If you have grown your own tomatoes before or tasted a home-grown tomato cultivated by someone else you probably know how much better it tastes from the bland ones found at stores. A tomato grown in and harvested from your own garden is a sweet, delicious reward that will never let you go back to the ones available in the market.
Cultivating tomatoes at home is an extremely easy task and there are many ways to go about it. You don’t need huge garden space, expensive seed varieties, or expensive fertilizers to grow a good batch of these sweet-tasting delights. They are so low-maintenance that you can even grow tomatoes from tomatoes in your fridge! You read that right. Want to know how? Read on to find out!
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Tomatoes: Nutrients and Growing
Natives to South America, tomatoes are as rich in vitamins and nutrients as they are in flavor. They are a rich source of various vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, folate, magnesium, potassium, choline, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. These delicious fruits (Didn’t know tomatoes were fruits? Never mind, now you do!) are good for your skin, bones, and brain development and also aid in cancer prevention.
Tomatoes are extremely useful in the kitchen, adding a flare of flavors to your curries, soups, salsas, chutneys, and other dishes. You can enjoy them in salads or even eat them up raw just as they are. Imagine growing such a valuable fruit in your backyard garden! No wonder tomatoes are extremely popular among home gardeners.
Tomato plants are lovers of direct sunlight and do best when allowed generous amounts of time in direct, bright light. Overwatering is dangerous for the health of these plants. They do well in all kinds of soil though sandy loams are exceptionally suited for tomato cultivation. It is always best to grow your tomatoes organically at home.
While some gardeners prefer buying their tomato transplants from a nursery, some others prefer to grow them from seeds at home. Though you can find a large variety of seeds from the local grocery stores near your house, you also have another extremely economic option.
In case you do not find your preferred variety of seed from the grocery stores or are a little short on your garden budget this season, you can just use the overripe tomatoes kept in your fridge, which would otherwise go waste.
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Growing Tomatoes from Fresh Tomatoes: What is Tomato Slice Propagation?
A very useful and economic way of cultivating tomatoes is using overripe tomatoes from your household to cultivate new plants. This process involves growing tomatoes from tomato slices.
Tomatoes are first to cut up in slices after which the slices are planted into the soil, and the seeds contained in the sliced fruits germinate into new plants. This process is called Tomato Slice Propagation.
Tomato plants can easily be grown from seeds. And where are these seeds contained? Inside the fruits, where else! So your overripe tomatoes, that you thought you have no use for, are actually an inexpensive source of healthy tomato seeds for you.
This process is extremely easy, cost-effective, and beneficial. Apart from saving you from the hassle of going to a store to choose the perfect variety of seeds, and saving your hard-earned money, this process also results in the cultivation of extremely healthy and completely organic tomatoes that are a reservoir of health benefits for you.
Much richer in taste, these tomatoes have a higher level of antioxidants owing to a higher level of lycopene. Though tomatoes grown in this method are smaller in size compared to the tomatoes you find in the market, these are much richer in flavor and are much better to taste.
These tomatoes have also been found to contain over 55% more vitamin C and around 139% higher phenol content. These are therefore more useful in the prevention of cancer and reduction of stroke risks.
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Requirements for Tomato Slice Propagation
The most important benefit of planting tomatoes from tomatoes is that it is extremely easy and cost-effective. Not much is required to go about this method. A few very easily available and handy things are all you’re going to need which you’re probably going to have anyway if you are into gardening. The requirements are:
- Tomatoes: To cut slices from, you will need two to three tomatoes that are ripe and have been harvested on time. Make sure these tomatoes are free from a pest infestation, diseases, or are not rotten as in these cases the seed may not germinate properly.
It is always advisable to cut slices from healthy tomatoes. Both ripe and overripe tomatoes work fine. You can also use any variety of tomatoes such as cherry, beefsteaks, or romas tomatoes.
- A container to grow the seeds: Choose a fairly large container to grow to the seeds as the slices will have to be placed at some distance to facilitate healthy germination of the seeds. A small container that causes overcrowding may be detrimental to the health of your seeds and seedlings.
- A container to grow the plants in After your seeds have germinated you will need to thin them out and transplant them elsewhere. You can either use a different container or even plant the seedlings on the ground.
- Soil: You will also need some healthy, nutritious potting soil for the cultivation of the seeds. The soil can be of any variety as tomato plants are not very picky regarding the soil they are grown in, but sandy loams and alluvial soils suit them best.
Be sure to add some organic fertilizer or manure to your potting soil to make it more fertile and suitable for the growth of the plants.
