posted on: 4/6/2012 9:30:20 PM EST
Gardening, How to grow tomatoes, fertilize, water, prune and ripen them.
Gardening, How to grow tomatoes, fertilize, water, prune and ripen them.

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Planting Tomatoes
Starting Tomatoes from Seeds
and when to plant them !

Plantng Tomatoes How to and When?

Planting tomatoes shouldn't be backbreaking work.... in fact, quite the opposite! They are easy to plant, thrive if the conditions are right, and once ripe, they taste nothing like the their distant relations at the supermarket that are ripened using gas!

There's a reason growing tomatoes is so popular; they're the perfect plant for the new gardener, and there is lots of room to experiment for the veteran.

The first step in planting tomatoes is picking the perfect spot. Tomato plants adore sunlight, and will need about fourteen hours of it per day. If you are unable to find a spot with full sun for your plants in the yard, consider purchasing a small florescent light to give them artificial sunlight, and growing them indoors!

Gardening is about flexibility, and if you can't bring your plant to the elements, bring the elements to your plant!

When To Plant Tomatoes

You know that tomato plants are not frost hardy, so obviously they cannot be planted out until after the last frost. If you are growing your own plants from seed, growing to transplant size takes about 6 weeks.

So, plant those seeds indoors, in your greenhouse or cold frame six weeks before the last expected frost date for your area.

I use a styrefome dozen egg carton. Punch some holes in the bottom with and Ice pick. Sift out your potting soil so it is fine. Fill the egg carton full with sifted potting soil. Pack it down. Water it good. I use a cleaned out 2 gallon Garden sprayer to water with.

Use a pencil eraser end, to punch two holes in each corner of the egg pouches. Twenty four in all in a dozen egg carton. Drop two seeds in each hole. Cover with more sifted potting soil and re-water. Let sit on a paper towel for about one half hour for any excess water to drain. That will require 24 seeds for each dozen egg carton. Some may not germinate.

Shut the lid of the egg carton tightly and place on top of your Refrigerator where it is warm constantly. This will stimulate germination much faster. Watch for the next 7 days for them to sprout out.

Once they sprout out open the lids and place under a florescent light to give them artificial sunlight. Keep the light within one foot of the plants. Try and maintain the temperature constant day and night until they get there first two leaves. They will be about one to one and a one inches high. Be sure and water them every day a little bit. Tomato plants like constant watering on a schedule.

Once they have reached their two leaves you can transplant them into styrefome cups that you can purchase very cheaply at the grocery store. Fill the cups up three quarter full of sifted potting soil and using a table spoon lift out one entire egg pouch with small tomato plants at each end. Divide the spooned out pouch in half with a small sharp knife. Plant one half in each cup and fill around it with more potting soil.

Label the cups so you know what kind of plant it was. Water them again using B1, in the water, which can be purchased in a concentrate from Home Depot or Loews. Requires about two tablespoons per gallon of water. This has many nutrients to help stimulate root production which is very important in its beginning growth.

After a day or two you can set the cups outside in the sun for a few hours and bring them in at night when it is colder. Once they have been conditioned to outside weather, they can be transplanted in the garden. I use 2 liter plastic pop bottles with the top and bottom cut off around the baby plants to prevent the wind and birds from destroying them until they get about 6 to 8 inches tall. The containers can then be removed.

But, frost alone does not dictate the time for planting tomatoes. They are a subtropical species that will not thrive and grow vigorously until the soil temperature has climbed to about 50 degrees or so.

Planted in cold soil, even after frost, most tomatoes will just sit and wait. This will permanently stunt your plants and will not result in an earlier harvest. For best results, check your soil temperature and delay planting out until your soil warms.

If you must jump the gun, choose a tomato variety that will grow and bloom in cooler temperatures. There are several, so check the online seed catalogs.

Gurney's Seed and Nursery
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