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How Many Tomato Seeds Per Hole For Tasty Tomatoes

The most common question asked from any beginner planning to grow tomatoes is – How many tomato seeds per hole?

It seems more and more households are now growing fruit and vegetables in their backyards. There is nothing better than the freshness of your own homegrown goodness.

And the easiest to start with is tomatoes. They are the most commonly grown plants in households around the world. But, how many tomato seeds do you plant in one hole?

Fresh tomatoes ripe and ready

It is not as difficult as you might think it is to grow your own food. All you need is a simple guide, the right tools, and the time it takes to nurture your own homegrown tomatoes.

If you’re not sure whether or not you have those green thumbs, do not worry! This step-by-step guide will help you harvest the tastiest tomatoes.

Item Checklist – What You’ll Need Before You Get Started

Below is a list of things you’ll need before you start sprinkling your tomato seeds everywhere.

What you’ll need

  • Tomato Seeds There are so many different varieties of tomatoes. Only you’ll know which tomato is your favorite to eat and which one you would like to grow.
  • Small containers or growing trays – You can get biodegradable starter trays, or there’s the option of using paper cups or egg cartons. Using anything biodegradable is excellent because you don’t need to transplant anything. You simply place that little container straight into the soil.
  • Potting soil – Make sure you use good potting soil with essential plant nutrients.
  • Plant markers – Popsicle sticks are perfect plant markers. It would help if you had markers to act as name tags for your new plants. If you’re only planting one type of tomato seed, you need not worry about markers. But they will come in really handy if you’re planting a variety of different seed types.
  • Spray bottle – An excellent item to use when growing tomatoes from seeds. If you choose to repurpose a bottle, make sure it has not been used to spray any harsh chemicals. Any residue will harm your baby plants.

Which Seeds Will Be Best

Variety of tomato seeds to plant

Now that you’ve decided to start growing tomatoes from seeds, you need to determine what seeds will be right for you. Choosing the right seeds can be quite a daunting task because there are so many different varieties.

Did you know that there are over 10,000 tomato species, but there are only a few that you can buy seeds for from the garden center? Tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes, with so many lovely flavors.

The following are perfect for indoor growing

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Orange Bourgoin
  • Sugar Plum

For tomatoes that grow slightly bigger, you’d need outdoor planters or a small garden bed

  • Roma
  • Beefsteak
  • Giulietta
  • San Marzano

Bigger tomatoes, also known as slicers, taste delicious when you eat them just like that. But, the real flavor comes out when using these tomatoes in various sauces and on pizza and pasta.

Small tomatoes are superb in salads, on bruschetta’s, and any other dish that requires freshly-picked tomatoes.

Whichever you decide to go with, homegrown organic will always be the best quality, full of flavor, and the best for your health.

Here are a few things to think about

  • Which tomatoes do you enjoy eating the most? This will help you decide what seeds you’re going to plant.
  • Take into account what size your mature plants will be. Some tomato plants grow to around 3ft in height. These are best for containers. While others grow to about 6ft.
  • Depending on your region, your tomato plants can be susceptible to disease.


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Best Time To Plant Tomato Seeds

Tomatoes grow the best in summer. The seed packets will usually recommend planting the seeds about 4-6 weeks before the last of the winter frost date.

This will allow your seeds to go through the germination and the growth process and be ready to bear fruit when that lovely warm weather arrives.

If you plan on keeping your tomato plants growing indoors, you can plant seeds anytime during the year.

Where To Grow The Seeds

Planting some tomato seed in hole

There are pros and cons to growing your plants either indoors or outdoors. Check whether the seeds are adaptable for indoor or outdoor growth before planting.

Either way, it is always a good idea to start growing tomatoes from seeds in a container.

Ensure that the container you use when planting tomato seeds provides enough drainage and that the soil is always moist.

Tomato seedlings can be transplanted to bigger containers or outdoors once they’ve reached 3 inches tall. If you’re in colder parts of the world and growing tomatoes from seeds, you’ll need to cover your plants with polytunnel to avoid your new plants being affected.

