Best Way to Start Tomato Seeds Indoors (or Outdoors)

Best Way to Start Tomato Seeds Indoors (or Outdoors)

Getting a huge harvest starts with sowing the seeds correctly. I’ll walk you through my tomato hack that all but guarantees a summer full of big juicy homegrown tomatoes!



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  1. Corinne Nygren on November 15, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    You’re the best resource and my go-to guy for all things gardening. Thanks for all the expert advice. God bless you!

  2. Karen on November 15, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    What an awesome and informative video! Thank you so much!

  3. MICHAEL CROOKS on November 15, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you, you’re my favorite garden you tube person! I transplanted my seedlings into the solo cups. But how long do I leave the cups in the tray to soak up water? Not sure how I tell that the roots have had enough water.

  4. Cheryl Idler on November 15, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    i always learn so much from you, Brian! I’m wondering if I will be able to grow tomatoes from grocery store grape tomatoes? i have seeds saved, but have never tried growing or.. saving a tomato seed before wish me luck!?BEST..CHERYL🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

  5. dkeck on November 15, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Will the soil dry out easy with the heat mat…how often to add water?

  6. Mr. Clean on November 15, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Just double checking…you did say don’t do this technique (adding the soil to grow more roots) with any other seedlings so I assume that means NO other seedlings – ONLY tomatoes. I just happened to make 14 little cups for sprouting seeds last week with half of them tomatoes and the other half peppers. All but a couple of them have sprouts. Is there any chance the peppers will root more with additional soil on the stems once they are full fledge seedlings? Per your statement, I assume “no”. But figured it might be worth a double check.

  7. Margaret Church on November 15, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    How often do you water the seeds

  8. brigitte4635 on November 15, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    Wouldn’t a greenhouse be perfect to start the tomatoes?

  9. Conscious Being on November 15, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    A hot glue gun tip might work to create drainage in bottom of plastic cup/container.

  10. Sue Giesige on November 15, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    I have had great success with this seed starting method, and with Kellogg’s tomatoes in NW Ohio too. Thank you for all the reliable information.

  11. Sue Gervais on November 15, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    Have been sharing your video, great tips

  12. ME MyselfandI on November 15, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    When you say to cut the stem after the first true leaves come out, do you mean the part that is above the true leaves? Where the baby leaves were?

  13. Ronda Welch on November 15, 2022 at 9:25 pm


  14. Jeanne Beam on November 15, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    I’m planning to grow my tomatoes this way next year. I live in the Florida Panhandle, what month do you suggest to start my seeds? I usually can plant my garden in April. It’s a very small garden with a few raised beds and some containers. My garden was a disaster this year. I planted 11 tomato plants and only 3 survived from a wilt of some sort. I really enjoy your videos. Thanks so much for sharing.

  15. Sharon Campbell on November 15, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    Hello I am first time gardener. Just wanted to know where can I purchase the best quality tomato seeds.

  16. WM Luna on November 15, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    Someone gave me those red cups, the brand name ones, and I came to hate them for seeds / plants after a short while. They become brittle and break after the 1st season for me.

    I started to collect soda fountain plastic fast food cups to replace the red ones that cracked.

    I put the drain holes btw 1-2" up the side with a soldering iron depending on the size of the cup (because of my occasional watering forgetfulness).

    I find these fast food cups everywhere and pull them out from the garbage at work, outside when the wind blows them into my line of sight, etc.. The McDs clear coffee ones are resilient as are the Taco Bell soda ones, but they are all a lot more pliable and longer lasting.

    I start my tomatoes in a low level soil and add more as they grow for the stem / rooting factor build. The clear ones also act like a mini greenhouse of sorts as well.

    I feel good about repurposing and reusing something most people chuck out and giving them a more productive 2nd life.

  17. Jan Short on November 15, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Wow going to use this method this year

  18. Cynthia Haun on November 15, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    Or you can plant your tomatoes horizontally leaving the top few leaves out of the soil less water big production

  19. Margaret Church on November 15, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    My daddy always sold them outside in a bed and he put a tobacco canvas over top of them we grow hundreds tomato plants that way

  20. Cherokee Rose on November 15, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    I love San Marsano, and Early Girl, also Tumblin Toms.. Three totally different kinds. Thanks

  21. Christine Otten on November 15, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you for your advice. I’m looking forward to this new venture!

  22. Cathy Shields on November 15, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    Very helpful … thnx

  23. Susan Henley on November 15, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    I’m new to gardening and tried your solo cup idea… Wow! Since I don’t have a green thumb, I went overboard and put 3-4 seeds in each cup. Now I’m assuming I have to thin them? They are growing tall under the lights and I look forward to planting them outside, hopefully soon.

