How to sow seeds

Sowing tomatoes is not a precise science, but for gardeners in temperate regions, it's best to start them 6-8 weeks before the usual date of the last frosts, to give them a long growing season.

Sowing seed too early can result in lanky seedlings, if there is insufficient light early in the season. How much seed you sow depends on how many plants you need. If you need just a few plants, sow up to three seeds in a 3-4in (7.5-10cm) pot. For larger quantities, sow seeds in individual cell packs or seed trays. It is best to use a specifically designed soil mix, because a final potting mix may have too high a level of nutrients, which can actually inhibit germination. Seeds usually germinate after about five days at 64-73°F (18-24°C), but some older varieties may take 2-3 weeks. Make sure that the soil mix does not dry out during this time by covering the container with a plastic bag or placing it in a heated propagator with a lid.

SOWING TOMATO SEEDS INDOORS - sow early for a longer season

Fill a clean container with soil mix so that it is slightly overfull. Level the surface by drawing a piece of wood across the rim.

Lightly firm the mix with a block of wood or the back of your hand to create an even sowing surface.

Fill a clean container with soil mix so that it is slightly overfull. Level the surface by drawing a piece of wood across the rim.

Lightly firm the mix with a block of wood or the back of your hand to create an even sowing surface.

5 Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil mix, firm, and label. Position in a warm place, such as a windowsill or heated propagator.

6 Once germination begins, remove cover, if used, to decrease humidity and grow the seedlings at 61-68°F (16-20°C).

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