Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Sowing Tomatoes Early

For outdoor growing, the best time to sow tomato seed is around two months before your estimated last frost date. So if the LFD date is the middle of May, you would sow around the middle of March.

However, is it possible, with a little extra TLC to sow earlier in order to get an early crop of tomatoes.

There are two problems that have to be worked around or overcome if you want to sow early:

  • Low Temperatures 
  • Low Light Levels

Low temperatures may cause fungal disease - especially if plants receive too much water.
The other problem is that at low temperatures plant roots are unable to absorb the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

Low light also contributes to poor growth. Solar energy is turned into chemical energy and plants create glucose, their main source of fuel, through photosynthesis - and that requires light. As a result, plants often become "leggy" because of their search for more light.

The Solutions

Artificial light and artificial heat and quite a lot of extra work!

I have found that growing bush varieties that won't become too leggy and keeping them in a cool (but not cold) area in as much light as possible, is a solution. You could also use a grow light to extend the daylight hours in the late winter and early spring.

In my next post I will let you know how the seedlings that I found growing in November in a large pot (they had self seeded from last season's plants) are doing.

No comments: