Sowing the seeds of tomato harvest

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It may be a while before any of us dare to put out our tomatoes, but now is the time to sow seeds indoors to work to a fruitful harvest later on.

Sow seeds now a quarter-inch deep in pots or trays of good, free-draining seed compost and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite or compost.

Ideally containers should be placed in a propagator at a temperature of 18-21C until after germination, which usually takes around a week to 10 days. If you don’t have a propagator, cover the pot with cling film and put it in a warm place such as an airing cupboard. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, tease them out of the original pot, holding the tip of the leaves, not the stem, and pot them individually into 8cm pots. Water well and keep them at 18C for a few days, gradually reducing the temperature to 15C.