So you want to grow some tomatoes, and you're not sure where to start, then you've come to the right place!
The web is full of articles and information on tomatoes, and to be honest, I can probably write a book about them. However, the purpose of this page is not to go into advanced topics like grafting or breeding. I'm going to outline the most important tomato-related growing topics for beginners and those who have some experience.
Should you start from seed or buy seedlings?
Starting from seed is not for beginners. That's my opinion and stand by it! When I started growing tomatoes, I purchased seedlings from my local garden centers and nurseries.
Starting from seed is a topic on its own. LEDs vs Fluorescent. Jiffy pods vs seed starting mix. Heat mat vs no heat mat.... I'll save the seed starting topic for another post.
The key takeaway here is that starting your seeds affords you the luxury of choosing the varieties you like and experimenting with new ones. You are not limited to the selection at the garden center. However, seed starting is an intensive process and to ensure success, you need to make sure you are watering, feeding and regulating the shelf heights regularly. Otherwise, you end up with flimsy, unhealthy seedlings and a disappointing harvest. You will also need to pot up to bigger pots when they outgrow their starter pots. I had to pot up most of my tomatoes twice this year. Also, if you plan to go on vacation while your seedlings are growing, you'll need a plant sitter!
Buying seedlings from the nursery may not give you the selection you crave, but my experience lately has been quite positive. Garden centers and nurseries are meeting consumer demand and providing a wide away of choices.