If gardeners grow their tomatoes from seed, it's mainly for one reason: There are so many different rare and heirloom varieties that simply are not commercially available as garden-ready shrubs.
In general, the best sowing-time for tomato seeds is about 6- 8 weeks before the last expected frosts in spring. Since tomatoes have their roots in the tropical regions of South America and require relatively high temperatures to germinate, they are started indoors and pre-cultured in greenhouses or on the windowsill in the house in almost all climates, until they have developed enough to be transplanted into the garden. This usually happens about two weeks after the last frost, or when the average temperatures have leveled off around the 12 °C (55 °F).
We have compiled a short list of sowing instructions for tomatoes:
How to grow tomatoes from seed
- Ideal sowing time for tomato seeds: late March / early April indoors
- Ideal germination temperature: + 24-28 °C, plenty of light, keep soil moist
- Germination: 6-10 days. After the seeds have germinated, move the plants to a cooler spot at about + 15 °C
- 2-3 weeks after sowing, transplant the young tomato seedlings, as soon as the first pair of leaves has fully formed. The roots should be shortened in order to encourage healthy root growth.
- Plant out your tomatoes in mid-May after the last freezing nights (planting distance 50-100cm). Previously, the plants should be hardened off for a few days. Set them as deep as possible into the soil and place them at an angle - like this, the shoot will form more roots. Do not forget to water.
- Tomatoes need good, loose and well-drained soils with a high humus content. They do not like waterlogging.
- Tomatoes have a high demand in nutrients. You'll need enough good fertilizer and in most cases, a plant support or trellis.