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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 December 30, 2017   #1
Heyyou
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Default Scattering seeds vice cells

Has anyone germinated tomato seeds by scattering in pans of soil instead of planting in cells? If yes how did it work out and would you do it again? What advantages and disadvantages did you observe?

Thanks everyone!
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Old December 30, 2017   #2
mikemansker
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I think you could do it in pans and the germination would probably be OK, but planting in cells is better on tender roots when they need to be transplanted into larger cells/pots. Trying to remove the plants from the pan for transplanting would yield more casualties IMHO.
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Old December 30, 2017   #3
rhines81
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It will certainly work, but if doing that I would not 'scatter' the seed but plant them in organized rows spaced far enough apart so as not to disturb other plants or unsprouted seeds when removing the germinated plants to a larger container. Depending how many seeds and the depth and size of the tray would determine how long they could stay in the tray. To remove the seedlings, grip the stem and use a spoon to scoop the soil and roots underneath.

I'm happy just germinating with damp coffee filters, no soil a very little space needed. You can find more info on here on germination and growing methods if you spend a little time and search the forum.
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Old December 30, 2017   #4
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In the past we used to sow seeds into wooden flats. All seeds, including tomatoes were done that way in the days before the separate plastic cell paks were used. When transplanting we would scoop out a handful, place it on its side so seedlings were lying sideways and gently take the stem of one seedling after another to plant in its own hole in whatever size pak or pot it was going into. We transplanted the tomatoes into 4" pots where they grew nice roots before being planted in the greenhouse to produce fruit.
Yes, roots were lost during the 1st transplant but that didn't seem to make much difference to anything we transplanted that way in the spring season. All was watered in with whatever feed we were using at the time.
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Old December 30, 2017   #5
chiefbeaz
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Check out nctomatoman's article on dence planting. It is in the starting seed forum. You can plant a bunch of seeds together in any type container and transplant them without any problem. I have been doing it for years. He had a good video on how to do it from the sowing of seed all the way through transplanting.
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Old December 30, 2017   #6
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Here is a link to his video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoYgX3y5ptQ
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Old December 30, 2017   #7
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I prefer to throw seeds into deli and yogurt containers with holes drilled in the bottom, then pot up the strongest seedlings into 4" nursery pots. To me, it seems easier than cell trays. I can gauge how much water is in each container by weighing it in my hand. When I tried using cell trays, I could never figure out how much water was in each cell... Killed a lot of seedlings that way.
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Old December 31, 2017   #8
carolyn137
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At home when I was a kid my father would spend the winter in one of the open sheds and make wooden boxes with his band saw, then take them to the top greenhouse and then sow them with tomato seed. At that time what I call dirt was stored under where you walked in and the boxes were filled with that dirt.

The furnace in there was one that burnt coal. And yes,he had problems b/c back then no one knew what damping off was all about. The first ones seeded were to plant out at the earliest date possible. The ones to go out later were sown by a drill in rows outside and we'd have to sit there and separate them , get the weeds out and pack them in bushel baskets and cover them with wet bags and then take them out to where the plant setter was, keep them in the shade and fill our trays in front of us as my dad pulled us along with a tractor. Sometimes we would get behind and have to yell for him to slowdown..

When I first started sowing my own seeds I used those 8 X 8 inch green permanest pans that I got from Harris Seeds.Five rows ,and inch between rows and 5 varieies to the row, and I did NOT use dirt. As many of those as I needed and I still have some of them that are now many decades old.

I graduated from that to using professional inserts that had 20 rows,about 5 varieties for each row but sometimes less depending on which variety.

And many trays since at that time I was still taking trays up here where I am now, down to Charlies greenhouses where I'd transplant them into plastic 6 paks, I had to buy the 6 paks
but he let me use his mix since he was commercial and had 24 greenhouses..Yes greenhouse #17 in front of that huge exhaust fan.

And if I got 5-6 up for a variety I'd thin them out to the best 3, but just riffling the mix allowed for others to come up that went too deeply initially when watering them in.

I had moved two light stands here and at first all was OK but when I fell and severed all 4 quads in my right leg that put me into this walker, I challenge any of you to move trays under the lights while using a walker.

What I do now is to give the seeds I want grown Rob,a local person,he was also a Tville member here for many years, so he raises my plants for me,I like them to be about 4-6 inches tall to have Freda set them out for me, but sometimes what Rob brought was much taller than that.

And he always brought extras and then I had to find forever homes for them and usually did. I almost forgot to say that this worked out for him as well since I always gave him extra seeds and he sold them on a trailer at he bottom of the road selfserve put your money in that jar there kinda thing. Rob had a permanent job elsewhere selling all kinds of lawmowers and tractors to schools and golf courses,etc.

This past summer it was almost a total wipeout here but still
had lots of extra plants but Dave, one of my USPS persons came up here twice with boxes and took them home with him and then would bring fruits up here for me.

I did try Craig's dense sowing method, but it just didn't work out for me.

To each their own ,meaning try several methods and see what works best for your conditions depending on how many plants you expect to put out, how much room and so many other nasty variables and don't be discouraged if at first you don't succeed.

Carolyn,who once again has probably posted too much,and so what anyway since she does like her tomatoes and it allows her to think back re some excellent memories of times gone by.
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Old January 1, 2018   #9
Heyyou
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Great comments all. Thank you.
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