  24. Marybeth G on November 15, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you great video very much appreciate it in great detail I’m in Arizona so it’s a little bit different I’m just trying on these different ways of planting in cups in the raised bed in pots I’m also trying slicing tomatoes and putting them in a pot or letting them grow roots inside of themselves then slicing and placing in pots we’ll see how everything goes I have a good shade cover also

  25. Gail D on November 15, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    My favorite is the Campari tomato …. so sweet!

  26. Goofy Noodle on November 15, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    Why arent you on tv? You’re good.

  27. Judith Storck on November 15, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    Brian – we plant Amish paste, Chadwick cherry, Beefsteak, Black Krim and Roma. Will be training them to grow up the cattle guards we just got this year – same with the beans, cucumbers, peas, okra, melons and squashes. Judi

  28. gina stewart on November 15, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks for the instruction! My plants are getting so big. I added the potting mix to the top of the cup and they are still tall. Should I repot them again in a deeper container? I’m in zone 6 and still quite some time from planting outside.

  29. Linda Kinney on November 15, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    What is the best neem oil to use ???

  30. David Reece on November 15, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    I use empty yogurt containers to plant my seedlings

  31. Raquel Wood on November 15, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you.

  32. jean campbell on November 15, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    I cant wait to try this. My tomatoes have always been rather hopeless. Thanks for these great tips.

  33. marie joy on November 15, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    Seedling heat mats are fantastic.

  34. Rick M on November 15, 2022 at 9:50 pm

    Primo Red, and Red Deuce, in the tomato capital of the world, Hanover, VA

  35. LienGreen on November 15, 2022 at 9:50 pm

    I apologize if you answer this question in another video, but I’m wondering if I can separate multiple seedlings out of the solo cup or do you recommend cutting off extras (this kills my gardening soul since they look so healthy😬)

  36. sara3 on November 15, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    Black Krim, Automic Grape, and German Johnson

  37. John Liberty on November 15, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    Amish Paste or Roma are my favorites. I just cook with tomatoes and never eat them so obviously I am going to choose cooking varieties

  38. Cynthia Haun on November 15, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    You can also totally dehydrate your tomatoes instead of canning and use a blender or coffee grinder and store soooo much more tomatoes vs canned tomatoes you can then use the powder for sauces and soups and only use a few tablespoons 2-4 instead of a quart of tomatoes it will taste the same and use over growth economically

  39. William M Ramsey on November 15, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    Commercial seed trays have humidity retaining covers. In the red cups, turn a zip baggy upside down over the cup and cinch up the zip seal around the cup. Instant humidity seal. dent the baggy down in the middle so condensation goes back in the cup.

  40. David Reece on November 15, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    My favorite tomato is red and orange ox heart tomatoes

  41. David Hargis on November 15, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    I tried this method and the tomatoes started out great. My tomato’s lower branches and leaves started to drop off the plant. Any idea what the problem could be? To much water? To little water? To cold. Please help. I’m not talking about the first seed leaves but other leaves.

  42. Brenda Bodwin on November 15, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    We almost hit 55° here today. Not quite. 52, but, that was the hottest part of the day. Still growing everything in the house.

  43. Jean B. on November 15, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Good Info TY

  44. Josh Johnson on November 15, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    you’re awesome

  45. Chris Rodgers on November 15, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    Cherokee purple, 100 super sweet, better boys and Krim !

  46. Michelle Louise on November 15, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    Sun gold / Cherokee purple😋

  47. dalepres1 on November 15, 2022 at 10:06 pm

    I have a seed starting question. How do I prevent the seed hull from not dropping – hanging on and covering the cotyledons. Second, if the hull does hang on, how can I safely get it off without destroying the seedling? I’ve been growing tomatoes and other vegetables from seed and only rarely have this problem but it happened this week with 2 out of 3 seeds I have for a special-to-me tomato for which I only had 3 seeds so I really need to fix it if I can. I’d love to hear how to prevent it from happening and, then, what to do when it happens in spite of my efforts to avoid it. I planted some other special-to-me, but less so than the others, seeds today and I tried soaking the seeds in water for a couple hours before planting in the hopes that that will help. Any thoughts on this problem?

  48. General Awareness on November 15, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    I have 5k lumen and 5k Kelvin LEDs on my tomatoes for 16h each day, and they always pop out of the dirt leggy/thin even with a fan on them. I have the light 2 to 3 inches away, so I am not sure what is going on. I dig them up and repot them deeper for them to grow up higher thin/leggy.

  49. Jamie Hopkins on November 15, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    I love Sungold tomatoes as well. I also love the plentiful harvest I get from yellow pear tomatoes. This year I’m growing San Marzano and Oregon Spring.

  50. roxiebot 74 on November 15, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    What type of tray do you use to put the cup with the soil and seeds in? I’m having trouble finding a sturdy enough tray. Thanks

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