Do you know, more than 35 percent people in America are either growing their own food (vegetables) or getting from community garden. This is what a 2008 study conducted by National Gardening Association says. Am sure it increased now, just check Google trends you’ll find how people all over the world are thinking to grow their own food.
And of these gardeners, 90 percent of them grow tomatoes. This delicious and easy to grow vegetable has extensive use in households.
But, growing your own vegetables in backyards isn’t a cake walk for beginners. First thing first, how many tomato seeds per hole?
Obviously, you but seeds from local garden store, most gardeners try to save these seeds for next harvest. So, they go with one seed in one hole.
But, this isn’t recommended by most gardening experts.
So, a one line answer would be drop 2-3 tomato seeds per hole for good germination rate.
Also Read: Do Tomato Plants Self Pollinate
What is Seed Germination Rate?
Let’s say you’ve 100 seeds, number of sprouts per these 100 seeds is known as germination rate. For instance, if 70 sprouts appear from these 100 seeds, then you’ve 70 percent of germination rate, which is excellent.
However, there are few elements that impact the germination rate of not just tomato but any seed. They are:
Soil quality, container, water, sunlight and temperature.
You can check germination rate of seeds on the package. Prefer the best seeds that can go well within your budget.
How Many Tomato Seeds to Plant per Hole?
To understand the reason behind sowing more than one seed per hole, you must go through seed germination rate.
In simple words, not all seeds you sow in your container germinate. To increase the maximum chances of sprouting, 2-3 tomato seeds per hole are recommended.
Every plant has its own seed germination rate. In case of tomato seeds it’s around 75%. This means that, if you plant 50 tomato seeds in a container, chances are that 13-14 of them will fail to sprout and 37-38 of them will sprout.
However, this germination rate of seed may vary depending on climate, soil, water and light. So, utmost care must be taken to increase the probability of seed sprouting.
If you’re planning a large batch of tomato plants in your backyard, then drop 3 tomato seeds in a hole, else 2 will be enough. This is to decrease the probability of seed failing to sprout.
When tomato seedlings reach up-to 3 inches, transplant them into your backyard. If two sprouts appear from a hole, you can thin them before planting.
Also Read: How Long After Flowering Do Tomatoes Appear?
Container or Backyard: Where to Grow Tomato Seeds?
Depending on the climate, it’s recommended that you initially grow tomato seeds in a container. If you live in colder regions, then place the container with seeds indoors on windowsill to get maximum sunlight.
Make sure the container with tomato seeds is moist all the time and it also as a drain hole to remove excess water.
Once the tomato seedlings grow at least 3 inches tall, you can transplant them into bigger containers or in your backyard. People in coolers parts of the world must cover the plant with polytunnel; else the growth of your tomato plants will be affected.
After transplanting tomato plant to your backyard, support it with a wooden stick alongside the plant or build iron or wooden mesh. This is to avoid end rot on tomatoes.
Also Read: Why Are My Tomato Seedlings Wilting or Dying?
How Deep To Plant Tomato Seeds?
Now, that you know to drop 2-3 seeds in per hole, how much deep the hole should be.
While growing tomato seeds in a container, you must sow the seeds ½ inch deep into the soil. Deeper then this will make difficult for seeds to sprout.
How Often to Water Tomato Seeds?
Initially, along with nutrients seeds need moisture to germinate. But, flooding your container with water will drain the soil nutrients and you can’t expect maximum germination rate.
You just need to moist the soil all time using a sprinkler. May be twice a day is enough.
Start watering in the morning and before evening.
In colder climates, start watering once and increase if you find dryness on the surface of the soil.
Pro Tip: Water slowly and regularly.
Also Read: How Long Can a Tomato Plant Go Without Water?
Soil Mix for Tomato Seeds
To avoid any fungal diseases, most gardening experts recommend soilless potting mix recipe that holds moisture but don’t become soggy at the same time.
Mix two parts of coconut fiber or well-rotted leaf mold and one part of perlite. You can substitute sand with perlite. This mixture is great to grow seeds indoors. Once the seedlings are ready to transplant, plant them in your garden with good sunlight exposure.
You can check this guide on potting mix.
Tomato Seed Selection
Seed selection plays vital role in good tomato yield. Maturity, pest and diseases tolerance and abiotic (cold and heat) tolerance are few essential criteria to consider while selecting tomato seeds.
Also Read: How far Apart to Plant Tomatoes in a Raised bed?
How to Save Tomato Seeds for Growing Tomatoes?
Initially, select the tomato variety like cherry or plum. Hybrid tomatoes won’t help in growing tomatoes next year.
Prefer healthy, disease free cultivars and take seeds to dry on a paper towel. These dried tomato seeds can be used for germination next year.
Tips for Growing Tomatoes from Seeds
Without proper care you can’t expect good yield. Below mentioned are few important tips that will help to grow tomato seedlings.
- Seed selection is very important as mentioned above. Dry tomato seeds when moistened will be able to stick with the soil.
- Warm room temperature is ideal for tomato seeds to sprout. Water twice using spray bottle.
- Label the tomato varieties using waterproof market or a utility tape.
- Once the seedlings break the surface and reach 3 inches, transplant them into slightly larger pots. At this point your tomato seedlings need much sunlight, place the pots where you can get maximum sun exposure.
- Gardening experts don’t recommend shifting seedlings directly to large containers; this will overthrow microorganisms in the soil. Gradually shift to slightly large containers and then to backyard if needed.
There are instances where I started planting tomato seeds in the backyard directly. May be because of rich nutrients in the soil, I got good yield of tomatoes. But, if you’re planning to sow tomato seeds in a container, then don’t forget to mix required amount of manure with the soil. Anything less or more, it will damage the growth.