We have asked master gardener Jim Mast to share his tomato growing experience from seedlings to final fruit. Here is his second post as he gets his tomato seed sprouting process together.

The next project for growing tomatoes is assembling the Grow Light System. It snaps together easily. The light can move up and down because it should be only 1-2 inches above the plants at all times. I attached the timer and set it for 16 hours on and 8 hours off each day.

The heating mat goes under the tray to keep the baby plants at a comfy 75 degrees.

Now comes the fun part–planting the seeds in the Jiffy Pellets in the tray–a few seeds in each pellet. So many tomato varieties are available. For now I chose Black Krim, Early Girl, an heirloom mix (includes Kellog’s Breakfast, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, and others)
Stupice, Taxi, and Tigerella. The labels are in place, and I added some water. Looks like all systems are go–or is that grow?

Contributed by Jim Mast

mast blog2

The grow light frame for the seedling sprouting process.


Seeds are placed in soil pods inside mini greenhouse with warming pad underneath. Grow light is hung close above.


Tomato seeds are inside moist pods. Keep track of different varieties planted with marked sticks.