When to sow?
The best time to get the seeds into the soil is from March 1 to April 15. Then the days are brighter, and you avoid getting long, „tingling“ sprouts. I have tested sowing already at the end of January / beginning of February, but my experience says that you do not get ripe tomatoes much earlier anyway. If you want to start so early in the year, you MUST have extra growth light and optimal conditions! The most beautiful and healthiest tomato plants I have had have been sown between March 1st and April 15th! семена на домати
Plants to be grown in greenhouses can be sown from 1 March. (If you have a greenhouse, it is good to sow until the middle of May and still get a nice crop) Tomatoes that are to grow in the open, you can sow approx. 8-10 weeks before they are to be planted out.
Tomato seeds are sown indoors in the spring where they are driven forward (pre-cultivated) before being moved out permanently or in cold greenhouses or in the open air. The seeds have a high germination percentage, so you do not need as many seeds to get a plant. I always sow 2 seeds to get a plant, but in almost all cases, both seeds germinate. Choose the strongest and healthiest sprout, if you do not choose to keep both!
When sowing tomato seeds, they should be just below the ground. I stick the seed into the ground so it is just covered. Some of the seed may well seem. Small seeds can only be pressed lightly on the soil surface.
Remember to label well with variety names !!
When the seeds are in the soil, the pots should be set warm – preferably between 22 – 28 degrees.
Germination time is usually from 2-7 days, but some varieties may be slower to germinate
They can stand completely dark until they germinate, but when the seeds have germinated, they must be cooler (18-20 degrees) and lots of light. A good rule of thumb is: „The less light, the lower the temperature“, but preferably not below 12 degrees! However, try to find a bright and nice place without direct sun at the beginning. Do not put the sprouts in full sun, as they will burn. The sprouts must be gradually accustomed to the sun.
Tomato sprouts: 1-2 weeks old
My experience is that it is best to sow directly in plant soil. Tomato plants are nutritious and the small sprouts thrive in the plant soil, which is fertilized. I have tried to sow some in sowing soil and some in plant soil. The sprouts in the plant soil grew much faster and developed much better than the sprouts in the sowing soil.
I have therefore ended up sowing soil for tomatoes.
Then in small pots. (2-5 seeds in each pot) I use plastic cups / mugs. They are much cheaper than regular pots, but do the same benefit. I make a hole in one cup (heats up a screwdriver with the lighter and it becomes easy to make holes.) I fill this „pot“ with seed soil (approx. 3/4 full). Then I put this in a new mug without holes. Mug no. 2 I have filled with water approx. 2 cm up. The water is absorbed quickly. This is how I get the water from below!
(Hope this did not seem too complicated!) You can of course see in everything possible, I have found what suits me best 🙂
The soil should be slightly moist – not too much water, but also not too dry.
Water from below, so that the soil surface does not become too moist. That’s why it’s so ingenious with 2 mugs, as I explained above! The soil surface must not dry out – shower a little if it seems dry!
When more water is needed, you just lift one mug up and fill it with a little water.
When watering from below, the roots pull down into the soil. When the plants are large, you can water well from above if you are careful, so that soil does not spray up on the leaves. It can cause disease in the plants.
Prick the sprouts into a slightly larger pot (1 plant in each pot) when the sprouts have received 2-4 new leaf sets after the cotyledons). The first leaves are cotyledons, ie „seed leaves“. Then the original leaves of the plant grow out. When you tickle, you continue with a nutritious plant soil. The second repotting can take place 2-3 weeks after tingling. Then use a nutrient-rich plant soil mixed with e.g. some cow compost .. Place the sprouts with the stem as deep as possible (up to the leaves). Then roots form on everything below the surface of the soil, and you get a stronger plant.
Small sprouts should not be fertilized, if they are planted in nutrient-rich soil. Fertilizer can be gradually added when the plants have grown, that is my experience. My plants get a weak fertilizer mixture when they are approx. 4 weeks old. Tips on nutrition for larger tomato plants can be found here
Planting / Planting.
