There are a couple of common options people choose when it comes to growing tomatoes in your garden. You can purchase seeds and start them indoors well before spring makes its appearance, or you can buy established plants about the time the soil is warm enough to put them directly into the ground. But there's another super easy way to grow tomatoes most people probably aren't familiar with.
These 5 steps will walk you through the basics of growing your own tomatoes at home, using little more than ripe fruit you probably already have on hand in your kitchen!
1. Prep planting containers
Start by collecting planting containers and potting mix. These containers will only be used for germinating seeds, so they will work better if they are wider to give yourself more space to work with. They don't need to be very deep either since the roots won't grow down very much. Add potting mix to the containers filling them about three-quarters of the way full. You can either buy a high-quality mix from the store or make your own using instructions from Planet Natural.
2. Slice ripe tomatos
Got a tomato in your kitchen that's just a little too far ripe to really enjoy? Perfect! If not, grab one that's close enough to being ripe and get started. Slice it up into slices approximately 1/4" thick. Doesn't have to be pretty, and certainly doesn't have to be perfect.
3. Plant tomato slices
Lay the thinly sliced tomatoes in a single layer across the top of the soil, leaving just a little space between them. Barely cover them with a fine layer of the potting mix and then water well. Keep the container in partial shade with the potting soil moist but not over saturated.
4. Transplant tomato seedlings
Tomato seeds will typically germinate within 8-10 days of planting. Once they germinate move them to an area with full sun for 10-12 hours a day to keep the seedlings from becoming leggy. Approximately two weeks after planting the seedlings will be big enough to transplant into individual pots. Bury the stem as deep into the potting soil as possible and tamp the mix gently around the base of the stem. Water well.
5. Let your plants grow
Tomato plants will take anywhere from 50 to 80+ days to reach maturation from the time of planting. This depends on the variety and your growing conditions. Harvest to Table has a great, comprehensive chart that lists the days to maturity for many of the commonly grown tomato varieties. To ensure proper growth make sure plants get plenty of sunlight, the potting soil has adequate moisture, and plants are fertilized periodically to replace nutrients absorbed by the plant. Within a few months, you'll have delicious tomatoes to harvest and enjoy!