5 Tomato Growing Tips for Beginner Vegetable Gardeners | MOTHER EARTH NEWS – Mother Earth News

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Brandywine Heirloom Tomato Seedlings (Photo by Mary Jane Duford)
Homegrown tomatoes are the jewels of the summer vegetable garden. While they can seem intimidating to grow, there are a few key things that can make (or break) your edible garden harvest. Here are five of the top tomato growing tips to help you grow terrific tomatoes.
Start With A Potted Seedling Plant
Some veggies grow best when planted as seeds directly in the soil outdoors. Unfortunately, tomatoes are not one of them. The best option for beginner gardeners (and many experienced gardeners) is to purchase potted seedling tomatoes from a trusted local garden center or farmer. 
In many climates, tomatoes must be grown indoors in a heated space with a slight breeze, with heating mats below the seedling plants and plant lights above them. Growers start growing the seedlings in January-March for sale in April-June. The baby plants require daily care to grow into the bushy, healthy starts we see at the nursery. While tomatoes can certainly be grown from seed at home, they are not nearly as easy as some other veggies.

Growing tomatoes from seed is a time-consuming, energy-intensive project. You can also end up spending quite a lot on different seed packets if you’re growing more than one variety. Of course there is always the problem of growing too many seedlings and not having room in the garden for them as they grow!

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