If you want to grow tomatoes in a pot, you must use a minimum of 10 liter pots / buckets. I prefer 20-25 liters of soil per plant. Plant in the greenhouse or outdoors when the danger of frost is completely over. Plants that are to be grown outdoors (outdoors), should gradually become friends with the nightlife. If you do not have the opportunity for gradual habituation, cover the plants with white non-woven fabric in the first period after transplanting. Too large a transition from inside to outside can result in, for example, the leaves being „sunburned“, or the plants can suffer from other „stress“ and be put back into growth.
The tomato plants have grown to and are immediately ready to be planted in a permanent growing place in the greenhouse.
There are different ripening times for different varieties, but tomatoes ripen about 60-90 days after flowering. Most varieties bloom approx. 8 – 12 weeks after the seeds came into the soil. from seed to ripe tomato it takes approx. from 4 to 5-6 months!
Maturation in greenhouses usually takes place from the beginning of July. In the open air, everything depends on how warm and nice the summer is, but at the turn of the month July / August, you should start to see maturation, if you normally have good conditions. Of course, it also plays a big role where in the country you live! In the north of the country, maturation comes later than in the south and east of the country.
You can manipulate yourself until early maturation in May / June, but then you have to take a number of measures to create the conditions!
Tomatoes are one of the most cultivated vegetables in gardens, also because they are among the most used at the table. In the Mediterranean diet, tomatoes are often eaten fresh in salads, but above all they are indispensable for Italian cuisine in the form of a sauce: to dress pasta and on pizza.
This vegetable grows on a solanaceous plant that is quite demanding in terms of nutrients, temperatures and sun exposure. This is why it is important to know how to sow tomatoes at the right time, so that they find the best climate to bring the fruits to ripeness.
On Orto Da Coltivare it is therefore a duty to study the sowing operation in detail, going to see everything in detail: how to carry out the work, in what period and with which phase of the moon to do it and what distances to keep between the seedlings. Anyone wishing to continue the discussion on this crop can read the guide to tomato cultivation, which explains how to grow the plant and protect it from adversity with organic methods.
When to sow tomatoes
Sowing in the seedbed
How tomatoes are sown
Buy or reproduce seeds
The moon phase in which you sow
Sixth of planting: distances between plants
Seedbed: prepare the soil
After sowing in a seedbed: transplanting
In this video of the YouTube channel of Orto Da Coltivare we see every step regarding the sowing of tomatoes. I recommend subscribing to the channel so as not to miss the next videos, which will show transplanting and budding.
When to sow tomatoes
The ideal for sowing tomatoes is to have a temperature of just over 20 degrees, to ensure good growth to the seedling you must be sure that it never suffers from the cold: therefore, to avoid that the temperature drops below 12 degrees even during the night. . This means that if we wanted to sow tomatoes directly in the field we would have to wait until April, in some areas even May.
Sowing in the seedbed
Sowing can be anticipated if it is carried out in a sheltered seedbed, earning a couple of months. In the seedbed, the right time for sowing is the month of February or March, to then transplant into the garden once the seedling is developed and especially when the temperatures remain steadily above 10/12 degrees. Anticipating the sowing is very convenient because the period in which the crop produces is lengthened, consequently the yield is increased.
How tomatoes are sown
The tomato seed is very small: in each gram of seed there are about 300 seeds, for this reason it must be placed at a little depth in the ground and it is better to plant more than one seed in each jar or in each stall.
Sowing in the field. If you want to place the seeds directly in the field and avoid having to move the plant, you will have to prepare a fine and level seed bed, where you can bury the seeds at a shallow depth (about half a centimeter), arranged according to the chosen plant layout. Planting this crop in the vegetable garden can only be convenient for those who grow them in areas with a very mild climate, on the coast and in southern Italy, where it is cold throughout March, it is better to resort to the seedbed.
Sowing in a seedbed. The advantage of the seedbed is the possibility of anticipating the time of sowing by up to two months. Furthermore, transplanting seedlings that have already been born avoids the risk of leaving empty spaces in the rows of the garden, in case some seeds do not germinate. This vegetable is sown using honeycomb containers or jars, to be filled with soil suitable for sowing, perhaps enriched with earthworm humus. The seed is placed on the surface and covered with a veil of earth, and then compacted slightly by pressing the soil with the fingertips.
