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[Tomato Dirt #140] The Dirt on Seed Starting Mix for Tomatoes: What It's Gotta Have
March 10, 2018

Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Volume 8, Number 5

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

Welcome back to Tomato Dirt! A few times a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with tips about growing tomatoes and using them.

What You Need for Starting Tomato Seeds (and Other Plants, Too)

Potting soil, peat pots, cell trays, grow lights … make sure you have what you need to start seeds for your garden.Take a look at seed starting gear used by gardeners like you!

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FEATURE: The Dirt on Seed Starting Mix for Tomatoes - What It's Gotta Have

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Do you need sterile potting mixes for growing tomatoes? The answer is yes and no.

For starting tomato seeds, you need a sterile mix. Its job is to give your tomato seeds a safe environment so they can sprout, develop their first couple of sets of leaves, and remain disease-free. The seed itself provides the initial food for the plant, so seed starting mix need little (if any) fertilizer to do its job.

A seed starting mix with these ingredients is often labeled as "soil-less." In the truest sense, these ingredients contain no soil or dirt and are considered to be sterile. They are not jam-packed with living organisms.

Meanwhile, garden soil is filled with organic matter and is home to active bacteria and fungi. That means if you grow tomato seeds in garden soil, they're much more susceptible to the dreaded damping-off disease that kills so many seedlings.

When you move seedlings to larger pots - or when you plant tomatoes in containers - the potting mix has a different function. It becomes your tomato plants' home (if you're growing tomatoes in pots) or at least until they go into the garden (for maturing seedlings.) That means the mix needs to provide both a good home plus food. The best potting mix for tomatoes must contain nutrients in order to grow healthy plants.

No matter what brand you choose, seed starting mix has at least 4 characteristics (read more) ...

And check out our Tomato Seedlings board on Pinterest for more helpful tips for growing tomato seedlings.

Best Tips for Growing Tomatoes

The world's number one tomato Bible. Advice on 1300 varieties, soil preparation, pruning; and extensive help with pests and diseases from a leading industry expert to help you have the biggest, tastiest crop ever.

Tomato Growing Book

Tomato Growing Tip: If You MUST Use Garden Soil for Starting Seeds ...

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Get more tips for growing tomatoes on our Tomato Growing Tips Pinterest board.

Some of Our Faves for Growing Tomato Seedlings

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For Peat's sake! Sphagnum peat moss and other soilless ingredients Garden gloves (of all kinds) for digging in the dirt Dig it: garden trowels from Fiskars and others

More Dirt about Soil Mixes

Growing Tomato Plants: How to Make Your Own Potting Mix Growing Tomatoes from Seeds: What Potting Mix Should I Use? Review: Pro-Mix Seed Starting Mix for Tomatoes Review: Coco Coir for Starting and Growing Tomato Seeds

That’s it for now. More next time.

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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