The Q&A Archives: How Can I Start Tomatos From Seed in the Low Desert?

Question: What is the secret of growing tomatos from seed?

Answer: Tomato seed should be started 6-8 weeks before the last frost date, which varies in the Valley from about Feb. 15 to March 15. Starting earlier than that can result in weak and leggy seedlings. Tomatoes needed to be planted by no later than the end of March to get a good root system and set fruit before the heat hits. If you're trying to plant now in May, it's too late! Tomato pollen isn't viable over 90 degrees F. When growing from seed start with a sterile soilless growing mix, provide appropriate lighting (a fluorescent light suspended 1-2" above seedlings is great), provide good air circulation, water enough to keep soil surface moist but never "wet", and feed the seedlings with a 50% strength version of a fertilizer such as Miracle Gro (15-30-15) at every other watering session. I hope this info helps.

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