Productive Garden Veggies


Tomato Seedlings in a Seedling Tray

In our last post we went deep into how to select the best varieties of tomatoes.  Now we’re going to look and planting the seeds in a nursery before the growing season starts.

Be sure to germinate your tomato seeds in an ideal growing environment. Provide the seedlings with optimal soil, watering frequency, temperature, and sunshine or artificial light.

The optimal soil for the seedlings will be completely free of weed seeds.  A sifted mixture of fine sand, peat moss and composted manure works well.  The seedlings will not require fertilizer but will do best in a friable soil that holds moisture without caking.  This medium will allow the young roots and stems to push through.

It helps to sift the soil through a wire mesh pasta strainer. Also ensure that the starting soil has been well moistened. Provide each seed with about a quarter cup of soil.  It really helps to use plastic seedling trays — a handy array of seedling cups.

Otherwise, You can make do by dispensing sifted soil into paper fiber egg cartons (also known as egg boxes in the UK).  Fill each egg cup with sifted, moistened soil.  Plant two or three seeds in each egg cup about ¼ inch deep. Water once or twice a day in small doses because there’s not a lot of soil there to hold the moisture.  It’s convenient to use a shot glass for watering.   Add an ounce or two of water to each egg carton (dozen cups) once or twice daily.

The optimum temperature range for germinating tomato seeds is 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. or 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. The ideal target temperature is close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius.

Under optimal growing conditions you can expect the seedlings to emerge in 6 days, an unbelievably exciting event. Once the seedlings have emerged take care to keep them from drying out. 

In the next post we’ll dive into taking our seedlings to the next stage: potting on.


Photo Credit – Pixabay, johannaschen-17288651

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