Start seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before the last expected spring frost in your area.
Plant your seeds about 1/4 inches deep in well moistened premixed soil. I sow them into small 2" pots from the beginning and fill pots half with soil, so that I can add some more soil later. Put container in a warm place.
Seeds germinate after 7-14 days. After about 20 days they will develop first true leaves. See our blog about Tomato Seedlings on day 25.
After they all have a set of first true leaves I add more soil to the pots, so that only leaves are above the ground, and stem is completely buried in. This encourages seedlings to develop more roots along the buried stem.
Transplant seedlings into larger containers later if you feel that the old post are too small, i.e. if you see that roots fill up all the pot and start grow out from the bottom holes.
After all frost dangers past, transplant the rooted seedlings outside into prepared moist bedding on sunny spot in the garden. Again plant them deep into the soil so that only leaves are above the ground - it will give the tomato plant opportunity to grow more roots along the buried stem.
Read our blog for more information about Transplanting Tomato seedlings outside.
Water seedlings thoroughly and put a stake or other support. Note: putting support at later time after the plant started growing can damage roots.
Water you plants well but not frequent, once a week is good enough.
Regularly cut off branches that have no flowers or fruits, it will direct the plant strength to branches with fruits. Tomato plants have a habit to start new sprouts from roots through the season, those sprouts draw the plant energy away from fruiting branches. Those sprouts need to be cut out, but one or two of them also can be let grow if you see that the main stem does not produce any fruits.
Harvest your tomatoes when fully ripen. Removing ripened fruits from the plant will encourage it to produce more flowers and fruits.
Usually tomato plants keep growing until the fall frost. When it becomes chilly at night you can try to remove the support and let plants lie as a heap closer to the ground and cover them with clear poly to protect them from frost. Also you can harvest all the remaining tomatoes - even green and keep them in dry warm place at home - after some time they will ripen as well, though the taste will not be as good as of tomatoes ripen on the plant.
In case you wonder why your own tomatoes always taste better than those you buy in store - this is the answer: commercial tomatoes are often harvested green, and they ripen during the transportation or in warehouses before they reach the customer. It gives producers more time to handle and deliver tomatoes before they start getting spoiled, but the taste is sacrificed along the way.
1. Blossom End Rot - read more in tomato-disease-blossom-end-rot article
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