Then to avoid your tomatoes rotting, you should use a wooden stick to support your plants.

Even if you are going to transplant your new little plants to your lush outdoor garden, you’ll want to start growing your tomato plants indoors. But in doing that, you’ll need to prepare your new plants so that they can cope with the harsher outdoor weather conditions.

To do this, you can place them in the sunlight on a windowsill each day.

Right Soil Choice

Planting tomato seeds

When growing tomatoes from seeds, you want to make sure that you have suitable soil.

You want to use something like a seed starting mix. This type of soil is a light and fluffy mixture made up of perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss.

It’s a fine texture and great for encouraging root development quite early on.

You can also mix one part perlite with two parts of coconut fiber. Using this mixture is excellent when growing tomatoes from seeds indoors.

Then when the seedlings are ready, you can just plant them in the garden, making sure there’s good sun exposure.

Tip: Do not use garden soil, as it can hold disease organisms and doesn’t drain very well. It tends to stay quite soggy when watered.

What To Plant The Seeds In

Home garden with empty peat pots and instruments

As mentioned in your checklist of items you’ll need, it’s a good idea to start with small containers or growing trays. So, that can be anything that can hold soil and has drainage holes.

This can be anything from yogurt containers or egg cartons that you poke holes in the bottom and place saucers underneath to catch the water that runs out.

You can get biodegradable starter trays, or there’s the option of using paper cups.

Using anything biodegradable is great because you don’t need to transplant anything. You simply place that little container, as-is, into the soil.

What Is Tomato Seed Germination Rate?

Each different plant has a different seed germination rate. So it is imperative to take that into account when you are starting your own garden.

When growing tomatoes from seeds, they generally have a seed germination rate of about 75%. So, in simple terms, if you plant 50 seeds, this means that only about 37 will be successful and germinate.

With the correct amount of light and optimal conditions, seeds should start germinating in 5 to 10 days.


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How Many Tomato Seeds Per Hole?

Working out how many seeds per hole to plant

It is important to remember that when you’re growing tomatoes from seeds, each seed tends to have a 25% chance of failing. With two seeds, the possibility of both failing simultaneously will drop to 6.25%.

Therefore, the germination rate of your tomato seeds will increase to 93.75%, so you have a higher chance of the tomatoes growing. Planting a bigger batch of about three seeds per hole will reduce the chances of all seeds failing to 1.56%.

However, you don’t want to overcrowd each hole to gain a variety of tomatoes.

So, the question is; how many tomato seeds per hole?

And the answer is; 2-3 seeds maximum per hole is recommended. If both or all seeds happen to germinate, all you need to do is pluck out the shorter or weaker sprout, giving the stronger one a better opportunity to grow.

While it is rather tempting to plant just one seed into each hole so that we don’t end up going through all the seeds in one planting, by doing this, there’ll often be empty spaces where nothing has sprouted in your garden or planter.

How many tomato seeds per hole for indoor or smaller areas?

If you are planting tomato seeds indoors or in a planter box, and you’re wondering how many tomato seeds per hole, then 2 seeds per hole will be sufficient.

How many tomato seeds per hole for larger outdoor areas?

If you are going to start with a larger batch in your backyard, and you’re wondering how many tomato seeds per hole, then I would recommend dropping 3 seeds in each hole.

How Deep To Plant Tomato Seeds

Now that you know how many tomato seeds to plant per hole, the next thing to work out is how deep to plant each seed. When growing tomatoes from seeds and starting them off in a container, you need to sow each seed ½ inch into the soil.

If you go deeper than this, you’ll be making it difficult for the seeds to start sprouting.

How Much Warmth And Light Will They Need To Grow

Growing tomato seeds thermometer to check temperature

Seeds tend to germinate well at around 70-75 degrees F, which is warm room temperature. If you place a heat mat underneath your containers, you will speed up the germination.

When your tomato plants have started growing, they prefer a cool room temperature of around 65 degrees F. Even though you can start growing tomatoes from seeds and position them on your sunny windowsill, the best results will come from an LED grow light.

