Instructables
Picture of Starting Tomatoes From Seed

Growing your own tomatoes can be very rewarding making your own sauces, dried tomatoes, or just eating as many as you can fresh. If you plan on preserving some then you will want to have more than just one or two plants, buying large quantities of plants can get expensive but they are fairly easy to start from seed. So let's get brave and grow some tomato plants from seed.

 
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Step 1: Good Potting soil

Picture of Good Potting soil
2-14-13  tomato sprout.jpg

Is spring fever getting to you, are you ready to plant your garden but it is way to early and there is still snow on the ground. The beginning to the middle of March is a good time to start your tomatoes seeds so that when the weather does warm up they will be ready to plant. You can save a lot of money by starting your own plants from seed. Tomato plants need to be started at least six to ten weeks before your last frost date. The ground temperatures to plant them outdoors need to be warmed up to at least 50 at night for them to grow, otherwise they will just sit in the ground until the temperatures do get above 50 at night.

You might think the initial cost of the seed and all the pots to start you plants in is expensive but if you do the math you can start a whole lot more plants and they can will acclimated to your region temperatures by the time they go into the ground. There are several ways to start seed, indoors is one, in a cold frame, greenhouse or a hotbed germination bed, all of these methods can work well if you follow a few simple rules.

Step 2: Pots and Potting Soil

Picture of Pots and Potting Soil

Plant in good potting soil, either a mix you make up or a good growing medium you can purchase. A good mixture will cost you under $10.00 you should get about 30-40 4-6 inch pots out of a 16 quart bag which brings the potting soil to cost to .53 cents per plant.

ebeale16 months ago
Just wondering, I saved some seeds that I got from tomatoes I bought at a farmers market. The tomatoes were an orange color but looked like Roma tomatoes. Liked the tomatoes a lot because they were meaty without a lot wetness between the cells. Is it possible to grow tomatoes like this really well? Some people have told me they will probably never sprout ( I don't know why they think this ) but I've never grown any of my own food but would like to start with these plus some pepper seeds I saved from a grocery store pepper ( and I do t know if these need to be coaxed like mad because they are from a commercial farm in all likely hood.
DigDirtCheap (author)  ebeale16 months ago

If they were heirloom or stabilized hybrid they will grow true to what you bought. That brings up a good point that even buying from a farmers market you should ask are these heirloom, or stabilized hybrids. Stabilized hybrids will reproduce true to parent, F1 and F2 usually not. The other thing to consider when saving seeds from a store or even from a farmers market is that if they were not past fully ripe when picked the seeds will not be mature enough to reproduce. Peppers purchased from the store are picked way to early for the seeds to be mature plus they have been treated for transport. I would not recommend relying on them for your plants to grow, but you can certainly try for experimental purposes if they do grow they also will probably be a hybrid and possibly a greenhouse variety. Come check out our seeds at http://digdirtcheap.com they are all heirloom and you will have much better success starting out with growing some of your own food buying seeds that are tested for good germination.

If your seeds are from "heritage" plants they will grow but most commercial plants are hybrids and the seeds are sterile. Only way to tell is to try sprouting a few on damp paper towel in a warm dark place.