Tomatoes are one of the most commonly grown plants in homes all around the world. They make great, useful crops and are relatively easy to plant and care for, with the harvest being well worth the small effort. But do you know how many tomato seeds per hole you need?
But in order to grow tomatoes and make it live its full lifespan – or any plant, for that matter – you need to make sure you are planting their seeds correctly. Where do you plant tomatoes, how do you do it correctly, and how many tomato seeds per hole?
Seed Germination Rates
Many would suggest that one seed per hole is fairly standard, but we would like to suggest placing two seeds – or even up to three – in one hole when planting in order to maximize the chances of a successful fruit.
This is because the more seeds there are, the more likely you are to have perfect rates of germination.
In order to understand why two seeds are better than one and are not a waste, let’s talk a bit about seed germination rates.
Essentially, seed germination rates are the probabilities at which a seed will successfully sprout and grow into a plant. Each type of plant has a different seed germination rate, so it’s important to take them into account when growing your garden.
Tomatoes have an approximate seed germination rate of 75%, which is relatively high but it means that if you plant 50 seeds, only 37 of them will successfully germinate.
Basically, there is a one in four chance that the plant won’t grow or a 25% chance that the seed will fail, and this doesn’t count other factors that may potentially affect this rate, such as the age of the seed used.
If you plant two seeds instead of one in one hole, the chances of that hole failing to grow fruit decrease largely.
how many tomato seeds per hole?
Each seed has a 25% chance of failing, and with two seeds, the chances of both failing at the same time drop to 6.25%, giving you a much higher probability of successful tomato growth and increasing the seed germination rate to 93.75%.
Likewise, if you are planting a large batch, even three seeds per hole can be beneficial, reducing the chances of all three seeds failing to 1.56%.
Still, we wouldn’t recommend overcrowding the hole for larger varieties of tomatoes, and if you don’t have enough seeds or would rather use as little of them as possible, just two will suffice.
Basically, we would recommend planting two seeds per hole and, if both happen to germinate, simply plucking out the shorter or weaker sprout.
This applies to both planting in the ground and planting in a pot – going for two seeds is the option that guarantees better germination rates.
Where To Grow Tomato Seeds
Seeds should be sown at a depth of 2cm into the soil. Being subtropical means that tomatoes need to be planted somewhere where they will get full exposure to the sun.
If you live in an area where warmth and sunlight aren’t even particularly intense in the middle of summer, you will really need to pay attention to this.
You can place them against a wall or fence, though not near to a hedge as this will cause drying of the soil. Raised beds are ideal due to the high amount of moisture within the soil that doesn’t water log.
If you live in cooler parts of the UK or Ireland that don’t have good summer seasons for planting, you may want to consider growing tomatoes in a greenhouse or in the cover of a polytunnel.
Without proper sun or the use of a polytunnel or greenhouse, the tomatoes may have difficulty ripening at all, or may simply fail to grow completely.
You can opt to sow seeds in small pots first, keeping them on your windowsill. Place pots inside a plastic bag or use a propagator for this purpose.
Once the shoots produce two true leaves, transfer them to larger pots or plant outdoors. When growing seeds outdoors or transplanting from a pot, make sure all holes are about 45 cm apart so there is enough space for each plant to take root and grow.
Keep in mind that cordon or indeterminate tomatoes reach heights of up to 1.8m and need staking for support as they grow, while determinate or bush tomatoes do not.
Also, note that tomatoes need soil that is very fertile. When planting, you should add a good amount of manure that has been well rotted to the soil.
When To Grow Tomato Seeds
The best time to start sowing tomato seeds is around the time frame of late February to the middle of March if you are growing indoors or in a greenhouse. For sowing outdoors, late March to early April is a good time.
If you sow seeds indoors in the earlier part of the year, make sure that the plants are lined up against a window that faces South.
Use a heated propagator to help maintain the warmth of the soil, and the compost needs to be at 22°C in order for the seeds to successfully germinate.
When young plants begin to sprout, note that they must still be kept warm until soil temperatures naturally stay at 10°C or higher.