Whether sowing outdoors or in seedbeds, it is important to wet immediately, and also in the following days with daily regularity: as long as the plant has not developed its root system, it must never lack water.
Buy or reproduce the seeds
Those who want to sow tomatoes can choose whether to reproduce the seeds from their own crops from year to year or obtain them from other growers through seed exchange, or even buy them. Having to buy them, I recommend choosing organic certified seeds and avoiding F1 hybrid varieties (for more information you can read what hybrid seeds are).
There are numerous varieties of tomato, the best thing is to choose old vegetables or vegetables that are resistant to adversity, which are the most suitable for the organic garden. On Orto Da Coltivare you can find an article that tells you about some excellent tomato varieties.
Taking the seeds from the fruit is simple, you must then let them dry to have them for the following year. It must be borne in mind that the seeds are not inert but are living matter, they must be carefully stored away from humidity and heat,
if they are not sown during the year they age. The tomato seed has a good germination duration and can be stored for four or five years.
BUY ORGANIC TOMATO SEEDS
The moon phase in which you sow
The tomato is a fruit vegetable, so the phase of the moon that according to peasant beliefs should favor its development is the growing one. In fact, it is believed that the influence of the moon pushes the energies present in the plants upwards during the growing phase, stimulating the production of leaves, flowers and fruits. However, it must be specified that there is no scientific proof of this, which is why everyone can evaluate whether or not to follow the moon in defining the sowing period, reading the in-depth study on the moon in agriculture can be useful to get an idea, while the moon calendar is useful if you decide to follow the phases to decide the sowing periods. Personally, I sow tomatoes or other vegetables according to the moon only if I have the time, too often it is the busy agenda that tells me when I can work in the garden.
Sixth of planting: distances between plants
Whether you choose to put the seed in the garden, or whether you choose to transplant the seedling, when the tomato arrives at its destination it is important that it is at the right distance from other plants. Each crop has its own need for living space: growing plants too close together facilitates the spread of diseases and decreases their productivity. The correct planting pattern for tomatoes varies greatly depending on which type we have chosen. There are tomato varieties with dwarf plants that do not grow that much vertically but grow horizontally. Other climbing varieties, on the other hand, have a more important growth but climb on the supports and therefore want less space, however, supports must be prepared.
As an indication, a distance of 50 cm can be kept between indeterminate growth plants or climbing varieties, leaving a greater measure (70/100 cm) between the rows that allows a comfortable passage. Plants with determined growth, on the other hand, need at least 70 cm between the plants, while between the rows we can also calculate 120 cm.
Seedbed: prepare the soil
Before sowing the tomato in the field, the soil must be prepared so that it is fertile and draining. The traditional method is to do a good job of digging, where the soil is very compact it is better to repeat the work two or three times, after a week. The hoe is useful for breaking the clods and any roots of spontaneous herbs, which will be cleaned with a rake. Compost or mature manure should be incorporated by hoeing the soil, better to do it a month before sowing or transplanting. The seedbed is leveled with a fine-toothed iron rake, removing large stones.
After sowing in a seedbed: transplanting
If we have chosen to sow in pots, we will then have to transplant the seedlings in the field, once our tomato is sufficiently developed and once the external climate is mild enough not to create problems for this crop.
To learn more about this topic, you can read the article on how to plant tomatoes, which explains the technique in detail.
Sowing tomato seeds
To grow tomatoes from seed, the first thing we will do is prepare a seedbed. Depending on the number of plants we need, we will do it in seedling trays or in any container at least 5 cm deep that has holes in the bottom, whether they are small pots or recycled containers. To fill them, we will choose a substrate for seedlings, or we will mix our own with black peat and compost or coconut fiber. We can also use pressed jiffy discs.
When to plant tomato seeds
In mild climates we can sow tomato seeds from winter (January in the northern hemisphere, some varieties even in December), and from late winter and early spring in cold climates (March in the northern hemisphere). The best time is between March and May.
