Three Secrets for Germinating Tomato Seed
Here are some guidelines for germinating tomato
seed. And frankly, it's a heck of a lot easier to grow your
own plants plus you get the varieties you want to grow instead of
having to see what the local greenhouses are growing (or if they have
any left of the variety you want to grow).
Best Soil Temperature
70F. You're going to need one of
the propagating mats or some way to get that soil temperature up.
Understand soil temperatures are usually 10F colder than air
When you water, you're going to use luke warm water
(comfortable on your wrist like a baby's bottle temperature). Not
too hot but never colder than 70F. You want to keep those seed
Tomato seedling - plant so only 3 inches (about the length of my finger) is above soil line in pot for growing on. This one is a bit leggy but deeper planting will "cure" this. :-)
Covering the seed.
Here's where beginners get into trouble. Do not cover the seed
very much. The objective is to keep a uniform level of moisture around
the seed - not to bury it. Barely cover it! This is
important because too many gardeners read the seed packages and bury
the seed a half inch or more down and wonder why they never
germinate. Seed sowing indoors is shallow-planting for all seeds
including tomato seeds.
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Soil (fourth hint but who's counting) :-)
Use an soilless soil such as Promix. Peat moss based (or coir
if you're a fan of this material) but avoid real soil as it tends to
compact terribly and should never be used for seed germination.
That's it. Barely cover. Keep warm.
You should see the seed growing within 10 days with tomatoes (they can
be a bit slow sometimes depending on variety).
Now you've turned your tomato seeds into tomato seedlings.
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