By Brandon Schoonover – S&FRS

Are you looking for ways for you and your family to save money on groceries?  Have you thought about planting your own vegetable garden or using the corner of your patio to grow vegetables in containers? Wisconsin Horticulture Division of Extension (https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/article-topic/vegetables/) provides a lot of useful information to grow your salad, rhubarb, container gardening, preventing pests, and more.  You and your family can tune into free webinars to learn about gardening, managing and caring for a lawn, and other topics that run about 30 minutes each (registration required – https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/mini-webinars-for-gardeners/ . 

My family and I like to grow tomatoes.  Cooler months are a great time to plant seeds indoors.  Once the seedlings are strong and there is no longer a risk for frost, seedlings can easily be planted outdoors into the garden or into containers.  Starting from seeds saves money.  A packet of seeds is less than purchasing seedlings at the store.  Here are a few of the tips that I use to grow, big, bright, juicy tomatoes:

  • When you plant your tomato seeds, give them plenty of space.  Tomatoes need room to grow.
  • Snip off or pull out the weaker plants to allow the strongest plants a chance to thrive.  When
  • Make sure you place your plants where they will have plenty of sunlight. If you are growing plants indoors In the winter months, the days are shorter and tomatoes need more sunlight.  Try and provide plants with 14 – 18 hours of light before transferring them outside to grow. 
  •  Place a fan by your indoor plants so they can sway and grow strong stems that will help them thrive once your plants are moved outside.
  •  Lastly, snip the leaves on the bottom of your plant, snip and prune the plant to ensure maximum sunlight to the plant, and water regularly.
  • When the soil temperatures are consistently 60 degrees, it is time to transplant your seedlings to the garden. 
  • Visit the Wisconsin Horticulture, Division of Extension for more tips to ensure that your seedlings flourish and produce and abundance of vegetable throughout the warmer months.