Tomato germination results

Tracking germination results on my tomatoes:

50%perlite/peat moss
Polaris, goat bag, fish lake, amazon chocolate, indian zebra varieties were all fresh. Black krim and bear creek seeds were from last season.

Indian zebra at 48%
Bear creek 15%
Black krim at 10%
Goat bag 5%

All others nothing yet at 2 weeks

How are your babies doing?

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All took in my aerogarden. I like using it to start plants and then move them to pots. Its hydroponic with nutrient feeds and a circulating pump. The root systems are always unbelievable. I put them outside sometime in April using wall of water or similar. As long as they stay inside the plastic they are good, even in late freezes.


Those root structures are amazing. What kind of sanitation are you in for after a seed starting season?

Cleaning procedures?

I start about 200 tomatoes annually and I get 80-100% germination every year for all my tomatoes using generic sterile seed starting mix and/or perlite. I have some seeds that are pushing 20 years old now but they still germinate at 80% or better. They do take longer to wake up as they get older- you need to be patient with 10+ year old seeds. It’s still to early here in MD for me to start many tomato seeds- I’ve only started the seeds and rootstocks I will be using for grafting which is just a dozen.

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for the aerogarden.

The roots of 9 plants are so thick that many must be pulled apart with a bit of force. They are intertwined. It makes for a really strong plant. Once the plants come out there are always extra root fibers to remove. Sometimes handfuls. The inside is pretty clean even with the earthy fertilizer you add. It all comes apart nicely and can be rinsed and ready for another batch. A good investment upfront, but I think well worth it in the long run. I usually do multiple runs per season. The light adjusts up at least a foot as plants grow, so tomato plants can be pretty big by the time it expands all the way.

20 years, wow. do you store them in the fridge? do you notice them growing more weakly after they germinate or are they ok?

No just room temperature in a cool dark basement. They are no different once they germinate- it just takes them longer to get going. With seeds less than 5 years old anyone should be able to get 90% germination or more. It’s super easy.

Do you have a timeline for seed germination? “All viable seeds will sprout within X days?”

I allow about 3 weeks for really old seeds before I replant the cell.

Know your grow room temp?

mid 60’s usually, but I’ll often use a heat mat until germination for tomatoes and peppers just to speed things up a bit.

Guess I’ll have to go look up scientific studies on the germination speed increase with heating pads as my current grow room probably averages 62.

Should have read this post before I just sew bunch of seed in regular soil 2 hours ago

I started box car willie, kellogs breakfest, cherokee purple, black krim…all seed was from 2006. Everything has popped and i just started repotting them to gallon containers because they are rootbound in their pots.

I soak seed some (hour or 2) in water before planting. I use bottom heat (keeps soil about 80F). and i cover with foam until the seeds sprout (keeps them moist/warm). This year i went back to potting soil they sell at menards///last year i had horrible results and i want to say it was garbage soil. One reason i’m so early this year (and also have way too many starts for my garden size).

My basement is about 60F right now. With the grow lights and pads my temp gauge stays right around 71F near where the plants are growing. I use lots of foam/some drywall scrap sheets to sort of box everything in to maintain a little more warmth (and reflect light). I do turn off heat pads after they start growing. Heat pads make a huge difference. I use them in everything i germinate.