Growing Tomatoes From Seed – The Complete How To Guide


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Growing tomatoes from seed might be difficult. But as soon as you know the way, it actually isn’t that troublesome. In this put up I’ll present you precisely when and easy methods to plant your tomato seeds so that you’ll all the time have sturdy and wholesome seedlings.

How To Grow Tomatoes From Seed & When To Start

There are many advantages that include rising tomatoes from seed, and it’s easy when you get the dangle of it.

All you want are some fundamental provides and a little bit of know-how to get your tomato seedlings off to begin.

Below I’ll share step-by-step directions for planting and germinating them, plus important seedling care ideas.

Here’s what you’ll discover on this detailed information…

Growing Tomatoes From Seed

Before we dive into the step-by-step directions for easy methods to develop tomatoes from seed, first let’s speak about selecting which of them to plant, the perfect strategies to make use of to begin them, and the way lengthy it’s going to take.

Types Of Tomato Seeds To Plant

The sheer variety of choices for the kinds of tomato seeds to plant might be overwhelming. But there are a few methods to categorise them to make it simpler to decide on what’s best for you. Here are only a few of the most well-liked:

  • Paste – If you’re searching for ones which might be nice for cooking, then do this sort. Pompeii or San Marzano are a couple of examples.
  • Slicing – The huge meaty fruits are scrumptious uncooked, and ideal for sandwiches and salads. Try Brandywine, Mortgage Lifters, or Beefsteak.
  • Cherry – These are good for fast snacking, and are typically very prolific. A couple of examples are Sweet 100, Garden Candy, Sun Gold, or Baby Boomers.
Different types of tomato seed packets
Different kinds of tomato seed packets

In heat climates, tomato seeds might be planted straight within the backyard. But for many of us, beginning them indoors is the perfect technique to make use of.

They require an extended, heat season to set fruit. So giving them a head begin inside is an effective manner to make sure you’ll have the ability to get pleasure from an even bigger crop earlier than frost.

How Long To Grow Tomatoes From Seed To Harvest?

There are so many several types of tomatoes that the vary of time from seed to reap may be very broad. It might be wherever from 60-100 days or longer.

Smaller ones or hybrids bred to provide earlier could also be prepared in as little as 60-80 days after germination.

Indeterminate sorts, or ones that bear bigger fruits can take wherever from 70 to greater than 100 days from seed to reap.

Related Post: How To Tell Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes

Mature tomatoes in my garden
Mature tomatoes in my backyard

Planting Tomato Seeds

In order to get a jumpstart on their lengthy maturity dates, planting your tomato seeds with care is vital. With a little bit of planning and the fitting instruments it’s simpler than you may suppose, however timing is every part.

When To Start Tomato Seeds

In colder climates, the perfect time to begin tomato seeds indoors is between 6-8 weeks earlier than the final frost date in your gardening zone (for instance, I’m in z4b right here in MN).

If you reside someplace heat and want to direct sow them, wait till it’s constantly above 45°F at night time. That’s normally about 2 weeks after your final frost in late winter or early spring.

Preparing to sow my tomato seeds
Preparing to sow my tomato seeds

How To Plant & Grow Tomato Seeds Step-By-Step

Once you know the way to do it, planting tomato seeds is absolutely easy. Get your provides prepared beforehand to make the method fast and straightforward.

Supplies Needed:

Step 1: Prepare the soil – If you’re utilizing pellets, pre-moisten them earlier than putting them within the trays. Otherwise use your hand trowel to fill every cell with a humid soil mix.

Step 2: Decide what number of seeds to plant – If you’ve gotten a brand new packet, one per cell is okay. For older tomato seeds, plant 2-3 in every to compensate for decrease germination charges.

Step 3: Plant the seeds – They’re small, so plant them no deeper than ¼”. You can both make a small gap and drop them in, or lay them on prime and gently press them down into the soil.

Step 4: Cover the seeds – Completely cowl the tomato seeds, and gently press the soil down so it is available in good contact with them. Take care to not push so laborious that you just compact it although.

Step 5: Water the soil – They’ll want to remain evenly moist as a way to germinate. Water till the soil is damp, however not saturated.

It’s gentler to take action from the underside by pouring it into the tray quite than excessive, which can displace the tiny tomato seeds. A moisture gauge can assist you monitor the degrees extra simply.

Step 6: Cover the trays – A plastic dome lid or massive bag (so long as there’s sufficient headroom for seedling development) will assist maintain within the moisture and warmth throughout germination.

Step 7: Keep them heat – Choose a heat location, or place them on a heat mat to maintain them within the perfect vary of 65-85°F. A soil thermometer will provide help to keep the right temperature.

Planting tomato seeds indoors
Planting tomato seeds indoors

Tomato Seeds Germination Time

Most tomato seeds germinate between 7-14 days. Your actual time will rely on the variability you planted and the atmosphere they’re in. The particular vary can normally be discovered on the seed packet

Cool temps and inconsistent moisture can decelerate and even stop germination. Keeping the soil evenly moist however by no means soggy, in addition to including backside warmth will velocity issues up.

