Homegrown tomatoes taste better than any of those grocery-bought tomatoes. A home vegetable garden can have many vegetables growing in, but tomatoes are the easiest ones. You can have a bountiful harvest of homegrown tomatoes with a little preparation before planting and with regular care.
In this short guide, I will be discussing the methods on how to plant tomato seeds outdoors so read on…
How To Plant Tomato Seeds Outdoors
Even if it’s your first time growing tomatoes, you can successfully do so by following simple guidelines and instructions.
How to grow a tomato plant
You have to consider where and when to plant the seed or a starter plant. A healthy and productive plant is achieved only if you are well prepared. It doesn’t matter if you will start your tomato plant from a seed or a starter plant; the basic steps are the same.
When to plant tomatoes outside
Tomatoes are one of the most common sub-tropical plants. Their optimal growth is ensured only when the average daytime temperature is above 55°F, and nighttime temperature is above 45°F. It is dumb to go by the last frost date of your area. Await of two weeks is mandatory before you plant the tomatoes outside in the garden.
Prepare the soil for planting
Preparing your soil for planting tomatoes is the first order of business.
Right area for planting
A spot with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight are usually ideal for growing tomatoes. Avoid choosing the spot that will be shaded by the leaves of trees later in the season.
Adding compost to your soil
As it is known that compost is necessary for keeping the moisture. It improves the soil structure and allows the soil to retain some water without staying soggy. It also provides the plant with nutrients. Additionally, it attracts beneficial soil organisms like earthworm and nitrogen-fixing bacterial by adding organic materials.
Fertilizer addition but only if it is necessary
Before you add anything to the soil, take a soil test. That will show what is necessary to add. If you don’t follow the instructions on the package, you may over-fertilize your plant.
Sift your soil
Sifting the soil is important because it lets your seed grow properly by removing all kinds of rocks, roots, sticks, and other kinds of debris.
Wait for warm weather
You can have some chance of germinating tomato seeds only if the soil temperature is above 50°F. This temperature is usually achieved after the last frost date in your area.
Planting the seeds
It is necessary to plant the seeds in a row, at a depth of 0.25 inches and almost 2 feet apart. Before the plant grows, have your supports installed. There can be taller indeterminate tomato varieties. For them, you can use tomato cages with planted seeds in the center of the cage. It is significant to leave 4 feet of space between the rows to pull seeds, watering, fertilizing, inspecting, and harvesting can be done in between that space.
Taking care of your tomato plant as it grows
Watering the seeds should be done very carefully because too much water washes away soil and seeds alike. Most of the gardeners use a spray bottle to keep the soil moist. A watering can and hose are used after the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have emerged.
As the plant grows, you must use a twin to tie your tomatoes to the stake. The weight of fruit can lead to break them. But if there is support, it will keep them from falling over. Plants can get diseases because of the contamination in the soil. The chances of diseases can be decreased by keeping the plants off the ground.
Tomato plants are very fond of heat. They like their roots to stay warm. When planting the tomato, it is a good idea to put a plastic weed control fabric or mulch. You can also maintain the moisture and heat level in the soil by spreading straw, wood chips, or rocks around the tomato plant.
It is recommended to pinch out suckers from tomato plants. The new shoots developing from the center of an existing stem and the main stem are termed suckers. If you leave it un-pruned, this new leave will transform itself into another plant’s main stem.
Pinching out the suckers will keep your tomato growth in control. The energy of the plant will be utilized in producing more flowers and fruits than producing more leaves. Pinching out suckers is another phrase for telling you only one main stem of the tomato plant.
It is a great idea to remove the lowest 2 to 4 leaves as soon as the tomatoes are about 18” tall. The tomato plant will have the least chances of getting any soil-borne infections if you remove the leaves closest to the ground.
After the tomato plant has been established at a permanent place, keep fertilizing it at regular intervals and fertilize it at the start. That is done because tomato plants are very heavy feeders. If you are going to use a liquid organic fertilizer, it is recommended to use a mild dose of compost tea every two or three weeks. Granular organic fertilizers should be applied every four weeks as per the rate instructed on the box.
Tomato Pests and diseases
If you don’t want your plant to get infected with several diseases, keep providing it optimum growing conditions and protection. Tomato blights, tomato hornworms, aphids, blossom end rot, and cracked or split tomatoes are some of the most common tomato diseases.
Can you plant seeds directly outside?
Seeds can be grown indoors as well as outdoors. Most people start their garden by growing seeds indoors. You can also tuck the seeds directly into the soil outdoors. Many vegetables, annuals, perennials, and herbs have been observed to sprout easily from the seeds sown directly into garden soil.
Can you put flower seeds directly into garden soil?
There have to be some considerations while sowing your seeds into the ground and not into a container. You can get a much higher chance of growing a gorgeous crop if you take the time to prepare the soil first. If the seed is sown into warm and moist soil, it can germinate very quickly.
Where should I plant tomatoes?
Tomato seeds usually sprout within a week if they are kept warm room temperature and sprayed with water twice daily. The seedlings must be moved to bright light as soon as they start breaking the surface. If you grow the seedlings near a sunny window, keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t dry out. An ideal light for them is a full-spectrum grow-light.
Should I soak tomato seeds before planting?
Soaking is important because it softens the hull of seeds and helps the sprout break the seal. That is why you soak seeds in warm water the night before you will be planting them. When you moisten a single paper towel to germinate tomato seeds, make sure it is damp but not soaked.
If you live in a warm climate with a long growing season, you can plant tomato seeds directly in the ground. The residents of colder climates should start tomato seeds indoors and then transplant the seedlings outdoors later. It usually takes ten days for tomato seeds to germinate.
Warm temperature and enough light lead to the quick development of the plant. It is important to start seeds six to eight weeks before you intend to transplant them outdoors. It is usually recommended to plant two seeds of tomato in each hole. Pluck out the shorter or weaker sprout if both happen to germinate. This tip applies to both planting in the ground and planting in a pot. You get better germination rates when you go for the two seeds option.