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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old March 8, 2017   #16
ginger2778
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When the top of the soil is looking not wet, it has a lighter color. Always water so the leaves don't get wet, bottom watering is safest, but a carefully aimed spray bottle mist that just hits the soil and not the leaves may be used to do a small top watering. You can also feel the soil, insert your pinky finger to about half a fingernail depth, if it feels dry, then water, if moist leave it alone. Do not overwater, they will get starved of nutrients and you will get yellow leaves.
I find when they are tiny it can be 4-5 days between waterings, and daily when they are just about ready for final transplant.
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Old March 8, 2017   #17
brownrexx
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I am not being critical here but I have always wondered why people want to germinate their seeds in paper towels instead of soil.

I have only ever started seeds in pots of seed starting mix and tomatoes germinate in just a few days so why would I want to transplant them from a paper towel when they could be in the soil already? I don't get it.
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Old March 8, 2017   #18
dmforcier
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Because we're nosey. We want to see what's going on under the covers.

Plus it's usually easier to apply heat to a small baggie than to an entire starter flat.
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Old March 8, 2017   #19
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Quote:
some genotypes (or varieties) require dark for germination to occur.
http://www.kdcomm.net/~tomato/Tomato/start.html

Which varieties would they be referring to?
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Old March 8, 2017   #20
ARgardener
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownrexx View Post
I am not being critical here but I have always wondered why people want to germinate their seeds in paper towels instead of soil.

I have only ever started seeds in pots of seed starting mix and tomatoes germinate in just a few days so why would I want to transplant them from a paper towel when they could be in the soil already? I don't get it.
As mentioned before, heat. I refuse to buy an expensive seed mat (I'd need 2 to fit my trays), and with the baggies, I can get all of my seeds on top of the hot water heater.

Saves time, too. By the time you realize something is up with seeds in the traditional method, you've lost much more time. With the baggies, I know what's going on.

It's faster too. I had over 30 eggplant sprouts in 3 days.
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Old March 8, 2017   #21
brownrexx
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I guess that I am small time compared to many of you. I only start 2 flats of seeds and my heat mat was about $15 on e-Bay so I thought that it was quite reasonable. I only have one but should have probably bought 2 of them.

I only use it for the peppers and eggplants. The tomatoes come up pretty quickly without it but I am starting them in my warm sunroom which is about 70 degrees.

I love seeing them pop up out of the soil. It wouldn't be as much fun for me to use a paper towel method although I have used that method to check germination rates on packs of older seeds of things like corn or peas.
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Old March 8, 2017   #22
rhines81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownrexx View Post
I love seeing them pop up out of the soil.
Just imagine, if they germinate in the paper towel/coffee filter .. you'd be guaranteed with almost certainty, that each germinated seed would pop back out of the soil with cotyledons popping ... same thing, only you know what you are filling your cup/pot with is good.

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Originally Posted by ARgardener View Post
When do I need to water these itty bitty things? How to tell and how to water (top or bottom)?
When the small cups/pots are almost weightless ... water a seedling, feel the weight of the container you will know what a moist pot feels like when you lift it. The frequency really depends on the evaporation rate (low humidity) where you grow. This year, I water 2-3 times a week (19-22% RH). Other years my house has been 40-50% RH while growing and watering once a week was enough.
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Old March 9, 2017   #23
ARgardener
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How long until these lil puppies break the surface after being put in the soil? I've got tomatoes popping up, but the peppers and eggplants are still silent.
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Old March 9, 2017   #24
ginger2778
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Just a few days. Varies with variety and temp.
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Old March 9, 2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownrexx View Post
I guess that I am small time compared to many of you. I only start 2 flats of seeds and my heat mat was about $15 on e-Bay so I thought that it was quite reasonable. I only have one but should have probably bought 2 of them.
I only use it for the peppers and eggplants. The tomatoes come up pretty quickly without it but I am starting them in my warm sunroom which is about 70 degrees.

I love seeing them pop up out of the soil. It wouldn't be as much fun for me to use a paper towel method although I have used that method to check germination rates on packs of older seeds of things like corn or peas.

I also enjoy watching them come up, unfurl and shed their seed coats naturally. But
To each their own and I have used pregermination sometimes. Typically not for regular tomato seeds though. I think that germination under and then growth up through soil is a more natural way for a seed to start out. When possible, I think it is very good practice to sow extra seeds, at least double the number of plants you actually want and then select the best and most vigorous seedlings right from emergence. pre germinating can allow weak or otherwise abnormal seedlings to grow that would not have made it out of the potting mix. Personally, I do not really want a plant from a seed that has trouble germinating in normal conditions unless that seed is very special or rare or expensive. Some tomatoes are but most I grow are not and I usually have enough seed to oversow and select the best. In particular, I waaay oversow and select only the most vigorous sprouts from my breeding projects

Last edited by KarenO; March 9, 2017 at 03:39 PM.
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Old March 9, 2017   #26
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It's nice to sow extra in case you have a mule plant too. It helps save some time you can't get back if the season is soon to start.
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Old March 28, 2017   #27
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Once you have them sprout in the paper towel or filter,how much of the sprouted seed gets buried?Do completely cover it up with soil and how deep?Thinking of trying tomato seeds this way. Have pepper seeds in solo cups started last week but it's to soon to see those come up.
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Old March 28, 2017   #28
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Originally Posted by cjp1953 View Post
Once you have them sprout in the paper towel or filter,how much of the sprouted seed gets buried?Do completely cover it up with soil and how deep?Thinking of trying tomato seeds this way. Have pepper seeds in solo cups started last week but it's to soon to see those come up.
Soon as it sprouts cover the whole thing lightly. If left for a few days and you begin to see the stem part sprouting, leave that slightly uncovered. That's what I did anyways.

I'd really recommend this for peppers too. I had all of mine sprouted in under a week- most were about 5 days.
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Old March 28, 2017   #29
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Thank you ARgardener,I been wanting to try this for the last 2 years.
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