Free photo gray glitch effect patterned backgroundFor those who peruse a seed catalog, especially one geared toward heirloom vegetables, you’ll rapidly notice that the selection of tomato transplants in nurseries pales compared to the variety of seed that can be found. Names like ‘Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato’ and ‘Missouri Pink Love Apple Tomato’ have been ascribed to varieties whose taste and look are as eclectic and unexpected as their names suggest. Growing from seed gives you the chance to experiment with some of these more unusual varieties. Growing tomatoes from seed isn’t hard, but there are some things to be aware of. As with all issues agrarian, timing, genetics and environment have to be in alignment to reap the rewards of your efforts. Tomato seeds are almost always began indoors – whether or not in a greenhouse or a sunny window ledge – and then transplanted to beds as soon as they have no less than a number of leaves and a longtime root system. Starting seeds indoors is optional with many vegetables, but tomato seeds want a relentless soil temperature of a minimum of 60 degrees, and ideally 80 degrees, to germinate.

In temperate climates, it could also be midsummer earlier than the soil will get that heat, and by then it’s too late for tomatoes to develop and mature earlier than the top of the growing season. Tomato seeds are sometimes started “six to eight weeks before the common date of last frost,” because the seed packets so ubiquitously state. Tomatoes originate deep in the tropics temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit are their death knell. And because they take three months or so to provide ripe fruit, most gardeners need to get the method began early. So how have you learnt when your common date of final frost is? Up to now, you may need consulted the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Today there are lots of websites that can inform you, together with Modern Farmer’s personal quick and handy frost chart. To give you an concept of the range: in Savannah, Georgia, it’s March 1 in Bozeman, Montana, it’s May 26. Find yours, subtract six to eight weeks and plant your tomato seeds.

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