Growing Organic Tomatoes From Seed
Growing organic tomatoes is not much different than growing traditional tomatoes. The key difference obviously is that no pesticides or herbicides are used during the growing and harvesting process. This helps prevent ingesting harmful chemicals into our bodies. There is still plenty of speculation as to nutritional superiority, but the bottom line to growing organic tomatoes is simply that they have no chemicals and generally taste better. Some people think that growing organically produces smaller fruits and vegetables. However, if you follow this growing plan you will find yourself growing organic tomatoes that will be the envy of your neighbors
Growing Organic Tomatoes With Seeds In Egg Cartons
Don’t throw out those cardboard egg cartons. Instead, use them to start your organic tomatoes from seed. There are a wide variety of tomatoes available in both traditional and organic seeds. My honest opinion on seeds is that it is not necessary to purchase true organic seeds if you are starting your plants. True there might be some chemicals, however the trace amounts that would be evident in the mature plant would be miniscule when grown under organic conditions. However, if you are a purest, there are plenty of organic tomato seeds to start with as well.
Cut the top off of the cardboard egg carton. Cut the top into smaller strips and throw into your compost pile. Fill each of the egg compartments with compost until the compost is partially hilled over the top. Poke your pinky finger into the center of each compost heap about 1/8-inch deep. Plant two to three seeds in the hole and gently cover them with the compost. Place the egg carton seed trays in a window sill with direct sunlight or under grow lights. Keep the soil moist, but not soaked
Growing Organic Tomatoes – Transfer To Paper Cups
You will notice sprouts within a few days and within two weeks you will see two to three leaves. These are starter leaves and contain the nutrients to feed the sprout until the true leaves develop. Continue watering your egg cartons when the compost is dry to the touch. When the true leaves begin to develop they will separate from the seeding leaves. You will also notice that you have several sprouts within each egg cup. Once the sprouts have become a couple of inches tall and the true leaves are evident, it is necessary to thin them out into bigger paper cups.
Fill 8-ounce paper cups with compost, and carefully remove a sprout from the egg carton and replant it into the 8-ounce cup. Continue doing this so that you have one sprout in each cup. Use only the healthiest sprouts and place the remaining ones into your compost heap. Poke a few small holes in the bottom of the paper cups and water the soil thoroughly without over-soaking.
Set the cups close together in a window sill without drafts, or even on the floor of a room with direct sunlight. Water the soil when it becomes dry to the touch. Add compost to the cups after one week to continue feeding the plants the nutrients they need. Remember, it is not necessary to use fertilizers when planting in organic, composted soil.
Growing Organic Tomatoes – Planting Into The Garden
Once a couple of weeks have past from the last frost, your organic tomato seedlings are ready to be planted in the garden. It is a good idea to add another 2-inch layer of fresh compost to the top of the garden area and rake it in with a garden rake. This provides fresh nutrients for your new organic tomato seedlings and also loosens the soil enough to transplant them into the garden.
Dig a hole into the garden with your hand or a hand shovel, as deep as the bottom of the cup to halfway up the stem of the seedling and as big around as the cup. Carefully squeeze the sides of the cup to loosen the soil inside and gently pull out the seedling root ball from the cup.
Place the root ball into the hole and cover with the soil. Remove all but the top layer of leaves from the seedling using pruning shears. Pruning shears make a cleaner cut and cause less harm to the seedling than simply pinching them off.
Insert stakes next to each seedling or place tomato cages around each right after planting. This will help as the plant matures and fruit begins to develop. Now that you have started growing organic tomatoes, it is a matter of caring for them and harvesting them. Growing tomatoes is perfect for organic vegetable gardening for beginners.