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).

tomato seed

Tomato seed

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 temperatures.

Water temperatures

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 temperatures uniform.

tomato seedling

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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Book cover Gardening Tomatoes

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. Congratulations!

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