Optionally we can hydrate the seeds previously, immersing them in water for 24 hours, so that it is easier for them to germinate. It is not essential.
We moisten the seedbed first, place 2-3 seeds, press a little and cover with vermiculite (preferable) or with a very thin layer of the same substrate, no more than half a centimeter. Then we water with a sprayer.
We place the seedbed in a warm and light place, but without direct sun. We can cover it with a plastic film or transparent lid to keep the humidity.
When they have two pairs of leaves we can transplant them to their final place in the soil outdoors or in a pot or growing table. This moment usually arrives around 2 months from the sowing of the seed.
If more than one seed has germinated in the hole, we will separate them or discard the weaker ones.
To sow outdoors we will wait until there are no frosts, we move the soil well, make a furrow and add a little substrate to each hole. The separation between tomato plants will be 40-50 cm. Between lines we can keep a distance of 150 cm. We place a plant in each hole and we will water. Optionally, before this, we can transplant them into pots of 8-12 cm so that they form a good root ball and it is more unlikely to lose a plant.
We can place an anti-grass mesh to save time in maintenance and also better maintain the humidity of the soil. Also the drip irrigation circuit below the mesh, if we have chosen this method.
In a pot or growing table, we need at least a 20-liter pot, with a substrate rich in nutrients.
For tomato plants to give good tomatoes they need sun, a lot of sun. At least 6 hours a day. The ideal is between 8 and 10 hours of sun exposure. So we will choose a sunny place. When they don’t have enough sun, plants grow too tall looking for light.
Tutors: how to train tomato plants
To keep the tomato plant upright, it is essential to support it: with inverted V-shaped canes, winding rope or wavy rods. The suitable height is between 1.5 and 2 meters.
Cane tutors for tomato plants
Tomato planting with strings
The stakes are placed right next to the main stem of the tomato plant and, in the case of the rope or the rods, they become entangled in the stem. In the case of the canes, which is the most common in an urban garden, we will hold the plant to the cane, tying it below the clusters, which are the heaviest areas, without tightening too much so as not to strangle the stem.
Tomatoes, without stakes that support them well, will not grow properly, without them they can bend and break more easily.
The other option, we have implemented this year in our garden, are the rods for tomato plants. These are some galvanized steel rods with a spiral shape where we can guide the tomato plants, in the long term it is the most comfortable and we will amortize them in time and work.
You can find rods like these from the protec brand here.
Pruning / Trimming
When the tomato plants grow, shoots will appear between the stem and the leaves, axillary shoots, also called suckers, which we have to remove mostly if we want a larger fruit production and prevent pests from developing more easily. We can leave just one of the suckers uncut to develop. just in case the main stem is damaged and we don’t risk losing the entire plant. This review is done every week as they do not stop appearing.
We will remove the dry or damaged leaves from the lower part of the plant to avoid pests and improve aeration.
In this video you can see how to prune and remove suckers from tomato plants:
With the method of tying the canes we will have to tie the plant to the cane as it grows, and in the case of the rope or the rod, roll it around them.
The cultivation of tomatoes requires a lot of water, the availability of this is important during or its life cycle, and prefers deep watering that penetrates well to the interior. They need between 1.5 and 2 liters per day.
It is a crop that requires many nutrients, every two weeks we can provide it with some organic fertilizer, especially during the flowering season it will need a fertilizer rich in calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
This specific organic fertilizer for tomatoes is already prepared with the exact nutrients that the tomato crop needs:
The cultivation of tomatoes is one of the grateful ones since with little effort and in a relatively short time we can obtain a rich and abundant harvest of tomatoes, but it can be affected by pests and diseases that must be prevented or solved.
Among the most common diseases that we must check that do not develop are fungi: powdery mildew and mildew.
Powdery mildew appears as yellow spots on the upper part of the leaves and a white powder on the underside. It usually occurs due to high humidity and poor aeration.
Mildew is a fungus that causes irregular spots on the leaves, which end up being necrotic.
Fungi can be prevented with organic fungicides, as once they are established they are more difficult to eradicate.
