How to Start Tomato Plants


Tomato is the most popular produce grown in gardens today. When growing tomatoes, understanding how to plant and grow them correctly can make a significant difference in the health and size of your tomato plants. Keep in mind that you'll need at least two tomato plants per person for every harvesting season (Better Boy is a popular variety). When starting tomatoes, consider planting them in a container or raised bed for best results. Just make sure the variety you choose is suitable for the size of container or space you will plant it in.

Step 1

Use the scissors to cut out the bottoms of the Dixie cups so the roots can grow through if necessary.

Step 2

Put the Dixie cups into the tray. Fill them up with the seed starting mixture, or the topsoil/compost mix.

Step 3

Moisten the soil or seed starting mixture with water thoroughly. Let it sit for 2-3 hours so that the water soaks through evenly.

Step 4

Use your finger to insert one or two tomato seeds into the top of each cup, into the first 1/2 inch of soil. Sprinkle a dusting of soil on top.

Step 5

Keep the trays in a sunny windowsill where they will get about 6 hours of sunlight per day. Continue to keep the soil moist but not soggy on a daily basis. If outside, make sure they are away from strong winds.

Step 6

Observe the tomato plants. You should see them germinate in about 2 weeks after planting. Continue to water them to keep the soil moist.

Step 7

Keep observing the plants and keeping them within direct sunlight out of strong winds, either inside or outside (don't keep them outside if temperatures are under 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Within 3 weeks the sprouts should be sturdy little plants that will be ready to transplant into the ground or larger pots. To make sure that they survive the transition, make sure to use the same potting mixture you started with in the new planting hole. This will help them adapt and grow strong.

Things You'll Need

  • Tray
  • Dixie cups
  • Scissors
  • Seed starting mixture or compost and topsoil mixture
  • Tomato seeds
  • Water


  • Planting Tomatoes
  • Caring For Tomato Plants
  • Growing Tomatoes From Seed
Keywords: growing tomatoes, starting tomato plants, planting tomato seeds

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.