinate manually or let the insects or wind do the job.
For more batches of the same quality, you must grow a single variety of tomatoes. Because if you grow 3 to 4 varieties of tomatoes in your garden.
Then due to the cross-pollination, you will not get the same tomato quality.
In this process, tomatoes produce different seeds than the mother plant. Tomatoes growing from such seeds always grow differently from a mother tomato plant.
All open-pollinated tomatoes are not heirlooms whereas all heirlooms are open-pollinated.
Hybrid tomato seeds
Hybrid tomato seeds are created by humans. Breeders take pollen of different varieties and cross them to make strong hybrid quality of seeds. You don’t need to save hybrid seeds because they never grow like their mother plant.
Whenever you see F1 on seed catalogs this means they are the hybrid tomato seeds. Growing tomato plant from such seeds is easy. They are more resistant to many diseases and tolerate little to the medium harsh environment.
Heavy yield, strong growth, uniform ripening is some of the positives of hybrids
How to select tomato seeds?
Now you know about the types of tomato seeds. But how do you know which type of seeds are best for you to grow? To know the answer, you need to consider the following 3 questions.
1. How much space is available space in your garden?
Actually, there are two types of tomato plants one is vining tomatoes and the second is small bush-type tomato plants.
Small Tomato plants: These plants only grow 3 to 4 feet tall and produce a good amount of fruit. They produce small size tomatoes suitable for canning and making tomato sauce. The good news is they mature early than the vining tomatoes.
These are best to grow in containers.
Vining Tomatoes: These are also called Indeterminate varieties. They produce big fruits with a heavy harvest. The vine normally grows 6 to 9 feet tall and you need to support it with trellis or stakes.
Growing vine tomato plants is beneficial because they produce fruits until frost.
2. How long do tomatoes take to ripen?
In every catalog you will find maturity times of seeds like 40 days, 55 days 65 days, etc. Here you need to find out the length of tomato season in your living area. Search online or contact the Agricultural University of your area.
Then select the tomato plants to grow accordingly.
3. Why do you want to grow tomatoes?
In simple words do you want to make tomato sauce at home or do you want to grow tomato plants for salads and sandwiches? I like to make the sauce and add tomato slices to my salad. So, I grow a mix of varieties of tomato plants.
I do not save seeds for the next batch because due to cross-pollination I will not get the same quality of tomatoes every time.
I choose heirlooms for slicing and cherry tomatoes for making the sauce at home.
Growing Tomato Plants from seeds (Complete Guide)
Plant Tomato seeds at the right time
Growing tomato plant from seeds takes almost 6 to 8 weeks to get well-grown so that you can transplant them outside. If you give a warm environment to your sowing seeds, they will germinate in 10 to 14 days.
The best time to start seeds indoors is right before the last frost. Count 6 weeks backward from the date of the last frost and that is the date when you should start tomato seeds indoors.
Choose the Right Potting mix and Container for tomatoes
The second step is to find the best container for sowing tomato seeds. But before that, you need to buy a bag of good seed starting mix. Because tomatoes need a high amount of nutrients.
Potting mixes like PRO-Mix Seed Starting contain every single nutrient that is required for starting tomato seeds.
Then take the plastic tray with many cups in it and fill each cup with seed starting mix, spray some water. If you do not want to buy a seed starting tray then you can use old yogurt containers, milk cartons, etc.
Always buy a reusable seed starting tray so that you can use it to grow multiple vegetables.
Planting tomato seeds
As the tomato seeds are small and delicate you should sow them only ¼ inches deep. Because they will not grow if you sow them deeper than recommended depth. Then cover the seeds with the potting mix.
For future assistance label the varieties with a wooden stick so that you know which part of the tray contains which type of tomato seed.
Tomato plant care
It is the very first thing that growing tomato plants need in a huge amount. As you start seeds indoors before the last frost. You need to arrange light for your seeds and seedlings. For this, you need to buy a powerful grow light.
The best thing about growing lights is you can grow the same light to grow multiple plants.
I prefer LED Grow lights because they are high-quality lights with affordable price tags. LEDs do not need maintenance like MH and HPS grow lights. Also, they consume very little power than other grow lights.
Put your seeds tray under bright grow light for 15 to 16 hours per day. In the initial stage, tomato plants need hours of continuous bright light. If you are a busy person, use the timer with the light so that your timer can turn it ON and OFF when required.
