Tuesday, 5 April 2011


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

You can grow tomato plants outside successfully from seed, either collected by yourself from tomatoes or using shop bought packet tomato seeds.

To give the best yield of tomato crop during the season, you can give your plants a head start by sowing seedlings indoors or in a heated greenhouse around mid march. They will need to be protected from frost, and temperatures at night should not fall below 10 degrees Celsius.

Sow your tomato seeds in seed trays using John Innes 'seedling' compost. Space your seeds evenly across the tray and then cover then with the compost to a depth of 2 cm and lightly water. Place in a well lit place and keep the seeds moist until they germinate, usually between 3 and 5 days.

Seedlings are at risk from fungal rots due to the damp conditions, so good ventilation is important.   The seedlings will require high levels of light, around 12-16 hours of sunlight a day. A south facing window sill or shelf in glass house is ideal, although they will require the seed tray to be turned round daily to prevent the seedlings from permanently leaning. 

When the seedlings have produced four leaves they are ready to be pricked out into individual pots. These pots can be filled with a standard potting compost or John Innes potting compost no.1 or 2. Leave some space in the top of the pot in order to earth up the tomato plant as it grows.  This breaks the dormancy of the root nodules in the base of the seedling, allowing a stronger root network to establish. 

Prick the seedling out of the seed tray using a pencil/dibber, holding onto the largest leaf, and lift out the root ball carefully. Plant the seedling in the pot at a depth so that most of the stem is covered, with just the leaves showing above the soil line. Water gently.

The seedlings are ready to plant out when the threat of frost is over, usually during May. Prepare a rich, free draining soil, incorporating organic compost or well-rotted farm yard manure. Plant the seedlings in a deep hole, so that the soil line is up to the first set of leaves. This will encourage a stronger root network to establish underground, resulting in healthier plants.

For related articles click onto:
Growing herbs
Growing rhubarb
Growing potatoes
Growing tomatoes
Growing tomatoes from seed
Harvesting potatoes
How to grow broccoli from seed
How to grow cauliflower from seed
How to grow garlic
How to build a cold frame
How to grow artichokes from seed
How to Grow Asparagus from Seed
How to grow cabbage from seed
How to grow carrots from seed
How to grow cucumbers from seed
How to grow french beans from seed
How to grow lettuce from seed
How to grow onions from onion sets
How to grow onions from seed
How to Grow Pumpkins from Seed
How to grow runner beans from seed
How to grow runner beans from seed
How to grow seeds indoors
How to grow strawberries from seed
How to grow tomatoes from seed
How to make compost
How to propagate using division
How to propagate from seed

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