Tomato seeding, repotting  and transplantation

How to reproduce tomatoes?

How to obtain tomato seedlings?

Selected tomato seeds
Selected tomato seeds ready to be sown to obtain tomato seedlings

Although tomatoes can be planted through seedlings purchased directly from nurseries, in many cases the varieties available are not palatable or too expensive for our budget.

Therefore, it may be more convenient to obtain seedlings from seeds obtained in the nursery.

When must tomato seeds be sown?

The sowing of the seeds takes place a couple of months before planting.

  • If sown outdoors, planting is usually done in early June. (They should not be planted outdoors until the night temperature is above 10 ° C)
  • In case of planting in a greenhouse, its planting depends on the type of greenhouse that we have. For greenhouses without heating, the second half of April is usually carried out. For a heated greenhouse, planting can be done during the second half of February

How to obtain tomato seedlings from tomato seeds?

To obtain the seedlings the following method will be followed:

  •  Seeding of the seeds: It is done about two months before planting by means of  trays with compost. You have to follow these method:
    • On the compost of the tray, spread the seeds in a broad way and cover them with a thin veil of compost.
    • Water and, in case of a cold culture, cover with a glass and with sheets of newspaper.
    • A constant humidity should be maintained without waterlogging, so a vaporizer is used to moisten them.
    • The glass should be opened every day and turned over.
    • At the same time humidity and temperature will be controlled, maintaining it at about 18 ºC.
    • In case of sowing them abroad, what is done, as we have said, in the middle of spring, they are usually protected by glass bells.
  •  Pricking out of the seedlings : After about 7 or 10 days the seedlings begin to sprout. Pricking out  is carried out after about 12 days after having planted:
    • The seedlings of the trays are carefully separated and planted in individual 7.5 cm pots, filled with compost.
    • Once planted, water should be irrigated and the humidity should be kept constant with a little abundant but frequent irrigation.

When to transplant tomato plants?

Tomato seedlings
Tomato seedlings obtained from selected seeds. They must be repotted to a new bigger container

The transplant will be carried out when the plants have reached a height of about 15 to 25 and when the first flowers begin to bloom. If they are transplanted outside, care must be taken that the temperature is adequate so that they do not freeze.

Before transplanting the tomato plants outdoors, they must be acclimated so that the change in temperature does not spoil them. To do this, they are taken outdoors while the sun is shining, placing them in a sheltered place and, when night falls, they are placed inside again. This process of acclimatization should last at least a week.

In the case of seedlings grown outdoors in protected boxes, they must also be acclimatized so that they become accustomed to outdoor conditions. Boxes should be opened for a while each day, leaving them open a little more each day until they get used to it. After this period can be transplanted to its final place.

How to transplant tomato plants?

The transplant to its final place is done on a hole a little bigger than the size of the root ball. One must be careful not to damage the roots, following these instructions:

  • The seedling will be placed inside the hole
  • The soil will be tightened around in a compact way compact but not too strong.
  • Later,  it will be abundantly irrigated.
  • It is advisable to maintain a minimum distance between plant and plant and between furrow and furrow of about 45 cm. This distance is what is usually left in industrial productions when trying to achieve maximum profitability.
  • For home production, a greater distance is advised (between 80 and 120 of furrow to furrow and between 40 and 50 between plant and plant)

Crop and harvesting  cycle of tomatoes

The following table shows the characteristics of sowing, transplanting and harvesting the tomatoes according to the crop cycle.

Crop and harvesting  cycle of tomatoes
Extra earlyAutumn beginnings
EarlyMedium fall
MediumWinter beginnings
LateEnd of spring – early summer
Autumn endings (greenhouse)Mid-winter
Mid winter months (protected outdoors)End of spring
 End of winter, beginning of spring, after the season of frostsThroughout summer
End of summerEnd of summer – mid-winter

punto rojo More information on tomato

This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

4 May, 2023

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