Tomato Gardening - The Best Way to Grow Tomato Plants

Now is one of the best times of the year to start your tomato plants. Why, well you want to give them the best start to life and tomatoes need a long growing season to produce a good crop. I can hear you saying, it is too cold or too wet to start my tomato plants in the ground. Yes, I agree for the Northern hemisphere but you need to start your plants off in very early spring to be sure that they are good croppers. This applies in both the North and South. It is just that Spring happens at different times in the year in different parts of the world.

You need to judge when to start your tomato plants and mine go in during January. These will be potted on into larger pots and eventually put into the growing area of a greenhouse in May. This is giving me about 4 months of growing before they go into their final planting position and I would expect to start cropping my harvest sometime during July, probably towards the beginning of July. I will also be able to keep these cropping until late October and this is a growing period of nearly 10 months.


First of all you need to identify the best seed for what you want to produce and there are many different types of tomatoes to choose from. The seed type will also affect when and where to plant your seeds.

There are 2 main types of tomatoes to choose from and these are indoor or outdoor tomatoes or a type which will grow indoors or outdoors. I grow both but start these off at different times of the year. You also need to look at whether to grow small, medium or large tomatoes. Small tomatoes are often known as cherry tomatoes and bushes are often weighed down with the number of tomatoes growing on their vines. I tend to grow these outside in my high density garden and there is nothing I like better than just eating one when out gardening. The other types of tomatoes are medium and large tomatoes. The large tomatoes are often called beefsteak and are great sliced on sandwiches.

So how best to grow them? Well I start these off in flats. As I do not need many tomato plants at as time, I use a quarter size flat, (or seed tray), and I fill these with a multi purpose compost. There are specialist seed composts, soil based composts and peat free composts. We should use peat free composts and for most things I do, but for sowing seeds I find a peat based compost is best. Press the compost down a little but not too much so it becomes hard and the seedling roots will develop better in a looser soil than a harder one. Once I have done this I sow the seeds on the surface of the compost. As I only need 6 of each type for the greenhouse I sow 10 seeds in 2 rows of five in a quarter size flat. Once I have done this I cover them with a thin layer of vermiculite. This is a useful product to cover seeds with as it is lightweight but retains moisture. Finally water the flat. I do this by placing the flat in small container of water and let the compost absorb the water. You can tell it has absorbed the water as the color of the vermiculite changes.

You then need to place the flat somewhere warm. I usually use a windowsill and put the flat inside another flat with a plastic cover over it to make a mini greenhouse. I often use a heat pad underneath this just to start things off and give the seeds the ideal conditions to germinate. As soon as there is any sign of germination remove them from the heat and grow on until large enough to pot into 3 inch pots.

I find that by starting my tomato seeds now, I get a better crop earlier in the year, and just as important, a heavier crop later on.

You can learn more about growing tomatoes by checking out The Tomato Growing Experts web site.

Tomato Gardening - The Best Way to Grow Tomato Plants

Ric Wiley is an internet writer and gardener. His website about High Density Gardening can be found at and his latest ebook is High Density Gardening.