Apart from fungi, other common plants in tomato are:
Aphids, are located under the leaves and on the shoots of the plant, deform the part of the plant in which they are feeding on the sap.
The ants are usually associated with the aphids, since they obtain a benefit „taking care“ of the aphids, since they feed on their sugary waste. You just have to follow their path to see where the aphids are hidden.
The spider mite, is discovered by the small dotted marks that appear on the leaves, they live on the underside of the leaves. They don’t like humidity.
Since this is a very specific guide to growing tomatoes from seed, we will discuss different pests in more depth in other articles.
spider mite infestation on tomato plants
Red spider. Photo by David Cappaert (CC BY-SA 4.0)
After flowering, if pollination has gone well, the first tomatoes will come. And this is one of the most rewarding ways to grow tomatoes from seed! We will be able to harvest the main part of the harvest between June and August. You can be picking fruit until October.
The color will clearly indicate the state of ripeness, but it will depend on the varieties we have chosen, as there are red, pink, yellow, purple varieties …
Where to sow tomatoes?
To germinate properly, tomato seeds need a temperature between 20 and 25 ° C. Young seedlings should also receive as much direct sunlight as possible for good growth.
As sowing occurs early in the season (February to April) this is not really possible outdoors, even in a greenhouse. The temperature will undoubtedly be suitable there during the day, but not at night.
To sow tomatoes it is therefore necessary to benefit from a very well-lit window in a heated room of the house. If the room is not heated enough, a small heated greenhouse can be an alternative to start the first sowing of the year.
Seeds do not need light to germinate. You can place your pots near a heater while waiting for the seeds to germinate.
As soon as the first seedlings appear, transfer them to the light. Be careful, you have to act quickly.
When to seed tomatoes?
The ideal time to sow is the month of March. The days are starting to get longer and the cold weather is supposed to go away.
2 months later the seedlings will be ready to be planted in the vegetable garden in May, after the last frosts.
If you cannot sow your tomatoes in a heated room, wait until April to sow in a greenhouse outside. You can also try a little later, but the later the season, the later the harvest will be.
In the afternoon or in a greenhouse, you can start planting tomatoes in the ground from April. In this case it is necessary to start sowing in February.
Tomato seedlings in pots
Prepare the jars.
Space the seeds an inch or two apart.
Seedlings and their cotyledons (and no leaves yet).
You can sow your tomatoes in yoghurt pots, plastic cups, boxes … If the weather is warm, you can do it directly in the nursery in a cold greenhouse.
How to sow tomatoes?
Use containers pierced at the bottom and filled with vegetable potting soil.
Water the potting soil before sowing. After sowing you risk digging up the seeds.
Distribute the seeds, spacing them one or two centimeters.
Cover them with a thin layer of potting soil, tamp lightly. Moisten the surface by watering gently or using a spray bottle.
Place your pots in the heat and water lightly when the surface is dry. Generally every 2/3 days.
4 to 10 days later the seedlings will start to appear.
Once the first leaves have appeared in addition to the cotyledons, they are tough enough to be repotted into larger pots and placed in a greenhouse outside.
You can also sow directly into large pots so you don’t have to repot. Sow two or three seeds per pot and keep only one plant, transplant the others elsewhere.
When and how to transplant the tomatoes?
Once your small tomato plants have two leaves, you need to transplant each plant into individual pots. They will thus continue their development less cramped.
Use 15cm high pots so that you don’t have to transplant them again before planting.
Push the plant down well so that the top of the soil reaches the base of the first leaves. The root system will develop better.
Water well to empty any air pockets that can cause the roots to rot.
Seedlings of tomatoes in bottles
An alternative technique is the sowing of bottled tomatoes. It consists of germinating tomatoes in plastic bottles cut to 2/3 of the height.
The bottle will serve as a mini greenhouse for each plant.
Potting soil can be added as the stem grows to bury it. It will thus form roots over its entire height and this will give more vigorous plants.
With this technique there is no need to perform intermediate transplanting. On the other hand, it takes up more space than sowing in pots.
How to sow tomatoes in bottles?