How to Germinate Tomato Seeds from Fresh Tomatoes?
Now that you have learned the basics of tomato slice propagation, let us discuss how to practice propagation of tomatoes through tomato slices.This is a fairly easy process and does not involve a lot of labour.
If you have never done this before and are looking for ways to start this practice, you have come to the right place. Down below we have made a list of what you need to do step by step, in detail.
Step 1: Slice up the tomatoes
The first step to take while growing tomatoes in this method is to slice up the tomatoes you have chosen to use for this process. You can make use of this opportunity to use tomatoes of your favorite variety and grow more of them. Make sure you use a very ripe tomato, as the more mature the fruits are, the more mature the seeds.
Without human beings intervening, the tomato plant would just drop its fruit after it has ripened enough, and from the seeds inside it, a new plant would germinate. Therefore be sure to use as ripe a fruit as you can. That being said, it is also advisable to avoid rotten fruit as that would do you no good.
Slice up the tomatoes to be used neatly using a sharp knife. The number of tomatoes you need to slice up depends on how large the area you are finally going to cultivate them in, is. Even if you need a large number of tomato plants, do not be tempted to use too many tomatoes, as you will be surprised at the number of seedlings you get from as little as two tomatoes.
Make the slices about a quarter of an inch thick. Too thick slices can get in the way of the seeds’ reaching the soil and thereby hamper their growth. One medium tomato should therefore give you about 4 to 5 slices.
You might not be able to find the seeds out as they are mostly hidden in the pulp and therefore may not be visible to the plain eye, but do not fret. Your seeds are right there.
Step 2: Preparing the container
Always pre-prep the container before you put in the slices, as that makes it easier for the seeds to germinate. The choice of the pot or container depends upon the number of plants you want to get.
Unless you’re planning on obtaining a huge number of seedlings, a small to the medium-sized container shall serve the purpose.
Make sure your pot is well-drained. Water logging can be extremely detrimental to the health of the seeds as excess water may lead to rotting. If your plant is not well-drained, you can also make a hole at the bottom to facilitate drainage.
Prepare this pot or container by putting in potting soil. Make sure this soil contains enough manure and organic matter and is fertile enough for the development of your seeds.
Fill it in with soil, leaving at least 2 to 3 centimetres from the top for the tomato slices and some more soil and add sufficient water to it. Your container is now ready for the slices to be introduced.
Step 3: Putting in the slices
After you have prepared the container, it is time to introduce your slices into the soil. For this purpose take the slices and put them on the soil in the pot. Take care to plant them at a little distance from each other to facilitate healthy growth.
Step 4: Covering the slices with soil
Cover the slices you planted with about a centimeter thick soil, making sure they are completely covered and cannot be exposed to the environment. Water these nicely and set them up in a dry, shady place protected from the direct sun.
Step 5: Germination and growth of the seedlings
After planting you need to leave the container undisturbed in the same place for quite some time. This doesn’t mean you leave them just as they are and forget about them. Instead, keep a vigilant eye on the development of the seedlings.
After 10 to 12 days you will notice little seedlings have emerged from the slices you planted. Keep watering them and do not move the container from its place.
At this stage, these seedlings are prone to a number of diseases and infections and need proper care. Look out for fungal, bacterial, or other infections and pest infestations and take necessary steps to keep them at bay, immediately.
Step 5: Preparation for Transplantation
After your plants have grown a little, you need to prepare another container or the ground for transplantation. For this, choose the strongest and best growing seedlings and remove them out of the container gently. Take care not to damage them in the process.
If you are going to grow your tomatoes on the ground, water the soil and dig it up to make room for the plant. Plant it at a place where it can get at least about 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily, taking care to water them regularly. If possible add some organic manure to the soil to make it more fertile.
If you are planning to plant your tomatoes in a container, you have to take a little extra care to prepare the container. Be sure to choose a fairly large container that is well-drained.
Do not plant more than 2 plants in the same container. Choose a tall container and keep filling it with soil as your plants grow, starting from the bottom. This way the roots grow stronger and the fruits become healthier and more nutritious.
Be sure to add manure to the soil in the container, as in a container your plant depends totally upon you for its nourishment. Tomato plants are heavy eaters and do not do well in case they are not nourished well.
After transplanting them, all you need to do is take care of your plants and wait for your own, completely organic, home grown ripe tomatoes, which shall appear anytime between 50 to 90 days depending upon the variety you have grown. The taste of these tomatoes is sure to bring you a plethora of joy and delight. I hope now you got to know how to grow tomatoes from tomatoes? Please share your thoughts in comments.