Tomatoes from Seed:
really is not difficult to grow tomatoes from seed but does take a
little bit of planning. Start the seeds indoors six to eight weeks prior to the last frost
date in your area (refer to the
Plant about 1/4 inch deep, in flats or small pots using sterile seed
starting material. This will help to prevent soil born disease
we try and separate seeds during the harvest process, you may find
small clumps of multiple seeds in your packets. Separate these
clumps into individual seeds before planting.
lightly and keep consistently moist until germination occurs.
If the seeds dry out, they will die. You can cover the pots
with a plastic bag to help maintain the soil moisture but be sure to
remove once plants appear. The tomato seeds germinate best if the
soil is between 75 to 90°F.
Click here for
seed starting ideas.
Full light, and cooler temperatures
(60 to 70°F) will help to prevent the seedlings from becoming too
leggy. After the seeds have germinated, place them in a
location that receives a lot of light. A south-facing window
should work. If this is not an option, a florescent lamp
fixture rigged so that it is a couple of inches above the plants
will work. If they do not receive adequate light, they will
the plants have their second or third set of true leaves, and before
they become root bound, transplant into 4 inch pots. This
transplanting step will allow the plant to develop properly and
promote root growth.
Harden off plants before
transplanting outside. Be careful while transplanting
so that you do not disturb or damage the roots too much.
Young plants are very tender and susceptible to frost
damage, as well as sunburn. I protect my young plants
by placing a one gallon milk jug, with the bottom removed,
to form a miniature greenhouse. A couple of days of
special attention like this will help to ensure a high rate
You should avoid giving tomato plants
too much nitrogen, especially before the fruit sets. It is far
better to plant them into a location that has healthy soil with high
levels of organic matter worked in. Over watering may help to produce
larger fruit, but flavor may be reduced. Additionally,
splitting and cracking can result from uneven and excessive
Selection tips -- Determinate
types ripen over 3 to 4 weeks and their bushes generally do not need
continue to grow even after the fruit sets and ripen continuously
until a frost arrives.
Tomato Disease Tolerances -- "F"
indicates a resistance to Fusarium wilt, "V" a resistance to Verticillium wilt,
"N" to nematodes (root knot), "T" to the tobacco mosaic virus, and
"St" to Stemphylium (gray leaf spot). Note: Tobacco users should not come in contact
with seedlings to help prevent infection with the tobacco virus.
heirloom tomato varieties typically ripen throughout the growing
season, there are times when you may end up with an abundance of
fruit and little time to cook into sauces or can. One solution is to
freeze some for use during the winter months.
Simply cut about 3/8 of an inch off the stem end of each fully ripe,
unblemished tomato. Package them for the freezer by placing them
into a freezer bag and placing the freezer bag in a brown grocery
bag for extra protection. When ready to use, hold the frozen
tomatoes under hot water for a few seconds. The skin will split open
and slip off easily allowing you to use them in you usual recipes.
recipes call for peeled, whole tomatoes. A very simple way of
peeling tomatoes is to blanch them. Simply plunge them into a hot
water bath just long enough for the skin to separate. The whole
tomato will easily pop out of their skins. Do not leave in the hot
water any longer than possible as they will begin to cook and
to the Guinness Book of World Records
tallest tomato plant was 65 feet, grown hydroponically by
Nutriculture Ltd., Mawdesley, Lancashire, England, on May 11,
world's largest tomato fruit was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmund,
Oklahoma and weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces.