As spring is nearing, you’re probably excited to grow tomato plants as soon as you can! After all, this is a versatile plant that’s easy to care for and maintain. That said, remember that starting them off as seeds is a process and may be slightly different compared to caring for their mature versions.
This has you wonder how you can prepare ahead for the seeds to germinate successfully, asking questions like, ‘Can I plant tomato seeds directly in the ground?’ Before you try doing this, read on to find out if it’s a good idea or not!
Can I Plant Tomato Seeds Directly in the Ground?
The answer would depend.
If you live in warmer climates that have longer growing seasons, it’s possible to plant tomato seeds directly in the ground. If you live in colder climates, it’s best to start your tomato seeds indoors, transplanting the seedlings outside when ready.
However, there are a lot of reasons why you should start tomato seeds indoors even when living in a warm climate. This is because planting tomato seeds directly in the ground may be more difficult on the growing plants, and you.
If you really want to plant seeds directly in the ground (also called direct sowing), then you will need to meet certain conditions.
For instance, the climate should be warm enough and have a long growing season for tomato plants. To be more exact, you’ll need 74 days for fast-maturing tomatoes, and around 123 days for slower-maturing tomatoes.
Why Grow Tomato Seeds Indoors
Here are reasons why it’s best to start indoors, even when you can plant tomato seeds directly in the ground:
- Tomatoes are warm-weather crops and native to the tropics, unable to tolerate frost. This is why they can’t be planted before an area’s last frost date.
- You’ll need to wait a few weeks after the area’s last spring frost date and transplant your growing tomato plants outdoors. The Old Farmer’s Almanac can show you the last spring frost date in your area, and it’s best to wait 1-4 weeks after the said date.
- If you plant directly in the ground, then this would mean a later harvest. Just because you planted it directly in the ground doesn’t mean you’ll have a head start on its growth, especially when living in colder climates. When you start seeds indoors, this gives them a chance to grow indoors even before the last frost, extending the growing season by a few weeks or months.
- When you start seeds indoors, there is less of a chance that pests will eat the seeds before germination.
- Tomato seeds and plants dislike extreme temperature changes. Seeds would germinate in soil that is between 50-95 degrees F. Frequent changes during the early spring will have it fail to germinate, as they are more likely to be killed by cold soil, frost, or freeze.
Wrapping It Up
Tomatoes are a crowd favorite, and it’s no surprise that everyone wants to begin planting them when the growing season arrives. However, there are things you have to avoid doing to help increase the chances of successful germination, and one of them is to avoid planting the seeds directly in the ground. By starting your tomato plants indoors and waiting until the weather warms, they are more likely to survive and grow to produce yield.
I hope you learned a lot about how you can begin planting tomato seeds. Take this information in mind when you are ready to begin planting them. Good luck!