Seeds to Seedlings
I like to sow my seeds in weekly intervals.
This means that I can deal with just a few at a time – whether its germinating, transplanting or potting on.
It also means that for bush varieties, where tomatoes ripen over a short period, the harvest will be spread out over a few months rather than having all the tomatoes ripen at the same time – tall varieties ripen over a longer period.
This can be a bit hit and miss when temperatures fluctuate widely.
When kept at the same temperature (more or less around 20C), tomato seeds usually germinate around five to seven days. If temperatures are up and down a lot, it could take around seven to ten days.
Once seedlings start to show through the soil, create a humid atmosphere to help them discard their seed shell. This can easily be done with a hand sprayer/mister and a propagator is great for germination.
When seedlings arrive, lots of light and a temperature around 18C is ideal. If the temperature is much lower at night, below 10C, try not to over-water them as a combination of wet soil and cold conditions can cause problems.
If temperatures are too high (above 21C), soil is too wet and light levels are low, they’ll shoot up like rockets, So …
- Lots of light
- Soil just slightly damp (not constantly wet)
- Temperature around 18C
When late spring and early summer arrive, it is much easier to manage seedlings because conditions are more favourable.