Planting tomatoes is really easy because they are low-maintenance, fairly hardy plants. Whether you grow from seeds you purchased, or seeds taken from a tomato that has passed its best-before date, some seeds will happily take, and others just will not.
There is always the question of either over-populating or under-populating your yard. So, how many tomato seeds can you plant in one hole?
Because there are always a few dud seeds in each packet that will not germinate, you should plant 2 to 3 tomato seeds per hole. This way you can be sure that each place you plant will result in a healthy tomato plant.
This article will explain the rationale for planting multiple tomato seeds in 1 hole.
Why You Should Plant 2 to 3 Seeds Per Hole
Not all seeds will germinate; this means that if you only plant 1 seed in a hole, and that 1 seed does not germinate you will have lost time to grow your tomatoes and you will have empty spaces between plants.
25% of all tomato seeds you plant will not germinate. If you plant 2 seeds in 1 hole the likelihood of both seeds failing to germinate drops to 6.25%. Obviously, a 3rd seed will almost guarantee at least 1 will grow.
For tomatoes, only 75% of the seeds will germinate and produce delicious fruit.
Unfortunately, the environment where you are planting can also affect the germination rate.
How to Plant Tomato Seeds in Seed Trays
I very seldomly plant my vegetables straight into the ground. I prefer planting the seeds in seed trays to germinate and then transplanting them into the ground or raised beds.
Planting in seed trays also allows you to add more than 2 to 3 seeds per hole, I put up to 5 seeds in each tray space as they are easy to separate once you see them grow.
This helps me see when a seedling grows, and it helps me separate seedlings for maximum benefit.
When the seedlings reach 3 inches, they are ready to be separated and transplanted into the ground. If you have ever missed a ripe tomato, you will know how big a bush of tomatoes can get.
It also makes harvesting very difficult because the dense bush will make it hard to see or reach all the tomatoes.
Can Tomatoes Be Sown Directly into the Ground?
Absolutely, they can be sown directly into the ground.
The downside of sowing directly into the ground is that if you have spaced your seeds, and you do have a lot of dud seeds, you may end up with a lot of gaps between your plants. This is why you should be planting 2 to 3 seeds per hole.
How Deep Should You Plant Tomato Seeds
Your tomato seeds should be sown ½ an inch deep. They do not require much coverage, just enough to keep them from being blown away by the wind and to keep the seeds warm and moist to germinate.
Tips and Tricks
Plant your tomatoes in pots that can easily be moved indoors during winter. I find deep plastic totes work really well because they give the plant plenty of soil and they are easy to move into my greenhouse come winter.
Plant your tomato seeds into a large pot to grow indoors in a warm spot with plenty of sunlight.
If you are growing cherry tomatoes outdoors it is best to grow them in a tub. You will need to harvest daily as birds will quickly move in on the ripe tomatoes.
Speaking from experience (lots of experience), the birds will spread the seeds to every inch of your property. You will have more tomatoes than you could ever manage.
If you plant from seedling, move the seedlings out to the ground, raised bed, or pots once 2 true leaves have developed and the plant is 3 inches tall.
Choose a good seed to plant. I use Money Makers as they hardly ever have any dud seeds.
There You Have It!
Tomatoes do not require much effort to grow. They like healthy soil, warm air, and lots of sunlight.
Whether you plant indoors or outdoors, you can have a good harvest. Plant 2 to 3 seeds per hole, or even more if you are using seed trays as they can then be split to plant out in rows or in pots.
A word from the wise, make sure you pick all the fruit as it ripens. Tomatoes are very good at growing themselves.
1 missed tomato will result in a lot of tomato plants in one concentrated area. Chaos can quickly follow.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.