Tomato Growing Tips
Cultivating tomatoes is very easy to do by starting your own seeds. Greenhouse starts are quite limited, so in order to taken advantage of the many variations in tomatoes, this will necessary. You can find tomato seed for yellow, green, black, red or pink tomatoes. Expect to see different leaf types, as well as dwarf plants. Both full size, as well as smaller globes are standard, as well as salad tomatoes, such as cherry or grape varieties.
To start tomato seeds, a sterile seed-starting mix is recommended. Moisten the soil mixture and pat into your planting container firmly. With a standard pencil, drill two holes about ¼ deep. Place one tomato seed, of the same variety, in each hole and cover with soil. Keep the soil moist and you can expect to see germination within 5-7 days.
Tomato seeds prefer a warm soil temperature of about 70 to 80 degrees. At higher or lower temperatures, germination may slow or seeds may rot before a tomato even commences. Tomato seeds should be planted approximately six weeks before your last date of expected frost.
Once you see all your tomato starts poke out of the dirt, your tiny plants will need some supplemental lighting. If you are lucky enough to have a large, south-facing window, this may do the trick. Otherwise, grow lamps or fluorescent lights will need to be, resulting in spindly seedlings.
At this point, your growing tomatoes are still relying on their own stored nutrition from the seed casing. If you feel like adding a bit of help, dilute some fish emulsion and add it in a weak solution when you are watering tomato plants. No other fertilizer should be needed until your tomato plants are ready to be planted outside. At this time, a specialized tomato fertilizer, high in potash, should be applied according to the direction on the package.
Once you have been growing your tomato plants for around six weeks, you will need to begin thinking about planting them outside. Many people make the mistake of introducing the adolescent plants to the outdoor environment suddenly and failure can be the result.
Give yourself a week to adjust your plants, or harden them. Leave them outside for about an hour on the first day and gradually increase the time until they have spent a full day in their outside environment. Don't forget to pay closer attention to watering tomato plants, as they will dry out quicker. Once properly hardened, they can planted in your garden.
Tomatoes are ideal for growing in pots and will completely mature indoors, without any supplementary pollination. If you do want to attempt growing tomatoes in a pot, favor dwarf varieties, or determinate cherry or grape tomatoes.
It will be unnecessary to harden the plants before transplanting to your pots. Also, while tomato plants may live a long time in a pot, they may tire after 8 months or so of growth. Nutrients can become depleted, so add the appropriate tomato fertilizer while watering tomato plants on a regular basis.
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