Tomatoes are the most popular plants among fruit and vegetable gardeners: they produce lots of fruit per plant; the seeds are inexpensive; and, they are easy to grow from seed. You will need to sow your seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost of the spring to maximize their growing potential.
Moisten your planting medium to prepare it for your tomato seeds, a store-bought seed-starting mix is perfect, but many veteran gardeners will have their own recipe of vermiculite, clay, and sphagnum. It’s up to you, just don’t use soil from your garden for seed-starting – it may be contaminates with all kind of fungi, disease, and bests that will make life harder for your seedling.
Far and away the easiest method of starting tomato seeds is Park’s Bio Dome Seed Starter. Simply drop one seed into each of the pre-drilled bio sponges, water the base of the tray, and place the humidity dome on top. Within a week you should see sprouts.
However, if you don’t have a Bio Dome, never fear! The method is similar whether you use a seed flat with starting mix, a One-Step, or a Park-Start. Here’s how to do it:
Sow directly on top of the medium.
Cover lightly (about 1/4 inch) with the planting medium.
Place the whole flat or tray in a warm place — approximately 75 degrees F.
Keep the soil moist but not wet until your seedlings are mature.
Your seedlings should emerge in just over a week, and in 5 more weeks, they will be ready for your garden. Don’t forget to “harden them off” — give them a couple of days outside for just a few hours to allow them to acclimate to the wind and sunlight. This prevents damage from shocking them with a sudden climate change.
Check out our Know Before You Grow: Tomatoes for even more information.