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[Tomato Dirt #222] When Should I Start Tomato Seeds?
February 04, 2021

Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Volume 11, Number 3

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

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

A Seed Starting Kit for Every Type of Gardener

Deep-root growing kits … quick start seed kits … special potting mixes...

Yep, there's a kit for that’s just right for you and what you want to grow. See for yourself.

We love how you can get replacement parts for seed starting trays, too. Our good friends at Gardener's Supply have all kinds of seed starting gear and will answer your questions, too.

Tomato Dirt is on Pinterest

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Join us on Pinterest! Browse our 100+ boards (and growing) for all kinds of tomato inspiration and practical information: growing tomatoes, tomato seeds, cold frames for tomatoes, tomato books, tomato greenhouses, , indoor tomatoes – even crafts to do with a tomato theme. Happy pinning!

FEATURE: When Should I Start Tomato Seeds?

Image: USDA

Is it spring yet? Almost!

The most dangerous diseases that will impact your tomato crop have nothing to do with the plants themselves, but with you: cabin fever and itchy gardening fingers.

Start your seeds too early and your plants will outgrow their pots quickly and become leggy, root-bound, and weak. They’ll spend their first weeks in the garden regaining strength, rather than producing new leaf growth and flowers.

But start them too late and (horrors!) you could have a delayed crop.

While tomato seed starting is not a one-size-fits-all, there’s a two-step foolproof way to know when to start your tomato seeds.

  1. Determine the last frost date for your region. If you’re not sure, contact your local extension office. You can also view the freeze/frost information provided by the National Climatic Data Center. Select your state from the drop-down list. On the opened chart, choose the city closest to you. You’ll see the average last frost dates for spring (and first frost for fall) dates – among plenty of other data. 

  2. Count back 4-6 weeks from the last frost date for your region. Start your seeds during this window of opportunity.

By showing a tiny bit of discipline – and sticking with this formula – you will be rewarded with healthy, sturdy tomato plants that are ready to set in the garden a week or two after your last frost date has passed.

Check this tomato seed starting timetable for detailed information and then find out more about how to grow tomatoes from seeds to get yourself ready for the new growing season. And be sure to check out our Starting Tomato Seeds board on Pinterest for more fun and inspiring ideas.

Best Tips for Growing Tomatoes: Bestseller in 89 Countries

THE tomato-growing Bible and best-seller in 89 countries: How to Grow Juicy Tomatoes. Two horticulturalists combine forces to give you advice about the right way to prune, fertilize, water and stake tomatoes.

You’ll be able to diagnose pest and disease problems using step by step priceless information, illustrated with 260 full color photos.

Get the book and you’ll also get 6 free bonuses, including the Family Tomato Cookbook and a database of 1300 varieties of tomatoes. More details here.Tomato Growing Book

FREE Kitchen Gardener Planner for Tomato Dirt Readers!

Our friends at Gardener’s Supply offer this FREE Kitchen Garden Plannericon so you can use square-foot gardening techniques to create your own super-productive veggie garden, no matter how much or how little space you have. Customize a pre-planned garden or create your own using their cool online tools! Check it out here.

Tomato Growing Tip: 3 Best Places to Find Tomato Seeds and Tomato Plants

Image: Tomato Dirt

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

Some of Our Seed Starting Favorites

Go green – start seedlings with biodegradable cowpots2- and 3-Tier grow light systems for starting seeds Seed starter kits makes it easy!

More Tips for Starting Tomato Seeds

Tomato Seed Starting: the Basics You Need to KnowWhat Containers Should I Use for Staring Tomato Seeds?What Potting Mix to Use for Starting Tomato SeedsTomato Grow Lights Explained

That’s it for now. More next time.

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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