Cut the bottles 2/3 of the way up and drill a few holes in the bottom.
Fill the bottles with a 5-10cm layer of potting soil.
Sow 3 or 4 seeds per bottle.
Once the seedlings start to have leaves, keep only the strongest in each bottle.
Add potting soil as the tomato plant grows.
The plants are left in the bottle until planting in the vegetable garden, and are not transplanted in the meantime.
Smooth „Badoit“ type bottles must be used. This allows the clod of earth to be removed easily without having to cut the bottle.
Stewed tomato seedlings
Another method that can be combined with sowing in bottles is tomato sowing in stews. This technique consists of covering the seedling with a bell made with a plastic bottle.
This This transparent cover will act as a mini-greenhouse which will better keep the heat and high humidity conducive to germination and the very beginning of growth of the young tomato plant.
You should leave the cap closed at first, then remove it once the seedlings start to make the first leaves (after a week / 10 days in general). By leaving it closed the humidity will be too high and can promote certain diseases.
Maintenance of tomato seedlings
When to water tomato seedlings?
When the seeds germinate, keep the soil slightly damp on the surface at all times. It should be monitored regularly, especially if the pot is placed warm or near a heater. Under a mini greenhouse or when sowing in a smothered way, the soil stays moist longer thanks to the „cover“ which keeps the humidity.
If the potting soil dries out completely on the surface when the seeds start to germinate it can toast the seedlings.
Once the seedlings begin to develop and take root, watering should be slowed down a bit. The potting soil can dry out a little more without damage and conversely a pot full of water can interfere with the proper development of young tomato plants. To know when to water you can weigh the pot, it is mainly the water that gives it its weight. If it starts to get light, water.
Fortify the tomatoes by taking them out
2 or 3 weeks before planting in the vegetable garden, it is possible to remove the tomato plants to accustom them to the freshness and the wind.
On sunny days, take the plants out of their shelter to expose them to the open air. They will gradually get used to their final planting.
Plant the tomatoes in the vegetable garden
Once the frosts are over and the weather has warmed up, you can plant your tomatoes in the vegetable garden. Usually in mid-May, after the Ice Saints. From April in greenhouse or in the afternoon.
See: How to plant tomatoes.
Why are tomato stalks long and fragile?
Spinning Stems This happens when there is not enough light and the plant tries to get close to it. It is said that tomatoes „spin“.
This often happens with plants placed behind a window. Catch the thing by completely burying the stem until the first leaves when transplanting.
Why don’t tomato seeds germinate?
Either the growing conditions are bad: too cold or too dry. Either your seeds are too old and / or poorly stored. They lose a large part of their germination capacity after 4 years.
Why do tomato seedlings rot?
It is surely damping-off. Too much humidity and coolness have favored the emergence of microscopic fungi that cause your young tomato plants to rot.
If you want to try your hand at growing tomatoes, you can purchase the necessary seeds from specialist shops. But this is not absolutely necessary, because the kernels can also be easily obtained from tomatoes. In this way, with a little skill, you can grow equally magnificent tomato plants. We have summarized the basics for growing tomatoes in pots for you!
Win tomato seeds: These are suitable
If you like to eat tomatoes and want to grow certain varieties yourself, you don’t have to spend any money on the seeds to grow tomatoes. Because the kernels can be obtained from the tomatoes relatively easily. In principle, all types of tomatoes are suitable for this, whereby the use of single-origin varieties is recommended. This ensures that the “new” tomato plants also get the desired properties. The situation is different with F1 hybrids, because with these it is uncertain which genome will actually prevail. Regardless of the type of tomato, the fruits should also have the following properties:
Note: Tomato seeds should only be obtained from healthy fruits, as diseases can also be transmitted via the seeds!
Instructions: win tomato seeds
Removing tomato seeds Two different methods have proven to be effective for extracting tomato seeds. On the one hand, there is the “quick” method, in which the seeds are first detached from the pulp and then dried. The extraction itself proceeds quickly, but the seeds need a little longer to germinate, as the germ-inhibiting layer is only broken down during sowing. The situation is different with the second method, the so-called “wet fermentation”. This is a bit more laborious and time-consuming, but it has a positive effect on the germination time of the seeds.
