Growing tomatoes from seeds will allow you to control the entire growing process and see your plants development from the earliest stage – seeds. This is however connected with a few difficulties and it is important to address some of these issues before you make your first step and plant seeds so that the transplantation process will go well.
The first thing you will want to do is to start with clean potting soil. Do not use the soil from outside to start your plants. The best thing to do then is to go to the local nursery or garden center and pick up some good organic potting soil. Next, you will add the soil to the flats that separate the pants from one another or the nursery trays. This is beneficial when transplanting them when the time comes.
Let’s suppose that your target is to end up with 100 plants ready to be transplanted outside into your garden bed. Planting 20 % more seeds than the amount of the pants you want to end up with is a good idea. The reason for this is that not all seeds will germinate. Then there will almost always be a couple that will germinate, but the plants will not thrive. So generally speaking, if you want to put out 100 plants, then plant about 120 seeds. This way you will also provide yourself with few additional plants that can be used later on as a substitution for the ones that died out.
If you plant several different varieties of tomatoes, you’ll want to make sure that you label them. The plants will all look alike! Once all the plants have gotten their real leaves, it’s time to begin the first transplantation. They should be moved to individual growing containers such as a paper cup in order that they be able to better thrive and grow. If plants are bunched up, the growth will be stunted and you’ll end up with plants that are poorly producing. Use a kitchen fork to remove them from their starter pots as it’s the best way to do so. It works well with lifting the plants from the soil and causes less shock on the plants roots.
Now, depending upon the size of the paper cup or other container used in this first transplantation, you may or may not have to transplant them again before they go into the garden bed. It is then, in your best interest to plant them in paper cups large enough to hold them until they are about 6 inches or so tall, and ready to go into the outdoor garden bed. As soon as the last frost has passed and the plants achieved the required height you can put them outdoors.
The best way I have found to do this, and it causes very little shock to the roots, is to tear or cut away the paper cup from the entire thing, leaving the existing soil in place and putting them in the garden exactly that way.
Good luck in your growing! It won’t be long before you’ll be enjoying fresh juicy tomatoes, straight from the vine!
Pawel Kalkus is a hobbyist gardener with 15 years experience in organic vegetable garden cultivation. If you enjoyed this article growing tomatoes from seeds go get your free copy of the “7 Best Tomato Growing Tips” ebook now.