Get Fresh

Follow these simple steps now, courtesy of Mahoney’s Garden Center manager Mark Cutler, for juicy homegrown tomatoes come August.

homegrown tomatoes

Illustrations by Liz Noftle

1. Pick a Winner: Cutler recommends planting Brandywine heirloom or Sungold cherry tomatoes for maximum flavor.

homegrown tomatoes

2. Find a Home: Use a seed-starter kit with small fiber pots or egg-carton-like trays. The NK Lawn & Garden Mini-Greenhouse ($8), for example, has a plastic top to keep moisture in.

homegrown tomatoes

3. Hit the Dirt: Avoid using ordinary potting soil, which is too dense for seedlings and may cause root rot. Instead, fill your trays with a lightweight seed-starting mix.

tomatos 4

4. Heat Things Up: Seedlings need sun to grow, so if you don’t get much, invest in a grow light.

tomatos 5

5. Protect and Serve: Place the trays in a warm, humid area, or cover them with a glass bell to simulate a greenhouse environment. Mist regularly.

tomatos 6

6. Divide and Conquer: Start separating plants once the adult leaves (the ones with serrated edges) begin to form.

tomatos 7

7. Trade Up: When at least three sets of adult leaves appear, move the seedling to a 4-inch pot and fill with soilless potting mix. Continue to provide ample heat and light.

tomatos 8

8. Head Outside: The plants are ready for open air once the temperature stays above 50 degrees. Start them in partial shade, then transfer to 14-inch pots and move to full sunlight.




In This Section

View the Current Issue of Boston Home

View the Current Issue of Boston Home

Best of Boston Home 2017

Best of Boston Home 2017

Our 10th annual guide to the finest local designers and resources in the region.

Inspiration Galleries

Inspiration Galleries

Inspiration for your home: stunning local kitchens, solutions to combat cabinet clutter, and more!