Tomato plant is not the first plant I have ever grown but it is definitely my first big gardening expedition. I have grown different flowering plants, mint, curry leaves but never tried my hands on fruits and veggies. So when I decided to grow tomatoes last year, I definitely did not expect much of an outcome honestly. Not for once did I even think that I would not just be successful in keeping a tomato plant alive but harvest 50-60 tomatoes from it. Yes, you read it right. I successfully harvested ~60 tomatoes last year from plants grown from a single slice of tomato.
And I achieved this using a method called “Tomato propagation”. I came across this method last year while I was randomly surfing gardening stuff online. This is a method in which you can grow many, many tomatoes just by planting one slice of tomato. No exaggeration but when I read about it, it almost blew my mind. This method seemed so simple yet so rewarding that at one point I considered it to be too good to be true. But then I asked myself, “what’s too lose”? I am not investing much in it (just a slice of tomato), nor am I sacrificing any vacation plans to care for it (thanks to COVID19). So why not try it?
I finally decided to plant a slice of tomato last Spring 2020 which started my tomato growing expedition and ended in harvesting ~60 tomatoes in Summer 2020. I should not say it ended because it was the beginning of my resolution to grow tomatoes every year now. I recently planted a tomato slice again and I see them grow every day which brings me happiness, motivation and satisfaction.
So here I am sharing how I grew tomatoes using the propagation method. I hope it is helpful if you are planning to grow tomatoes or even motivate you to grow them if you are reluctant to do so. Remember that I am not a pro and if I can successfully grow them then so can you. Not to forget the final outcome not just brings tons of joy but some really delicious organic tomatoes. Also feel free to ask questions, share your gardening experiences with us in the comments section.
How to Grow a Tomato from a single slice of tomato
- To begin with, you will need a tomato (ofcourse). Now this can be any type- roma, beefsteaks, or even cherry tomatoes. Just make sure that they are a little ripe.
- Now fill a pot or container with potting soil, almost to the top of the container. Make sure the pot/container has a drainage hole in it.
- Take one or two thick slices (almost ¼ inch) of tomato. Lay them with their cut side facing down in the potting soil in the pot/container. The main idea behind is tomato seeds should be in contact with soil. As shown in the picture, if it is middle cut slice, both sides are exposed to soil. So direction does not matter. But if you are using end slices of tomato, make sure it is facing down, so seeds are exposed to soil.
- Lightly cover them with more potting soil. Don’t put too many slices in one pot. One or two slices per gallon pot is good enough. Trust me, you are going to get plenty of tomato seedlings.
- Water the pot containing sliced tomatoes. Do not add too much water. Just enough to keep the soil moist. The seedlings should begin to germinate within 14-21 days.
- Around 5 weeks, you should be able to see upwards of 15-20 tomato seedlings from one slice of tomato. When they are little bigger and have atleast 4 true leaves, it is time to transfer them.
- At this point, we need to transfer the seedlings to different pots so that they get enough space and nutrients to grow. Basically, we are avoiding them from competing with each other for space and nutrients.
- So select the strongest seedlings and transplant/transfer them to another pot in groups of four seedlings per pot. These pots should be atleast 5 gallon capacity.
- Now check them everyday. Once the transferred seedlings have grown a bit, compare their growth amongst each other per pot. If you think 1 or 2 seedlings are not growing properly or are weak, just remove them. This will allow the stronger seedlings to grow better since less competition.
- I usually add dry egg shells over the soil in the pot. It acts as a fertilizer and also helps to keep the bugs away. Once in a while, I also grind banana peels with water and add to the pot. These are some of the best plant foods and always helps with calcium deficiency in plants.
- After the transplant, they will start flowering in about 6 weeks as we see in the picture. Tomatoes are on their way.
- Once you start to see the tiny tomatoes, remove all extra leaves. This is important since it helps the fruit to grow more. We need to direct all the nutrients to the fruits. So removing extra leaves ensures that the fruits are getting enough nutrients.
- Finally by 3-4 months you will see fully grown and mature tomatoes. At this stage, you will be able to harvest the fruits of your hard work, patience and dedication. In other words, home grown, delicious and organic tomatoes.
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