Overwatering can kill your plants but a good percentage of moisture in potting mix speeds up healthy growth. All you need to do is keep eye on seed containers until the germination occurs. Make sure you keep the soil moist but not wet. Spraying water on the seeds every other day is a good practice.
To protect it from hot winds, cover the tray with a lid, or cover it with plastic wrap. Lift the cover or lid every day for 30 minutes so that your seeds can get some fresh air.
This also protects them from fungus because once you cover the lid this increases the humidity in the tray. Humid places always attract fungus creating bacteria.
Tomato plants and Air circulation
Air circulation is a must for every plant. When you grow plants in the outside garden then you don’t need to worry about air circulation.
But the problem comes when plants are growing inside the rooms. It doesn’t matter you are growing tomatoes in the basement or in a room on the first floor.
You need to install the duct fan for Air circulation in the room. The duct fans throw the hot air and release gases out of the room.
To reduce the amount of heat in the room you must use LED Grow lights only. They produce very low heat as compared to other lighting technologies.
Do not use HPS light for growing tomato plants. The high heat released by these lights can damage or kill the plants.
Feed your Tomato Seedlings
For tasty tomatoes feed them slow-releasing fertilizer. If possible, choose liquid fertilizer over the powder form.
It is best if you give liquid fertilizer to all your container plants. Use the powdered form on plants that are growing in the backyard or in the front garden.
For container plants give them less than the recommended quantity. If the package says 14 grams give them 9 grams after every 15 days (twice a month).
Planting tomatoes seedlings in the outside garden
The first thing you need to check in your garden before transplanting tomato seedlings is soil. The quality of your garden soil decides the growth and harvest. If possible, get your soil tested from the soil testing LAB.
Or, you can buy a soil testing kit for testing soil quality at home in a few easy steps. This way you will know the nutrients deficiencies of your soil.
The best way of adding nutrients to your soil is by mixing compost in it. Compost acts as a soil supplement. This nourishes the soil with all essential nutrients.
Don’t use liquid fertilizers on outside growing tomato plants instead use powdered form fertilizer only.
Tomatoes love to grow in hot weather, therefore, look for a location where they can get direct sunlight.
When to transfer tomato seedlings to the outside garden area?
Tomato seeds take 10 days to germinate. Give them bright light and a hot environment to grow healthy. Transplant tomato seedlings in your outside garden after the last frost. Because after it the soil temperature rises and it became workable for gardeners.
First hardening the seedlings. This is the process in which you put your tomato seedlings in outside weather in shade for a few hours and move them back indoors at night. Do this process for 8 days and after that plant them in your garden.
Now you know the complete process of growing tomato plants from seeds. If you need any help in growing tomatoes contact us for free advice.
Common Pests and Diseases
Tomatoes are a favorite food of common houseplant pests. Aphids are the most common tomato plant pests. To get rid of aphids use rubbing alcohol and wipe the plant leaves.
You can also use normal temperature water and spray jet to spray water on tomato plants to kill aphids.
For large insects like tomato hornworms, you should wear gloves and then pick them manually.
For serve infestation, you can use insecticidal soap and rinse the plant. The use of this soap is totally safe.
To prevent pest infestations, you should use neem oil spray twice a month. Neem has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Blossom End Rot is a common problem with new growers. It is triggered by the misuse of water. Over and underwatering both conditions result in blossom end rot.
If the bottom side of your tomatoes has dark sunken spots this means they are struggling with calcium deficiency. This is called blossom end rot.
Early Blight is a fungal disease that affects the tomato plant leaves and stems. High humidity and warm weather increase the chances of infection.
Stems and leaves develop black spots, mostly on the bottom part. To prevent this condition, you must strip off the lower leaves once the fruit develops.
If your plant is already infected and is in the first stage of infection. Then immediately cut the infected leaves and stems.
Cracking Tomato skin is another common disease and is triggered by the unbalanced use of water in warm weather.
You cannot reverse it the only best way is to prevent it. For prevention keep the constant moisture levels for the entire growing season of tomatoes.
Note: Make sure you arrange good ventilation for the indoor growing plants to prevent most of the common problems.
Growing tomato plants at home is an easy task if you have good experience with growing vegetables. tomatoes need warm weather and lots of water with plenty of sunshine.
To grow Juicy tomatoes, maintain a good percentage of all nutrients in the soil.
For more info on this topic, please contact us anytime.