How to Grow Tomato Transplants


Tomato plants are popular to grow in the vegetable garden. In some parts of the United States, the space of time that tomato plants remain productive in the garden is small because of the rapid arrival of hot weather in late spring or cooler weather in the fall. Tomato production decreases rapidly once daytime temperatures are consistently above 90 degrees F and nighttime temperatures are below 50 degrees F. Starting your own tomato transplants is a way to get the plants going early for transplanting in the garden. Not only do the transplants produce sooner, they are less susceptible to damage from pests that feed on tiny seedlings.

Step 1

Fill planting containers that have drainage holes with fresh potting soil or potting mix.

Step 2

Plant the seeds 1/2-inch deep in the potting mix. Pour water over the soil and let it drain. Place the containers is a bright location that stays above 80 degrees F.

Step 3

Keep the soil in the containers around the plants moist but not wet. The seeds should sprout in six to eight days.

Step 4

Plant the transplants in the garden as soon as possible after the last average frost date. Set the transplants out after they have three sets of leaves, if you are planting for the fall. Cover the plants if there is an unexpected late or early frost.

Step 5

Fertilize the plants only afer they are actively growing in the garden.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use old potting soil or dirt from the garden for the planting containers as it can contain pathogens that can harm your plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato seeds
  • Fresh potting soil
  • Containers with drainage holes


  • University of Illinois: Tomato
  • Tomato Tips: When to Plant Tomatoes
  • Farmers Almanac: Average Frost Dates
Keywords: transplanting tomatoes, starting tomatoes, tomatoes

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.