Grow lights encourage plants to grow straight up rather than lean over to one side, which often happens when using natural sunlight.

  • You can help your plants by rotating them to keep them from leaning over to one side.
  • When your tomato seeds start to germinate and the first leaves start to show, a handy little tip is to brush your fingers over the leaves very gently every now and then throughout the day. Doing this will help stimulate a bit of wind, and in turn, strengthen the stems.

Summer sunshine is more intense than the winter or early spring sunlight, and there are more daylight hours. If there’s insufficient light, this can lead to fragile plants.

How Often To Water The Seeds

Watering seeds in hole in planting tray

When you first start planting tomato seeds in the container, initially, the seeds will need both nutrients and moisture to germinate. If you end up watering too much, the water tends to drain any of the nutrients in the soil, and you won’t get the maximum germination rate.

However, you need to water enough to remove all air gaps from the soil. Depending on the temperature and your location, when planting tomato seeds, you may have to water them daily, sometimes even twice a day.

I recommend using your spray bottle to water the seeds in the beginning stages to avoid any soil soaking. It’ll only need around 4-5 squirts. Then once the seeds start turning into plants, you can then switch to a small watering can.


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Harden Off

Harden off is when your plants transition from indoors to outdoors. As soon as the baby tomato plants have three or four sets of leaves, they are then ready to go through that transition period to be hardened off.

Once this period has been completed, your tomato plants will be more resilient and will be able to cope with windy conditions, temperature changes, and there won’t be a need to water as frequently.

Steps to do this

  • Gradually introduce your tiny plants to the outdoors for short periods each day.
  • Slowly increase the amount of time they are spending outside.
  • Give them about 7-14 days to adapt.
  • Start by placing them in a shaded and sheltered spot.
  • Don’t give them as much water. But water enough, so they don’t dry out.
  • Begin the harden off process during the day when the outside temperature is above 50 DegF.

When To Transplant Your Tomato Plants

Here are a few reasons you’d need to transplant your tomato seedlings from the container they started in, to a larger container or into your backyard.

  • If your tomato plants are around 4-5 inches tall.
  • When it’s time for each tomato plant to have its own space to grow.
  • If there is no more room for the roots to grow.
  • When you need to provide enough soil to bury the plant right up to its first leaves, so it has the opportunity to then develop a better root system.

How To Transplant Your Tomato Plants

Planting seedlings into the ground.

Before you go ahead and transplant anything, it’s important to note that you should avoid watering your tomato plants at all on the day you want to transplant them. This is because wet soil tends to stick to the roots.

And because wet soil is heavier, the roots are likely to break when you transplant. To avoid any disturbance or bruising, remember to be gentle with your young tomato plants.

  • Before you start digging holes or anything, work out how much space you’ll need around each tomato plant. Usually, the seed packets will give you the size of the plant when fully grown. If not, do a quick search online for the specific tomato plant you have chosen to grow. If your plants don’t get enough space, you’ll end up with fewer tomatoes because they’ll be fighting for space and sunlight.
  • Once you’ve worked out the amount of space, you’ll need for each plant, mark the spot on the ground for each plant. To get the maximum benefit from the sun, try planting then facing north-south.
  • Keep your new little plants in the biodegradable containers into which you planted the seeds. Dig holes in the ground for each container, making sure each hole is a little deeper than each container. Then place that container into the ground. Cover it with enough soil so that the first leaves are reached. But make sure you do not cover any of the leaves with soil.
  • Once they have all been transplanted into the ground and are settled in their spot, make sure you water them to avoid the soil getting too dry.

You may need to protect your tomato seedlings with plant covers if there’s frost. But if it all goes well, you can expect to harvest delicious ripe tomatoes within 8 weeks.


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Final Notes

Lifecycle of a tomato plant

Now you know that growing tomatoes from seeds is fun, easy, and affordable, it’s now time to roll up those sleeves and start on your little journey.

Knowing the germination rates and how many tomato seeds per hole will help ensure you get the most for your efforts.

Enjoy producing the best tomatoes you will ever taste! For more on gardening check out our site HomeTempus.com.