Guide to Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors

Welcome to our in-depth guide! Cultivating tomatoes from seeds indoors provides an exciting head start on the gardening season. Follow our comprehensive steps, and you'll be rewarded with luscious tomatoes throughout the summer and even into fall.

Baskets of Green Tiger Tomatoes

Pictured: Green Tiger Tomato (Click for seeds)

🌱 Why Start Indoors?

In colder climates, kickstarting your tomatoes indoors extends your growing season. This means a hearty two-month tomato feast before fall frost hits.

🌟 Seed Starting Essentials

  • Soil: Our top pick is Vermont Compost's Fort Vee or Fort Light soil products. New to this? Grab a seed starting kit.

  • Temperature: Tomatoes are a tad picky with a preference for 65°F to 90°F. The sweet spot? A cozy 80°F to 86°F. A seed heating mat can be a game-changer here.

  • Container: Keep it simple. Ensure it has a drainage hole at the bottom.

Carbon Tomato sliced on a table

Pictured: Carbon Tomato (Click for seeds)

🌼 Seed Sowing Steps

  1. Timing: For those in USDA growing Zone 5, mark April 1st on your calendars.

  2. Planting Depth: A mere 1/4 inch will do.

  3. Labeling: Jot down the tomato variant and the sowing date for each container.

  4. Moisture: Like Goldilocks, not too much, not too little - just right until they sprout.

  5. Post-Germination: Once they peek out, whisk them away from the heating mat and choose the most robust seedling from each group.

💡 Illuminating Tips for Seedlings

  • The Light Factor: Tomatoes are forgiving and can make do with that sunny spot by your window. For those aiming for gold, 16 hours of light from a reliable source like T5 fluorescent or High-Pressure Sodium works wonders.

  • Heat Check: Steer clear of placing the bulbs too near. A timer ensures they get their daily light fix. Also, a gentle fan oscillating between the plants and light ensures a breezy environment.

Our Super Snacks Tomato Mix in a carton

Pictured: Super Snacks Tomato Mix (Click for seeds)

🌡️ Temperature & Watering Woes

  • The Cozy Spot: Ensure a comfy temperature range between 65°F to 75°F. Those using lights, watch out for extra heat.

  • Water Wisdom: Keep the soil moist but not drenched to avoid the dreaded root rot.

🥤 Fertilizing Fundamentals

  • Soil Dynamics: If you've opted for compost-infused soil, skip the fertilizers. For the others, a weekly dose of fish/seaweed liquid fertilizer does the trick.

🌤️ Transitioning Outdoors (Hardening Off)

  • Nature's Intro: Start with a brief 2-hour sunbath, then retreat them indoors. Increase their outdoor stay by 1.5 hours daily until they're ready for 24/7 outdoor living.

Isbell's Golden Colossal Tomatoes sliced on a plate

Pictured: Isbell's Golden Colossal Tomato (Click for seeds)

🌿 Planting Protocol

  1. Spot Selection: Sun-soaked locations with organic compost-rich soil are prime.

  2. Spacing: Leave 1.5 to 2 feet breathing space between plants.

  3. Depth: Go deep. Submerge the stems, leaving a hint of stem and leaves peeking out.

  4. Labels: For the meticulous gardener, label each plant with its variant.

  5. Watering Ritual: A thorough watering focusing on the root area ensures a smooth transition.

  6. Journaling: Document your green journey - date, tomato type, quantity, and planting spots.

🌼 Happy Gardening! Look forward to the mouthwatering tomatoes coming your way soon. 🍅

Download a PDF of this guide HERE.