Caring for tomato seeds and saplings is simple. You can buy packaged seeds for germination, or use the ones harvested in your garden. Starting at the right time is the key to growing healthy saplings. Storing the seeds in a cool and dry place promotes germination. Seeds that are more than 4 years old should not be used, since they have very low chances of producing new growth. Understanding the seed germination process in general should prove to be useful.
Germinating Tomato Seeds
A common mistake done while germinating seeds is the use of garden soil. It is possible that the soil contains viruses and fungi, which affects germination process in the early stages. Another disadvantage is that it becomes hard and compact too quickly, the tender seedlings cannot break through the surface easily. A mixture of vermiculite, peat moss, and perlite should be used. Such mixtures are easily available at garden centers. Avoid mixtures with a high fertilizer content.
There is no need to use special containers. However, it is necessary to provide for proper drainage for the water. Flower pots meant for regular planting or even Styrofoam cups can be used for this purpose. If you are reusing old containers, remember to sterilize them.
Plant the tomato seeds 1/8th inches deep in the soil. To provide these seeds with enough moisture, it is recommended to cover them with soil after sowing. Keeping the pots away from direct sunlight is important. The soil should be allowed to dry a bit between two watering sessions. Remember that the soil has to be moist, it would be harmful for tender seedlings to grow in dry soil. The seeds germinate best at temperatures between 70-80 °F. The germination will slow down if the temperature decreases, and vice versa. It takes only 5-10 days for the seeds to germinate. The seedlings are allowed to grow in these containers for 6-8 weeks, after which they are replanted in bigger containers to promote healthy growth.
Raising Tomato Seedlings
The seedlings attain a healthy growth at a temperature of 65 °F. Light and good ventilation are crucial for this plant. The seedlings can be replanted in 6-8 weeks, or you can wait for the development of the first true leaves. Replanting the tomato plant helps develop strong roots. Setting seedlings deep into the container reduces their height; this way the sapling is properly established in the new setting.
Maintaining necessary conditions for plant growth is important. You must take care of different aspects like soil drainage, sunlight, and temperature to facilitate proper germination of tomato seeds.