Related Post: How To Make Sturdy DIY Tomato Cages

What Do Tomato Seedlings Look Like?

There are two levels to tomato seedlings, they usually each look very totally different. The seed leaves will come first. These two small leaves are lengthy and oval formed, tapering to some extent on the finish.

All of those that type after the primary two are referred to as the “true leaves”, they usually seem like tiny tomato leaves.

Baby tomato seedling germinating
Baby tomato seedling germinating

How To Germinate Tomato Seeds Faster

If you’d like to hurry up germination, you’ll want to offer optimum situations. Warmth, humidity, and air circulation are key.

Setting them on a heating mat to maintain the soil at a heat 70-85°F will assist tomato seeds germinate quicker.

Covering them with a humidity dome may even assist to maintain them heat, and prevents them from drying out too shortly.

Soaking your seeds could velocity issues up too. Give it a strive by putting them in tepid water for 12-24 hours earlier than planting. 

Related Post: How To Prune Tomatoes For Maximum Production

My tomato seeds planted in a covered tray
My tomato seeds planted in a coated tray

How To Care For Tomato Seedlings

Planting and germinating tomato seeds is the straightforward half, however caring for the seedlings is the place most individuals wrestle.

In order to achieve success, you will need to present the correct amount of sunshine, water, and fertilizer to get them sturdy and wholesome. You can learn my full seedling care information, however are some fast ideas…


As quickly because the seedlings pop up, they want 14-16 hours of sunshine each day, or they’ll get leggy in a short time. Unfortunately, even the sunniest window shouldn’t be sufficient.

Use a grow light positioned 3-4 inches above them always, and set it on a timer to make it simple to provide them the correct amount.


Keep the soil evenly moist always, however by no means puddled or soggy. As they get taller you could have to verify them each day. A moisture gauge is useful for serving to you get it proper.


After 3-4 weeks you may start including an natural half-strength, balanced fertilizer as soon as per week. Compost tea or fish emulsion are good choices.

Air Circulation

When half of your tomato seeds have germinated, start eradicating the humidity dome by opening it a bit of extra every day.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to run an oscillating fan on low close by to simulate wind and strengthen seedlings. This may even present loads of airflow so that they gained’t mildew.


If you planted a couple of tomato seed per gap, skinny the seedlings to at least one per cell once they’re 3-4 inches tall.

Choose the healthiest ones, and snip the others at soil degree with clear micro-pruners or precision shears. Dividing them is dangerous, even minor stem or root harm can kill them.

Potting Up

When your tomato seedlings have developed three units of true leaves, pot them into bigger 3-4” plastic or plantable pots. Bury them deeper, as much as the primary set of true leaves, to encourage stronger roots.

First true leaves on tomato seedlings
First true leaves on tomato seedlings

When To Transplant Tomato Seedlings Into The Garden

You can transplant tomato seedlings into the backyard when nighttime temperatures are above 45°F, or the soil is a heat 70°F.

Before you achieve this, it’s essential to harden them off to allow them to regulate to the skin components. Otherwise they might not survive the transition.

Learn precisely easy methods to look after tomato crops in your backyard right here.

Tomato seedling ready to be transplanted
Tomato seedling able to be transplanted


Here I’ve answered a few of the mostly requested questions on rising tomatoes from seed. If yours isn’t on the listing, please add it to the remark part beneath.

How lengthy does it take to develop tomatoes by seed?

How lengthy it takes to develop tomatoes by seed will rely on the precise selection you’ve gotten. They’ll germinate between 7-14 days, and might start producing fruit wherever from 60 and 100 days after that.

What month do you begin tomato seeds?

The actual month you begin tomato seeds is determined by your local weather. In colder zones, it is best to plant them indoors 6-8 weeks earlier than your final frost date, or direct sow them 2-3 weeks after frost in hotter areas.

How many tomato seeds do you plant per gap?

How many tomato seeds you plant per gap is determined by their age. Newer ones usually tend to germinate, so one per gap is okay. They lose viability as they age, so for older ones, I like to recommend planting 2-3 for greatest outcomes.

How deep ought to I plant tomato seeds?

You ought to solely plant tomato seeds between ⅛-¼” deep, since they don’t seem to be very massive.

Do tomato seeds want mild to germinate?

No, tomato seeds don’t want mild to germinate. But they do want heat and humidity.

Should I soak my tomato seeds earlier than planting?

You don’t have to soak your tomato seeds earlier than planting, however it gained’t damage them. It could also be a method to velocity up the germination fee.

Now that you’ve got all of the steps, provides, and recommendations on beginning tomatoes from seed, you’ll have the ability to sort out it with confidence. Watching these seedlings get larger is so rewarding!

If you’re bored with struggling to develop seeds and sturdy seedlings in your backyard, you then want a to take my Seed Starting Course. This enjoyable on-line course will information you thru every part you’ll want to know step-by-step, and at your individual tempo. Sign up and get began proper now!

Otherwise, if you happen to’re simply searching for a fast refresher to get going quick, then my Staring Seeds Indoors eBook is what you want.

More About Growing Seeds

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How To Grow Tomato Seeds The Complete Guide

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