Dave talks with Teri Volante about how to give your tomatoes the best possible start in life.
Tags:how to plant tomatoes,Dave Epstein,growing wisdom,organic seeds,Plant Tomatoes,Teri Volante
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Dave: Hi, I’m Dave Epstein this is Growing Wisdom. I am here with Terry Volante today and we’re in one of your green houses and Terry is going to show us how to and when to start your tomatoes. A lot of you may be doing gardening for the first time. Tell us some things that you’d recommend for that person who’s really starting.
Terry: Let me just say, make sure that you have some sort of container or pot, or some people even start with pit pots or egg cartons, as long as it has ample drainage, it’ll be fine. Then, you want to go to your local nursery and get some nice sterile soil just to make sure that there are no weed seeds or anything that’s in there. Disperse the soil into whatever container you’re using and then go buy seeds and start planting.
Dave: Can I go outside and just draw soil from the ground.
Terry: I wouldn’t recommend it because there might be still weed seeds in there that have not completely died after in the winter depending on where you live. You might not have a cold enough winter to kill everything. So, I would say to definitely start with some fresh soil.
Dave: So, you’ve got some tomatoes here for us right.
Terry: We do. We have some tomato seeds and we have this little gadget that helps us kind of plant them a little bit easier since they’re kind of small. Make a little indentation and then you simply use this to shake the seeds into your indentation, and then you can just simply cover them up.
Dave: And if the seeds are touching, is that okay?
Terry: It’s okay because when they sprout up, you can kind of separate them a little bit. Obviously, you don’t want to put a ton all next to each other. But if a couple of them are touching, it’s not the end of the world.
Dave: How long before home owners can start to see some green coming out of here.
Terry: Generally, about 1 to 2 weeks. It definitely helps if you have a nice warm location with a little bit of sunlight. What I would recommend is putting some sort of a plastic bag over the pot that you’re planting to give it a little bit of humidity. That’ll kind of push it along. You can leave it on there until you start seeing some sprouts.
Dave: So you’ve got some that you guys started a little while ago, right?
Terry: We do, yup. This one is a Roma Tomato, it’s great for sauces. We have a Patio Tomato which is a mid sized tomato plant with a mid sized fruit on it. This is a yellow tomato. Yellow and orange tomatoes are less acidic than the red tomatoes.
Dave: So Terry, when should somebody start this inside.
Terry: About 6 weeks before they want to put them outside. In the cooler areas, you want to really think about hardening them up before you just put them outside. It’s going to be a shock to the plants that they’re in a nice, warm house then you put them out into the cold. So, what I would recommend is maybe like the week before you want to plant them outside, you want to put them outside during the day time, it’s a little bit warmer and they can get a little bit of sun, and then at night, if it gets cooler bring them back inside. In each day—you know, a few days, you want to kind of do this and extend the amount of time that they’re outside until they’re really acclimated and then you can just plant them.
Dave: Well Terry, thank you very much. This was helpful. And if you’re a gardener or if you’ve been gardening for your entire life, remember, starting tomatoes about 6 weeks before you plant them outside. For Growing Wisdom, I’m Dave Epstein.