Start your tomatoes early

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Having homegrown tomatoes ready for Christmas has long been a traditional aim of keen tomato growers but, if you like growing your tomatoes from seed, you’ll need to get started as soon as possible.

Tomatoes have tropical origins so prefer soil temperatures of at least 20°C for successful germination. In many parts of the country it will still be too cold to sow outdoors but, because tomatoes transplant easily, they can be started inside and grown on to be ready for planting outdoors when conditions are warmer.

Use seed raising mix

It’s worth investing in some Yates Seed Raising Mix for this exercise. Seed raising mix has finer particles than potting mix, and maintains a good balance between holding adequate moisture and draining well.

Almost any container can be used to raise the seeds. Clean, pre-loved seed punnets are ideal, as are small pots. Plastic food containers work well, as long as they’re washed thoroughly before use. Make sure, too, that the container has some drainage holes poked in the base.

Best conditions to grow tomatoes

A warm window sill is a good place to start your tomatoes. Be careful if it gets direct sunlight as, even in winter, the pots could get very hot. A bright spot out of the sun would be better.

Fill the pot with the mix, water and allow to drain. Sow the seeds at the recommended depth, cover gently and water again when they need it. Shallow containers can be watered by sitting them in an outer, water-filled container and allowing the moisture to seep up through the drainage holes. Don’t leave the pot sitting in the water for too long or the seeds will drown.

Varieties of tomatoes

There are lots of tomato varieties to choose from in the Yates seed range:

Move the tomatoes outside as soon as the weather is reliably warm. They love good going so plant into well prepared soil that’s been enriched with Dynamic Lifter, and feed every couple of weeks with Yates Thrive Tomato & Vegie Food.

Protect your tomatoes

Dust regularly with Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust to keep pests and diseases at bay.

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