Learn more about tomatoes in time for planting season. Know how to preserve and extract seeds and how to plant fully grown seedlings!
All About Tomatoes: Your Spring Growing Guide | Homesteading Tips
It’s that time of year again! Spring is here, and tiny leaves on the trees start to reappear…which tells me—“I’ve gotta plant some tomato seeds!” All my table tops are covered in tomato seedlings, all jars and cans are cut in half for planting seeds, and bulk orders of soil have been ordered.
Last summer, I preserved twenty two packs of tomato seeds from my garden—cherry tomatoes, black krim tomatoes, Brandywine, and the list goes on and on. I strongly suggest that you plant seeds from your garden last year than seeds from a shop. The reason why is because seed-selling companies sometimes bend the truth. You see, in Canada, “Organic” means a minimum of 83% organic fertilizer, pesticides, etc. and the other 17% doesn’t have to be organic. So you may think that you’re buying organic seeds, but actually they are just 83% organic.
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Another plus is the seeds you’re going replant are already used to your soil and climate. They worked well once in your garden, so they’ll work again!
Seeds that are passed down from generation to generation are known as heirloom seeds. Learn more about heirloom seeds here.
How to Preserve and Extract Tomato Seeds
Preserving tomato seeds is really easy.
Step 1 Cut a tomato in half, and squish out the seeds (some slimy flesh will come out as well, and that’s okay) onto a paper towel.
Step 2 Next, place a second paper towel on top and gently pat.
Step 3 Leave the tomato seeds and paper towel for three days. Do not place your seeds in a sunny location as the seeds may dry out. Over time, the gooey flesh will evaporate, leaving you with ready-to-pack tomato seeds.
Step 4 Pack the seeds in some newspaper, and store in a dark, dry place. Tomato seeds are good for up to five years after packaging.
How to Plant Tomato Seeds
So suppose you have preserved some tomato seeds last summer and want to get planting. Good for you, ’cause March is tomato seeds planting month!
Everybody has their own way of planting tomato seeds, but here’s how I do it:
Step 1 Take a carton and cut the top off so that only four inches is left from the bottom. I then add some soil, into the cut-off bottom of the milk carton, so that the soil reaches to almost the edge, but not quite.
Step 2 After, I use a plastic spoon and dig thin, not very deep (couple of mm) ditches across the soil.
Step 3 Drop your saved tomato seeds into the holes and pinch the soil close over the seeds.
Make sure to water daily, and place in a sunny location such as the windowsill. After about four days, you should begin to see them sprouting. Some people think that they are weeds and pull them out. DO NOT DO THIS! All sprouting plants look like weeds. Before choosing to pull it out, wait a couple of weeks, if the stem is fuzzy then it is a tomato seedling.
Step 4 If your seedlings are a couple inches tall and all of them can’t fit into the milk carton. Now, you have to pull them out carefully by the stem and transplant into a cup. I use those red solo cups. When your tomato seedlings are about seven inches, it’s time to plant them outside! Yay! You should plant them after your last frost, for me, it’s March.
There, you’ve got it! Now you can grow your own tomatoes this summer—yum! Take good care of your tomatoes and they’ll reward you with lots of juicy, fleshy, sweet fruit!
Take the time to do these tips next season to give your soil the nutrients it needs for a flourishing harvest. Keep reading here.
How’s your tomato garden looking so far? Let us know below in the comments!
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