Start Your Own Tomatoes
Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Now’s the time to start getting ready for this year’s tomato harvest today on Southern Gardening.
I’m getting questions about the vegetable garden and gardeners wanting to start their own transplants. Growing your own transplants takes a little planning, but the benefits are worth the effort. I think the best reason is you get to grow the varieties you want, not just what’s available at the garden center. Transplants also mature faster and produce faster which is good as tomatoes need to flower and set fruit before the heat of our Mississippi summers sets in. Now is a good time to start your own tomato transplants since it will be several weeks before we get to the last frost free date and the garden centers all have all the supplies you’ll need. A good way to start is with a cell tray and clear dome kit. Fill the cell tray with a good thoroughly moist peat-based germination mix. Place a couple of seeds into each cell as not all seeds will germinate. Water the seeds in and cover with the clear dome. Voila, you have a mini greenhouse. Place in a bright sunny window or under fluorescent lights. Once the seeds start to germinate remove the cover and keep the potting mix consistently moist. On nice days take the seedlings outside in bright light not direct sunshine. In about 6 weeks the tomato transplants will be ready to set out in the garden or large container.
Until next time, I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman enjoying our Southern Gardening.