Much tastier than any tomato purchased in a store, tomatoes sown from seed are also more flavorful than those purchased in nursery pots.
Sowing your own tomatoes will let you grow different varieties and rediscover their original taste. And the process of sowing and growing is a great way to truly enjoy yourself !
Tomatoes have a lead time of about 4 months, so it helps to start preparing your seedlings in a nursery quite early. February or March is perfect for transplanting to their growing beds in May.
Go for a as many varieties as you have space for: it is the best way to discover new flavors. Follow our advice on preparing tomato seedlings to get a nice harvest.
Nothing should keep you from also purchasing potted tomato seedlings and replanting them in your garden.
How to sow tomato
First, you should find an adequate container.
For example, a tray or nursery pots, which are increasingly used for this type of sowing.
Start your sowing indoors in February or March, preferably in a greenhouse or on a windowsill, but avoid direct sun.
- Prepare a bed of gravel or clay pebbles to ensure proper drainage, 1 inch thick (2 to 3 cm).
Although this step isn’t mandatory, it is strongly recommended to avoid root rot.
- Add seedling soil mix up to ⅔ the height of the container, and press it down a bit.
- Fill in to the top with more soil mix.
- Sow the seeds.
Space the seeds about 1½ inches (4cm) on all sides if sowing in a tray.
A couple seeds in the center are enough for pots.
- Seeds need a temperature higher than 70°F (20°C) for about a week to germinate.
At this point the seedling most needs light.
- If sown in a tray, transplant the seedlings to a nursery pot as soon as the first leaves start budding.
- Keep watering regularly and eventually provide a little bit of organic fertilizer.
- Early May, if it won’t freeze anymore, transplant your seedlings to their growing bed or in the vegetable patch.
- Make sure you amend the soil with a little soil mix, the same you used for sowing. This helps reduce transplant shock.
- Harvest around 4 to 6 months after sowing depending on the growing conditions.
- Next steps are detailed in our page on growing tomato.
Video: how to grow tomato
Read also on tomato:
- Treating against downy mildew, the most common tomato disease
- Produce your own fermented stinging nettle tea to protect tomato plants