Starting from Seeds: Tomato Tips

Few vegetables epitomize summer quite like the tomato. These anticipated fruits taste as sweet as candy, and they dazzle with their many amorphous shapes and vivid color palettes. When you make the commitment to start tomatoes from seed, you have several more varieties at your disposal, meaning your caprese salads and your pasta sauces will score in both flavor and presentation.  We have a variety of Seed Savers Exchange heirloom tomato seeds available to inspire your gardening this season. However, starting tomatoes from seeds requires more attention and planning, so we're sharing a few tips to ensure your success.

Tomato Tips

1. Warm Up! 
For good germination and a healthy start, tomatoes need plenty of warmth. Using heat mats, heaters, or other means, set up an area that can keep a consistent 80-degree temperature range for at least a week while you germinate your seeds. After gemination, the seedlings will need to be in a warm, full light place, that stays at 80 degrees during the day, and around 65-70 degrees at night for 3-4 weeks.

2. Regulate water. 
Tomato seedling are fragile when small and are very susceptible to damping off. Avoid potential catastrophe, and let the soil dry between waterings. Take care to water at the base to avoid over saturating the stems and foliage.

3. Provide good air flow. 
Circulating air prevents stagnant air, which can increase the likelihood of disease. A good strong fan aimed at the seedlings encourages strong stems and plants.

4. Pot up. 
Once seedlings are 2-3 inches high, and the first set of true leaves are just starting to emerge, transfer the individual plants into bigger pots, preferably the containers they will live in until transplant time.  

With your due diligence and a little luck, you'll be feasting on juicy tomatoes before you know it, and with juicy tomatoes come unforgettable home sauces such as this Roasted Red Pepper, Garlic & Herb sauce from With The Grains.

Visit us soon to pick up a pack or two of our Seed Savers Exchange tomato seeds, and start putting these tips into practice.