Skip to content

Sowing & preplanting tomatoes: How and when the amateur gardener should prepare tomato plants

Preparations for the coming gardening season are slowly getting into full swing: shrubs are being pruned, cold seedlings are growing, and beds are being fertilized and loosened. Time to start thinking about the vegetable plants you want to cultivate this year. A popular classic, which in principle is not missing from any amateur gardener, is the tomato. This is, of course, partly because it tastes simply wonderful and can be used in a variety of culinary ways. In addition, even beginners have no problems in caring for them. Therefore, we dedicate our article today to the tomato plant. If you dare to try this vegetable plant for the first time this year, here you will learn how to sow tomatoes and care for them until transplanting into the open ground. Also, did you know that tomatoes can also be grown in pots and thus on the balcony?

Sowing tomatoes – when is the best time and what you need.

Sowing tomatoes at the right time for healthy tomato seedlings.

Of course, you could buy ready-made seedlings in mid-spring and save yourself this work, but they also cost much more than seeds, and also the variety of species will not be so great. Besides, the fun of growing your own tomatoes should not be underestimated, as well as the pride of knowing that you are fully responsible for the abundant harvest. Therefore, we recommend that you sow tomatoes yourself. But when to sow tomatoes?

Sow tomatoes when?

Sow tomatoes and nurture and grow them in a bright location such as a window

If you want to grow the plants from tomato seeds, you can buy them as early as February or no later than the beginning of March. But then sowing tomatoes will be no earlier than the end of February, but it is better to do it in early March. And when should you sow tomatoes at the latest?
Set yourself mid-March as the limit when sowing tomatoes. You should not wait longer, so that the plants later have enough time to develop and form fruits.

Also, buy seed pots, or make your own , as well as soil. But what soil for tomatoes should you choose? In the beginning, low-nutrient growing soil is quite enough, because the seeds already ensure the seedlings all the necessary nutrients. You can even mix soil for tomatoes yourself and save even more money.

Growing tomatoes from seed – this is how it’s done

Sowing tomatoes instead of buying seedlings - Wider variety of varieties.

No matter when you sow tomatoes, it is advisable to prepare the seeds a little beforehand to promote germination. For example, you can soak them for half a day in lukewarm chamomile tea or diluted garlic juice (1:10). By softening the seed coat in this way, germination is not only accelerated and supported, they also make the seeds more resistant to mold infestation at the same time .

Tomato seeds can be soaked in chamomile tea or garlic solution

Fill the prepared growing pots with the growing soil. Then you can sow the tomatoes on it (one seed in each pot), after which you cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil (about 5 mm). You can sow the tomatoes on the windowsill or place them there after you sow them to provide them with the necessary amount of light.  Tomatoes are light germinators and need the bright red spectral range of the sun’s rays as soon as they germinate. So, at the latest, when the first plantlets appear, they should move to a bright place. In the absence of light, tomato seedlings grow too long and brittle, forming too small leaves. However, direct sunlight should be avoided, because it causes rapid spoilage of the seeds.

Sow tomatoes individually, moisten well and place on the windowsill

Then moisten the soil well, but not too much, to avoid waterlogging. A spray bottle is best for this purpose, as the water jet from the watering can is too strong and washes away the seeds. Now cover the pots with foil or a transparent plastic lid. This has the effect of a greenhouse and ensures that the soil does not dry out so quickly and guarantees a moist and warm climate. Guarantee the tomato plants a temperature of 18 to 24 degrees, which is constant.

How long do tomatoes take to germinate? If you follow the above rules, the germination period of tomato is usually about 10 to 14 days.

Pre-growing tomato plants – how to care for tomato seedlings?

Sowing tomatoes at home and care for them properly

After you sow the tomatoes, of course, you need to continue to care for them. But the tomatoes in the apartment are cared for quite simply. It is important that they remove the transparent cover or film for a short time every day, so that the old air is replaced with fresh. Also make sure that the soil is always slightly moist. Continue to use the spray bottle for moistening or place the growing pots in water to provide the plants with the necessary moisture from below.

Sow tomatoes in purchased or homemade growing pots

Otherwise, you do not need to do anything but wait. Once the first tomato seedlings appear and they form the first pair of leaves, you need to repot the tomatoes, for which you will need pots with a diameter of 9 cm, as well as potting soil. This step is called “pricking” and it is necessary especially if you sowed several seeds and now also have several plantlets in one pot. They need to be separated so that they have the necessary space to grow and do not compete.

Sow tomatoes and prick them as soon as the first pair of leaves is formed

The handle of a spoon or fork is best suited for this purpose. Prick with it sideways, obliquely and deeply into the soil so that the stem is below the plant and you can push it out from below without damaging the tender roots. Plant them in the prepared pots of potting soil and place them back on the windowsill. Continue to nurture them there until they reach a height of about 30 cm.

After pricking out, keep the tomato plants indoors until mid-May

At this stage, the ideal room temperature is 18 to 20 degrees. It is therefore lower than before, because too warm environment drives the plants to grow faster, but for this the current amount of light is not enough. The result is too weak tomato plants. Cover the pots are no longer. Each tomato plant now water moderately.

Sowing tomatoes – time for the garden.

Grow tomatoes in advance instead of buying them and planting them in the garden bed

If you sow tomatoes indoors (or sow tomatoes in a heated greenhouse), there will also come a time when you need to take the plants outside to the garden or balcony. But when can you plant tomatoes outside? The rule is usually after the Ice Saints, so around mid-May. If you have a greenhouse available , you can also consider it, as it has been proven that the plants become healthier and therefore have a greater yield.

Plant tomato plants in the bed or grow them in the greenhouse

In this case, you can also pre-grow tomatoes in it in April – so temporarily put the plants from the house into the greenhouse and then possibly plant them in the garden from mid-May. Also, a so-called tomato house is well suited, as it protects the plants from rain. Immediately after planting, water the plants abundantly. The first time fertilize with natural fertilizer already a week after planting.

Tips for amateur gardeners - How to grow the tomato in advance and proper care.

Sowing tomatoes in the open ground

The is one of the most popular vegetables for the garden - here's how to grow them

If you have missed the right time for sowing in March, you may wonder whether you can still preplant the tomatoes or sow tomatoes directly in the bed. If you want to grow your own tomatoes, the house/apartment or a heated greenhouse is clearly the safe option, but if you do decide to go outdoors, you should sow your tomatoes no earlier than the end of March, or better still during the first two weeks of April or mid-April. The plants do not tolerate frost.

After growing pots, tomato plants need larger pots to grow in

Tip: Your tomatoes do not grow? This does not have to be a reason for concern. Up to two weeks, the plants may well rest from time to time. Otherwise, the following things can be the cause:

  • Too little nutrients as a result of too infrequent fertilizer applications.
  • Wrong neighbors : potatoes and similar plants harm the tomato plants.
  • An unsuitable location with too little light and heat, too much rain and/or drafts and wind; do not plant the plants too close to each other.
  • Lack of care: rotten and broken stems should be removed regularly.
  • Root fungus where plants are beyond saving or will not bear fruit.

What else you can do in February, you can learn from this article .