Growing Tomatoes without Seedlings
How I Grew Out Tomatoes Without Seedlings
Spring is the most stressful and troublesome time for vegetable growers. Care for seedlings becomes a priority and is very arduous and time-consuming. However, there’s a simple and completely cost-effective way to start tomato seedlings away from a window sill.
Several years ago, after I harvested tomatoes, a few mature tomatoes got into the compost pile where they overwintered successfully. In the spring, when I saw healthy and beautiful seedlings, I decided to transplant them to the garden. I was curious to see what would happen. What I finally got was healthy plants that were no different from the home-started seedlings either in appearance or yield.
Since then, I’ve forgotten about an ordeal of starting seedlings indoors. Now I deliberately start all my tomatoes outdoors by using this technique. However, I don’t leave tomatoes in the compost pile for winter but use a specially prepared tomato seedling bed. I dig holes up to 20 cm deep, put compost and one healthy mature tomato into each hole, cover with soil, slightly firm the soil, and shelter from cold. I do this in October, closer to the first frosts date when the ground starts freezing.
With the onset of spring and warm weather, I remove the winter shelter. A whole bunch of tomato seedlings rises in the spots where I placed tomatoes. When plants grow bigger, I transplant them to beds.
The benefit is obvious. I don’t have to prepare containers, soil, and seeds, choose a place on the windowsill, take care of seedlings, prickle them out or take them out to the garden. A huge amount of work is gone!
Moreover, I noticed that starting tomatoes in this unconventional way plus natural hardening make tomatoes resistant to temperature drops and diseases.