Growing Tomatoes from seed

Tomato from seed

Hi there,

Well, it is getting further into spring and thought of summer salads are well entrenched in the minds of many keen gardeners , but those temperatures need to come up a bit yet before we can consider planting out tomato’s.

We really need to get past that last frost date, I recorded our last frost date around the 17th of October here in Waimate and it was a good one as well.

But there is plenty to do to get our tomato seeding on their way before this. We can certainly start sowing tomato seeds now. I know a packet of Tomato seeds may contain up 50 to 70 seeds in a packet but there are several factors to take into account with this number of seeds.

The germination rate and losses, in general I have found that tomatoes germinate well at about 21 to 25 degrees over 5 to 10 days.

If you end up with too many seedlings you can always give friends or workmates a couple each, I bet there is more than one keen gardener in each workplace or nieghborhood.

Also by placing 2 seeds to each section, you at least increase your chances of a good strike. Choose only the strongest seedling to carry on

It kind of goes against the grain to despatch the weaker one, but how many tomato plants can you have in your garden in regards to space so you might as well have the strongest chance of getting a good crop to tomatoes this season.

Secondly, the risk of "damping off" of the seedling increases the opportunity of losses through excessive moisture and cool or cold temperatures conditions. This also can include pre-emergence damping off of the seed below the surface.

Additionally to this the risk of disease striking through the

media used to start the seedlings off in increases the loss rate.

To prevent this, use a good commercial seedling mix from a supplier as it will be a sterile mix, ensure your containers clean by using household bleach and definitely don’t use garden soil as this will surely invite pathogens to the seeding. I have liberated a couple of pictures to show the damping off. The seedĺing is very unlikely to survive.

If you can make use of a heated mat to maintain a constant temperature. Otherwise a sunny position on a window still will do just fine, remember to rotate the seedlings to stop the bending effect of leaning to the sun.

Keep moist but not wet, Tomato seedlings don’t particularly need light to germinate so by covering lightly will help keep the moisture up.

Once the seedlings have germinated, wait until the seedling has formed a true second leaf or more before adding any form of fertiliser to the plant.

Ok, I will stop here, and add to this this next week. I hope this inspires you to have a go at growing your own tomato seedling. Feel free to add any comments to this post, as I am by no means an expert in this. I would like to hear your feedback.

Regards Steve

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