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How to grow Tomatoes from seed



Few things are as easy as tomatoes from seed, though the 'aftercare' of the young plants is not so easy.
Tomato seeds will germinate easily at around 70F (around 5 to 14 days to germinate). I usually start mine in moist vermiculite, or even on moist kitchen paper, and prick the resultant tiny seedling into a small pot of compost as soon as it is possible to handle it. Cover the seed with polythene when you sow to retain the moisture.
To get good growth and a sturdy plant, they need lots of light and gentle heat. It's very easy to get long leggy plants early in the season, but enormously difficult to get those bushy and strong plants you see for sale early on.
For all these reasons, I've decided it really isn't worth starting seeds much before mid to the end of March. Seeds sown later often grow into plants that 'catch up' and are far healthier than the specimens started early.
I've tried fluorescent 'daylight' lamps and heated propagators, but I've still come to this conclusion. And when I can buy a really good plant in April, for about 50 centimes, I've decided I only need to start my chosen varieties later and depend for an early crop on the ones from professional growers sold in the market.

18 Feb, 2010

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