Caring for tomato seedlings can be a tricky business and a bit of a balancing act!
- They need to be kept warm – but not too warm or they’ll become leggy.
- They need moisture in their soil – but not too much or they’ll become leggy
- They need light and plenty of it – but too much hot direct sunlight or they will become stressed.
The three requirements of temperature, soil moisture and light need to be right to get seedlings off to a good start.
Keeping seedlings at a reasonable temperature during the day isn’t too difficult, but at night if temperatures drop too low, seedlings can struggle and find it difficult to recover the next day. It will reduce the rate of their growth.
This is particularly true if their soil is too wet. This makes their roots even colder when temperatures drop at night, so keeping the minimum amount of moisture in their soil is safest.
Perhaps the biggest problem is light
Seeds are sown in the spring when light levels are low and days are short, so the only way to give them the light they need is with sunny weather or a grow light – the second choice is the most predictable!
There’s always the temptation to sow early and of course the earlier the seeds are sown, the less light, potentially, they’ll get.
However, sowing at the right time for your part of the world will ensure that your tomato seedlings get off to the best start.