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Sowing Tomato Seeds Directly in a Seed Bed

This is by far the riskiest method in temperate climates such as in the UK. It is only suitable for those areas which have a last frost date in MARCH. In all other areas, the soil is unlikely to be warm enough at a time which will allow the tomato plant to develop and fruit.

The soil temperature must be at least 15°C (60°F) at the time of sowing and during germination. Click here to buy a cloche or cold frame from our recommended suppliers. This will warm the soil prior to planting and protect the plants in their early stages.

Soil preparation needs to be done as described in the main article. Using a trowel, dig a shallow drill 2.5cm deep (1in) deep in the prepared bed. Place two seeds every nine inches in the drill and cover the seeds to a depth of 2.5cm (1in). Water well if the conditions are at all dry.

The seedlings should emerge in about 10 days. When they are 5cm (2in) tall, thin to one plant every 45 to 60cm (18 to24in). The plants can then be cultivated as described in the main article.