How To Sow Tomato Seeds

How To Sow Tomato Seeds

Nothing beats the taste of fresh, home-grown tomatoes warmed by the sun

There’s nothing quite like the taste of home-grown tomatoes; fresh from the greenhouse and warmed by the sun, nothing you can buy in the supermarket comes even close. They are fairly easy to grow but you do need to give them a little bit of attention. Make sure you choose the right variety for the spot you want to plant them; most of the large cordon varieties do need a greenhouse, they won’t do any good if you are planning to grow them outside. Many of the modern hybrid varieties are the easiest to grow as they are bred for ease of growth and disease resistance; ‘Ferline’ is one of the best modern hybrids bred for exceptional disease resistance and is suitable for growing outdoors, even in our damp British summers!


 We have chosen to sow ‘Sweet Million’ which produces masses of small, sweet cherry tomatoes, ideal if you have children, and ‘Moneymaker’ a good old fashioned favourite which is tasty and reliable.

You will need:

  • seed tray or 9cm pots
  • seed compost & vermiculite
  • seed
  • something which holds water to stand the tray or pots in, or a watering can with a very fine rose
  • labels

Fill the tray or pot with John Innes Seed Sowing compost, tap the tray on the bench to settle the compost, smooth the surface of the compost.

Scatter a few seeds on top making sure that they are well separated; if you only want a few plants don’t sow so many seeds as most will germinate.

Cover with a thin cover of vermiculite and label. Vermiculate provides an insulating layer which minimises fluctuations in soil temperature.

Stand in water for about 15 minutes until compost is damp or water with a fine rose taking care not to swamp the seed and wash them into a cluster.

cherry tomatoes

Place them on a sunny windowsill, into a heated propagator or warm greenhouse.

Remember to keep them damp.

They should germinate within 14 – 21 days.

After 8 weeks they should be ready to prick out into individual pots.

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.