A small guide on how to start tomato seeds indoors. And when.
If you’ve ever tasted the tomato grown in your garden, you could remember the taste and aroma that a vine-ripened tomato gives. It’s altogether different from the stuff that arrives from the nearest grocery store. Have you ever considered why a grocery store tomato differs so much in taste from the homegrown tomato? The reason is simple that tomato is a quickly perishable fruit that starts deteriorating once it plucks from a vine. Some growers even pluck un-ripened tomatoes that change from greenish to red on their way to markets after the application of ethylene. Since tomatoes take a lot of time in plucking, sorting, packing, and transporting. So a fresh tomato you find in a supermarket is often 24 hours or older than that. Getting that super aroma and taste is not beyond your reach as growing tomatoes at home is not a difficult task at all. You could start growing tomatoes of your choice if you know how to start tomato seeds indoors?
Growing tomato from the seeds also provides you an opportunity to choose from hundreds of available varieties depending on your need. You could select a slicer, Beefsteak, and cherry tomatoes. Space lets you decide from the determinate and indeterminate tomato varieties. Determinate varieties are often erect and grow up to 3 feet tall, while indeterminate varieties grow as long vines and need support for bearing fruit. Indeterminate and cherry tomatoes can yield for longer whereas, Determinate varieties flower and bear fruit at once. As the majority of the gardeners grow tomato from the seedling brought from the nearby nursery, they lose their choice of growing tomato variety what they need in their garden. Here are a few simple steps that would let you know how to start tomato seeds indoors?
Tips on How To Start Tomato Seeds Indoors
- Select the type of tomato at priority based on your choice and the observations mentioned above.
- Gather the selected seeds, a potting mixture of your choice, seedling tray, and water sprinkler in one place.
- Fill the holes of the seedling tray with a potting mixture to the top with a gentle press.
- Make 1/8 inches’ deep hole using a stick or pencil and place 2-3 seeds per hole. Fill the gap above the tomato seeds with the potting mixture again with a push that the tomato seed comes in direct contact with the potting material.
- Sprinkle water over the surface so that the moisture reaches the seeds.
- Cover the seedling tray with a transparent plastic sheet loosely to retain moisture in the potting media.
- Place your seedling trays in a dark and warm site that maintains temperatures between 75-80°F.
- Seeds could sprout in 5 to 7 days while the complete germination process will be over in 10 days.
- Once the germination is complete, expose the seedling to 65°F temperature and bright light for at least 14-16 hours a day.
- Take care of water only for initial 6-8 weeks once the outdoors temperature reaches between 65-70°F for transplanting, or you may transplant them 3-weeks after the last frost.
- Feed your tomato plants with the recommended dose of nutrients once they are hardened and start growth outdoors.
- Initially, you may feed up to ½ gram of NPK (5:10:10) while feeding at flowering and fruit developing stages could increase to 1 gram per plant.
Now the question arises when to start tomato seeds indoors? The preferable time to start tomato seeds indoors is 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. The local climate data and gardening calendars are there to determine the best planting dates in your locality. Otherwise, USDA hardiness zones provide an approximate planting date for each zone based on several years’ data.
Epsom Salt as Garden Fertilizer
Epson salt is a Sulfate of Magnesium that is highly soluble in water. Its pH value is almost neutral. Due to its higher solubility in water, Epsom salt is used as foliar fertilizer for tomatoes, peppers, carrots, lemons, and potatoes.
How to use Epsom salt as fertilizer for tomatoes?
For fertilizing tomatoes with Epson salt, add 1-teaspoon (5 grams) of Epsom salt in one gallon of water and apply as foliar fertilizer using a handheld sprayer. Be sure that the plant foliage gets uniform application. The preferred application time is the afternoon.
Which plants like Epsom salts?
All types of agriculture crops and gardening plants love Epsom salt fertilization, provided they are deficient in Magnesium. Tomatoes and Peppers respond well to their application and bring natural taste and enhance the aroma.
Can too much Epsom salt hurt plants?
Yes, too much higher doses of Epsom salt may bring your plants under stress and show yellowing of the leaf margin. At higher doses, Epsom salt behaves as a herbicide. So keep the application rates bit under the prescribed dosage.
Can I use Epsom salt on potted plants?
Sure, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in one gallon of water and apply using a mist sprayer. Don’t over-apply. Only one pass will be enough. Otherwise, a repetition after the first application is dry may harm the plants’ foliage.
How often do you put Epsom salt on tomatoes?
The ideal application ratio is 1-tablespoon per one square foot of planting soil. Since a tomato plant needs one square of planting soil, it is advisable to dust the prescribed dose within this zone and apply water afterward. Another application method applies to the height of the plant where you could demonstrate a similar rate for a 1-foot tall plant and gradually increasing the dose to 1 tablespoon per feet height. The critical stages for applying Epsom salt are flowering and fruit-bearing stages during the growth of the plant.
How Epsom salt help grow plants bushier and healthy?
Epsom salt helps plants to perform several functions due to the Magnesium and Sulfur it contains. Its ingredients speed up the photosynthesis process that increases chlorophyll synthesis, increases the number of flowers, and to some extend, deters slugs and snails. Plants grow bushier and produce tastier and aromatic fruits.
Can we mix Epsom salt with other garden fertilizers?
There is no harm in mixing Epsom salt with other garden fertilizers like N: P: K for both foliar and soil applications. But, the dosage will vary in both cases as a small quantity requires feeding fertilizers through aerial applications.