Wash tomatoes and cut in half or quarter
Scoop out the pulp and seeds
fill a glass with lukewarm water
Put the pulp with seeds in the glass
Cover the glass with cling film
Let ferment for 1 – 3 days at around 20 degrees
no longer than 3 days, otherwise seeds will start to germinate!
stir once a day
In a period of one to three days you can observe that the seeds detach from the pulp. While the kernels slowly sink to the bottom, the pulp lingers on the surface of the water. However, the kernels can be picked out relatively easily by first filling the glass with a sieve and then rinsing it with water.
Instructions: Dry the kernels
The freshly obtained tomato seeds are then dried, which should be done as slowly and gently as possible. It is best to spread the seeds on a dry surface, such as on a kitchen towel or on a wooden board. Coffee filters or conventional baking paper are also suitable. Kitchen crepe paper, on the other hand, is only recommended to a limited extent, as the seeds are often difficult to remove and pieces of paper can stick to the kernels. While the base can be freely chosen, the drying of the cores is always as follows:
Spread the tomato seeds on the base
Cores should not touch each other
sufficient distance to each other!
Put the seeds in a warm and airy place
Temperature: 25-30 degrees are ideal
Duration: about 2-3 days
Growing tomatoes: basics and instructions
Sowing tomato seeds in soil The optimal time to sow the tomato seeds on the windowsill is at the beginning / middle of March. This date is deliberately chosen so that the tomatoes have enough time to ripen. In addition, the risk of frost is much lower if they are hardened a few weeks later. But not only the time of sowing is decisive, because the chances of success are influenced by many other factors:
It is advisable to use special potting soil for growing tomatoes. Compared to normal garden or potting soil, this is much lower in nutrients. However, this stimulates the roots to grow because they do not have the nutrients “right in front of their noses”. However, potting soil is not only characterized by its low nutrient content, because ideally it also has the following properties:
high water storage capacity
Growing tomatoes While special potting soil is recommended for the substrate, the hobby gardener has various options to choose from for the containers, because both special growing trays and multi-pot plates, small pots made of cellulose or peat and even egg cartons can be used for this. It is important that the containers can be covered, although this is also possible with a transparent film. Because the cover has several advantages:
protects seeds from dry room air
enables greenhouse effect
transparent cover enables
control the seeds
For growing tomatoes in pots, it is advisable to sow the seeds in the protected interior area. Because while the seeds are exposed to the weather outdoors, the optimal conditions for germination can be created indoors. When choosing a location, both the light conditions and the temperature are decisive, which is why not every place in the living room is suitable for growing tomatoes. It is best if the seeds are placed in a location that meets the following requirements:
lots of light!
provide plant lamps if necessary
Temperature: 20 – 24 degrees
Windowsill over a heater is ideal
Instructions: sow tomatoes
Growing tomatoes from seeds If the necessary equipment is available and the right place has been selected, the seeds can be sown. However, the seeds should not simply be placed in the ground, because certain steps have also proven useful when sowing:
Pour some potting soil into containers
Moisten the substrate a little
Spread the seeds in the soil
Distance about 3 cm
Cover the seeds with a thin layer of potting soil
Carefully moisten the substrate
preferably with a spray bottle
Cover the vessel
After the tomato seeds have been sown, some care is still required to encourage them to germinate: The cover should be removed daily so that the air can circulate adequately. It is also necessary to keep the soil moist at all times. In order to prevent overwatering and the seeds from being washed away, a spray bottle can be used during the germination period!
