Growing tomato plants can bring gardeners immense satisfaction and fill their dinner tables with fresh goodness straight from the ground. However, not all cultivators are particularly happy about buying expensive seeds and specific equipment. Luckily there are alternative, cheap, and easy tomato propagations techniques that you could try!
Can you grow tomatoes from slices? It is possible to grow tomatoes from slices. First cut a ripe tomato into thick slices. Then place the slices in a pot filled with soil. Wait for the seedlings to sprout. After the seedlings have sprouted, transplant the strongest ones outdoors.
It sounds easy! Yet there is a little more you should know to see your tomato plants grow strong and healthy. Let’s have a look at all the tips and processes that can help you succeed in your project.
How to Grow Tomatoes From Slices
Not many cultivators think of it, and they end up spending quite a lot of new tomatoes seeds every year. However, you can grow a tomato plant in your garden on a budget by putting those tomato slices to work. Indeed anybody has at least a ripe tomato that has started to go a little soft laying somewhere in the fridge!
Aside from the tomato slices, anything you will need for this project is:
- A small pot or container
- Potting soil
- Plastic wrap
- A bigger pot to transplant the growing seedlings
Gather all the equipment, and let’s start!
- Fill three-quarters of the container with potting mix
- Plant the slices
- Add the rest of the potting mix in the pot and pat it down
- Regulate the temperature and moisture of the pot by covering it with a plastic wrap
- Remove the plastic wrap as the tomato seeds start to produce seedlings. You should notice sprouting within a week.
- Water the seedlings and place the container in a sunny spot
- Transplant the growing seedlings into a bigger pot
- Fertilize the soil every two weeks and water the plants regularly
- Move the plant outdoors
Pick your tomato
The beauty of growing tomatoes from slices is that you can use any variety of these fruits for this project. Whether you have leftover beefsteak, cherry, or San Marzano tomatoes, you are ready to go. However, if you have more than a type at your disposal, you should opt for ripe, large fruits. While it won’t make a massive difference, the larger the slices are, the more seeds will boast, the more chances you have to see your plant bloom.
Plant the tomato slice
Cut your fruit of choice into slices. Ideally, you should obtain 1-centimetre thick, horizontal slices that boast a multitude of seeds. Discard the non-fertile extremities of the fruit and plant the middle sections.
To do so, fill about three-quarters of a small container with a potting mix. When picking the soil, you should take into considerations that tomatoes thrive in well-drained and loose loam soil. Moreover, you should opt for a neutral potting mix with a pH of 7. Lastly, don’t forget that, while tomatoes need water, moisture, and sun to grow, overwatering the soil can quickly kill the seedlings.
Once you have placed the slices on top of the potting mix, complete the planting process by adding more soil atop the tomato parts. Fill the container up to the top and, with the palm of your hand, gently pat the soil down. By doing so, the ground will get in contact with the seeds.
Now you should cover the container with a plastic wrap and wait for the magic to happen! This trick consists of creating a humidity dome around the pot and helps you control the moisture and temperature within it without much effort.
Usually, the seedlings will start to sprout within a week but can take up to 14 days, depending on external conditions. Indeed, tomato plants’ germination happens between 5 and 12 days of potting them. Four or five slices of tomatoes will generate up to 30 to 50 seedlings.
Care for the tomato seedlings
Once you notice green seedlings dotting the top of the soil, you can remove the humidity dome or plastic wrap from the container. Now, proceed to water them lightly every time the ground feels dry and keep them in a warm place. Mind, a frost or cold temperatures, can quickly kill the young seedlings!
Once all seedlings are showing, analyze them to find the strongest plants-to-be. Gently pull these out and place them in a new, larger container. Avoid planting more than two plants per pot to guarantee them to have enough moisture, space, and nutrients. Keep the boxes inside until the seedlings are strong enough to survive the outside weather.
Another essential factor to consider before moving the young plants outdoors is the external temperatures. Wait until the last frost of the year is over before moving a tomato plant in your garden. Ideally, temperatures should never drop below 13C, not even at nighttime.
Care for growing tomato plants
As your seedlings continue to grow, you can now opt to move them permanently in your garden or plant them into the ground. Remember that, to thrive, tomato plants need an average of 8 hours of sunlight per day, regular but not excessive watering, and shelter from the elements.
The general rule is to feed your tomato plants about one inch each week. However, it is easy to overwater these fruits. Instead, insert your finger into the ground and ensure that it is adequately dry before adding more water to the growing plant.
In the case of growing seedlings that you have just moved to the ground, you could also opt to fertilize the plants twice a month. If the soil is healthy and well-balanced, use a fertilizer that is lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus. This substance will take care of the wellbeing, look, and taste of the fruits.
What To Look Out For
If you were to grow tomato plants by harvesting the seeds of a supermarket tomato, experts would recommend you to clean the seeds before potting them. Indeed, the viscous substance that wraps this fruit’s seeds can prevent germination. In a whole tomato, the growth inhibitors present in this substance ensure that the seeds do not germinate within the fruit. However, they can cause a similar effect when you are trying to plant them!
The seeds present in your tomato slices are not different, and the presence of the mucous wrap could significantly hinder their germination. To increase the chances of seeing your seeds turning into plants, you should harvest, ferment, and clean them before potting them.
While not extremely common, your plants can be sterile. Most tomatoes found in supermarkets are F1 Hybrids. Cultivators create these mixes to be more resistant, commercially suitable, all equally perfectly-formed. However, such fruits are infertile in most cases.
Therefore, while you might be incredibly proud of your seedlings turning into an adult plant, you might never be able to enjoy its fruits!
With billions of tonnes of food wasted each year, it seems silly to throw an overripe tomato away! Propagation of these fruits through their slices can be an exciting and fun experiment that any first-time gardener can attempt.
You will only need pots, soil, and the slices of the variety you have picked. Plant them and transplant them outdoors once the seedlings are turning into fully-grown, blooming plants. Don’t forget to wait until the last frost of the year is over!
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