As soon as the earth is warm to the touch and the sun is smiling down, we know that spring has truly arrived. And with spring, thoughts turn to the vegetable garden and the excitement of a brand-new season!
If you are a novice when it comes to growing tomatoes or if you'd prefer to skip the seeding step, buy your plants from a greenhouse or garden centre. Choose plants that are 15 to 20 cm high, with stems the diameter of a pencil; they're more likely to succeed and remain healthy.
Grow from seed
If you want to grow organic or if your garden centre doesn't have the variety you're looking for, you should start your plants from seed. No need to panic! It's relatively simple.
- Wait till mid-March to plant your seeds.
- Put 2 to 3 cm of gravel in the bottom of your container so water will not stagnate at the bottom, which will rot the roots.
- Add seeding mix to fill 2/3 of the container, lightly pack, then fill. You can also make your own seeding mix by combining one-part compost, one-part peat moss and one-part vermiculite.
- Plant seeds approximately 0.5 cm deep and spaced 4 cm apart.
- Moisten the earth regularly with a sprayer.
- Cover the seeds with a cover or plastic sheet. Seeds germinate best at warm room temperature, so maintain a room temperature of 18º to 20ºC.
- When sprouts appear, generally after 7 to 10 days, remove the cover or plastic sheet. This will release moisture, which can cause disease, and expose the sprouts to light.
- Two to three weeks later, when your seedlings have 5 or 6 leaves, repot them into larger containers (8 to 10 cm).
- Use a growing mix when you transplant. You can make this yourself by combining two-parts compost, one-part vermiculite and one-part peat moss.
- Plant in earth half way up the plant to encourage the development of a good root system. Add tomato fertilizer.
- Keep in a warm place with plenty of sun exposure and keep the earth moist.