Learn the tricks needed to germinate tomato seed quickly so that you can grow a forest of tomato plants in your back yard this summer! With a single tomato plant often costing more than a whole packet of seeds then you can easily save money by growing your own from seed. Also by growing from seed you can choose the exact variety you want rather than just the two or three standard varieties usually available at the garden center. Germinate tomato seed at home to obtain low cost and healthy plants!
Step by Step Method to Germinate Tomato Seed:
Germinate Tomato Seed
Choose Your Variety
If you learn how to germinate tomato seed at home then the great thing is that you have a huge choice of different varieties to choose from. You might prefer the big Beefsteak monsters or the tiny sweet cherry toms….alternatively there are the “Heritage” varieties that our grandparents used to grow which are often really interesting shapes and colors. The choice is yours! I like Sungold because it is a very high yielding sweet cherry tomato that is a lovely bright yellow color.
Prepare the Germination Box
To germinate tomato seed quickly and reliably, the best method is to use a little germination box. Hunt around for a small plastic box with an airtight lid...even an old margarine tub will do. Just line the bottom with a folded up paper towel. Finally wet the towel with water from the tap and just drain off any excess.
Add the Tomato Seeds
Carefully drop a few tomato seeds onto the surface of the wet paper towel. With this method you should get close to 100% germination so there is no need to use the whole packet. My packet of Sungold is a relatively expensive hybrid containing just 14 seeds so I have sown 7 this year and am keeping 7 for next year to minimize the cost.
Put the Lid on and Wait
Finally, breath into the box to add some extra carbon dioxide, put the lid on and find a warm place to keep the box. The ideal temperature is around 20C and tomato seeds like some light for best germination…The kitchen table could be a good spot so that you can keep a regular eye on progress!
Check Twice a Day
Check the box twice a day for signs of germination. Look out for the tiny green leaves and a white root. If nothing has happened just breath into the box again and put the lid back on.
Grow on in Modules
As soon as the seeds start to germinate you need to get them out of the box and grow them on in modules. Fill your plastic modules (or cut off toilet rolls!) with seed compost and gently lift out each seed in turn using the end of a pencil or cocktail stick. Do not try to get them out with your fingers since you will be sure to break off the roots! Also if you have left the seedlings too long then sometimes the roots will grow into the paper towel. If this has happened then cut round it with scissors and put the whole lot in the module. Just cover the seedlings with more seed compost…give them a light mist spray to settle in and watch them grow!
As the tomato plants get bigger just pot them on into next next size of pot. When all danger of frost has passed start putting the plants outside in the yard or on a balcony to “harden them off”…ie get the buggers used to the harsh world out there! After a few days then you can plant them out in their final growing position…either in the ground, in pots or in grow bags. Plant them about a foot apart if you are putting them in open ground and tie the plant to a stake as it grows.
Tomatoes are really easy to grow…just keep them well watered and feed them with a liquid feed once a week. As they grow keep them tied to the stake and remove the side shoots. If you miss a few it doesn’t matter…just pinch the shoot out after the first flower truss. As soon as they turn color you can start picking them to eat and they should carry on fruiting until the first frosts arrive in the Autumn or Fall.
Here are some more unusual varieties of Tomato Seeds to start your taste buds watering…..
Try inter-cropping tomatoes and sweet corn …..they grow really well together and the corn helps to support the tall tomato plants!
Tomato and Sweet Corn make great companions both in the garden and in the kitchen! If you grow them together then the sturdy sweet corn plants will help to support the tomato plants and will also protect them if you have a storm or high winds. If you end up with a really successful crop and feel that you just can’t eat any more then don’t forget that tomatoes freeze really well so you can continue to eat them in the middle of winter:
So take a Frugal Tip from the MeanyGoat and learn how to germinate tomato seed since it is a great introduction to gardening and is a foolproof way of having pounds of great tasting tomatoes to eat all summer long!