How to grow tomatoes from seed
Sow your tomato seeds onto damp, fine seed compost. You can sow your tomato seeds as early as February in a heated propagator. Usually the beefsteak varieties are best sown early because they appreciate the extra growing time to swell their impressive fruits in the summer. Sow your tomato seeds outside in an unheated greenhouse in late April and May when temperatures rise.
Alternatively, you can sow tomato seeds on a sunny windowsill indoors. When your seedlings have two true leaves, move them into their own pots to develop. In May, harden off the young plants by moving them outdoors during the day and back under cover at night for two weeks. Make sure you provide sturdy support for your outdoor tomatoes and plant them in the sunniest spot you can to aid ripening.
Sow cherry tomato varieties if you plan to grow your plants outside. They ripen more quickly and easily in the UK’s short summer sun. Choose determinate tomato types if you are growing your plants in containers or outdoors. They stop growing at a certain point making a more compact plant. Indeterminate tomato plants are better grown in a greenhouse where their long stems are easily supported with twine or bamboo and their heavy crops ripen better in the increased warmth.
How long do tomato seeds take to germinate?
If kept at a steady temperature around 20?, expect to see your tomato seeds germinating around two weeks after sowing. Tomatoes are able to germinate from 10? up to 35?, but will have a better overall germination rate if kept at a steady room temperature. Make sure you keep your seeds moist and move them into a bright, sunny spot as soon as you see shoots appearing.
Can I plant tomato seeds straight into the ground?
You can sow your tomato seeds straight into the ground but they will only germinate when day and night temperatures reliably rise above 10? in May. You may see better germination results if you warm the soil using black plastic before sowing or during germination with a cloche over the seeds. Tomato seeds take roughly 10 weeks after sowing to produce fruit.