3 Simple Steps to Starting Your Tomato Garden
If you’ve ever eaten a fresh-from-the-garden tomato, you know it tastes infinitely better than any you could buy at the grocery store. That’s why growing your own is so worth it - and it’s easier than you think. If this is your first time or you’re just in need of a refresher, we’re walking you through how to quick start your tomato plants, from starting your seeds to caring for their growth.
Start Your Seeds Inside
While you can start your seeds outside, we recommend getting them going indoors to give them (and you!) the best chance possible.
First, choose a container for your seedlings that provides good drainage, like clay or peat pots, wood flats, or even old yogurt containers.
Use a sterilized and fertilized seed starting soil mix, which can be purchased at your local garden center. Soil from your yard will likely be too dense, won’t provide enough drainage, and might contain bugs.
Look around your house for a warm place for your seeds to live, like on top of the refrigerator or other warm-running appliances. Keep in mind that once your seeds begin to sprout, they’ll need at least four hours of light a day.
Get to Planting
Fill your containers with your seed starting mix, making a small hole in the soil ⅛ to ¼ inch deep. Pop two seeds into each whole. Why two? This doubles your chances of growth and if both seeds sprout, you can easily pluck out the weaker of the two. Gently compress the soil over the seed.
Time to water. Make sure each container is moist all the way through and that it stays that way while the seeds are germinating. If the soil dries out, it could end the germination process.
Keep your seeds moist and warm by covering them with a light cotton cloth or placing them in a loosely closed plastic bag. Just make sure to remove the bag or cloth when your seeds start to sprout.
Caring for Your Seeds
Once your seeds begin to sprout, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But these babies will want a lot of water as they grow, along with plenty of air. Keep an eye on how moist your soil is and allow it to dry just a little between waterings to ensure your soil has enough air.
Transfer your seedlings (or “pot up”) into a larger container once they take on more growth, especially if you notice the container drying out quicker than usual or see roots sticking out of the bottom.
Continue caring for your seeds inside until temperatures have warmed enough that frost isn’t any issue. While young plants can handle cold temps at night, anything close to 32 degrees will quickly kill them. Aim for 55 degrees and up. You can acclimate your seedlings to outside conditions by placing your tray of seedlings
Pretty soon you’ll be enjoying a fresh caprese salad using your very own tomatoes. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help you further.