Growing Tomatoes from Seed

The tomato is the most popular vegetable going — even people who consider themselves non-gardeners will somehow manage to make room for a plant or two.

Culture: Sow tomato seeds indoors about 6 – 8 weeks before the planting stage. Use a soilless growing mix to lessen the chance of problems. Keep the temperature of the seeding mix at 21 – 24 C (70 – 75 F) to ensure prompt germination. When the seedlings are 4 cm (1.5″) high, transplant them to their own containers.

Keep the seedlings under bright light at a temperature of 16 – 21 C (60 – 70 F) until planting out time in mid to late May. After hardening off, transplant the seedlings into a loose, well-drained organic soil about 60 cm (24″) apart for determinate varieties and 90 cm (36″) apart for indeterminate varieties.

Tomatoes thrive on three things: warmth, lots of sunlight, and an even, steady supply of water. Use a granular or water-soluble fertilizer high in phosphorus and potash. Avoid the excessive use of nitrogen.

When watering, apply the water to the soil rather than showering down over the plants and, if possible, apply mulch around the base of the plants. This mulch will protect against soil borne diseases and help to conserve soil moisture.