Instructions: prick out young plants
As a rule, the seedlings penetrate the soil after around 10 to 14 days and form the first leaves around one to two weeks later. As soon as the first leaves are visible, the seedlings can be transferred to their own pots. This works best if the (still) weak plants are specially prepared for it. For this, it has proven useful to fertilize the seedlings lightly with a liquid fertilizer a few days before pricking out. Before the actual appointment, water the seedlings a few hours beforehand. Then prick out the plants as follows:
Fill pots with flower or garden soil
Loosen the substrate around the seedlings
Carefully remove the seedlings from the container
free from earth and cleanse
Shorten the roots to about 2 cm
Put seedlings in new containers
Use climbing aids directly if necessary
Fill pots with substrate and press lightly
Note: when the seedlings are removed from the vessels, it is worthwhile to directly check the health of the roots. Ideally, the roots are white and strong. However, if the roots are brown and / or thin, please discard the plant immediately.
Growing tomatoes from seeds
Tomatoes in portable containers with unripe fruits
Growing tomatoes from seeds, photo honey
If we do not have a greenhouse, we plant tomatoes on outdoor flower beds or on balconies and terraces after the „ice men“, which is in the second half of May. In this period, when there is no danger of these thermophilic plants freezing, we plant grown strong tomato seedlings, which we have grown ourselves, for example at home on the window. Growing tomatoes from seeds in prepared growing containers in February, at the latest in March.
Tomatoes, photo honey
What we will pre-grow tomato seedlings from depends on our capabilities. We can buy folding beds with a plastic cover, equipped with ventilation holes, or even with soil heating, but the question is how much such an investment will pay off. For many, any plastic containers will suffice, such as cups from various dishes.
Tomatoes with two uterine petals, photo honey
In fact, yogurt cups will suffice, or if we find a little aesthetic, we can choose plastic flower pots in one color shade, or even small flower pots made of burnt clay. Low flat boxes or rectangular bowls are suitable, which we place under paper egg boxes – we insert two seeds into each egg hole and when this small space is filled, we can transplant them into a flowerpot with paper, which then thickens in the ground. First, cover the growing containers with a glass plate or a transparent foil. The place for these containers with seedlings, which we straighten on a common elongated tray (bowl under the flowerpot) right next to each other, should ideally be a bright window sill, under which there are radiators or other type of heating. The temperature that tomato plants need to grow successfully is between 22 and 25 ° C. It should definitely not fall below 18 ° C.
How to prepare containers
All growing containers must have a drain hole in the bottom, on which we then place, for example, a shard from an old flowerpot, so that the drain does not become clogged. We can also provide drainage to each bottom of the flowerpot – we pour washed gravel up to a height of about two centimeters. To prevent it from mixing with the soil, cover it with a piece of non-woven fabric. The containers are then filled with substrate about two centimeters below the rim. If the substrate is dry, it is advisable to irrigate it before planting, but not to get it wet. If we do not want to invest in the substrate, we can successfully use finely sieved hotbed soil, enriched with compost. We then smooth the surface with a cutting board and we can sow.
Growing tomato seedlings from seeds
Tomato seedlings, photo honey
Tomato seeds are best placed in two pots or sown wide over a larger area and pushed lightly into the substrate with a cutting board or just by hand. We cover them with a thin layer (about 1-2 cm high) of soil and irrigate with a sprayer. We do not water, we only mist up so that the seeds do not wash out. Finally, cover the containers with sheet glass or transparent foil. This will create a microclimate for the plants and reduce water evaporation. If the substrate dried up, the germination process would be irreversibly interrupted. After the first green tips have grown, we cover the glass with slats to ensure sufficient ventilation and the seedlings do not start to mold.
Care for mature seedlings
Stout tomato seedlings, photo honey
Once the plants have fully developed uterine petals, it’s time to prick them. We use a small wooden peg for this. We prune the seedlings to a distance of about five centimeters. When transplanting, we cut the seedlings of the root roots and insert them into the ground up to the uterine petals. This is to create a rich root system. Add about a third of the peat to the soil into which we transplant the seedlings. Pour over a fine sprinkler and no longer fold. During growth, we water them, protect them from the strong sun and, if possible, keep them at a temperature of about 18 – 20 ° C. At higher temperatures, unwanted seed can be pulled out. If it does occur, we plant the plants in the outdoor bed to a greater depth, because the tomatoes also take root from the stem, from which they release new roots. More about growing and cooking from tomatoes HERE. We can dry the supernatant and load it into oil .