PLANTING GUIDE




Now that you have secured your HEINZ Seedz, it’s time to get planting! Be sure to browse our HEINZ Tomato Expert created step-by-step guide on growing below, along with our FAQ. For more information on HEINZ Seedz, you can also download the PlantSnap app.

Step-by-step planting guide

HEINZ Tomato Seedz FAQ


Step-by-step guide to growing your HEINZ Tomato Seedz


For nearly 100 years, HEINZ has been testing, breeding and growing tomato varieties to develop redder, thicker tomatoes for their HEINZ Ketchup. All that tomato expertise has led to breeding dozens of successful tomato varieties, including HEINZ Tomato Seedz ’Early Resilience’ hybrid tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv. ‘Early Resilience’). These tomato seeds were bred to flower early and carry resistance to late blight, a disease that can quickly destroy a tomato crop. They are a great tomato plant for first-time gardeners, sitting low to the ground and growing up to 50 tomatoes on one plant!

Today, we want to walk you through the step-by-step process to grow these HEINZ Tomato Seedz (or any other at-home tomato variety) at home – no green thumb required!

Step 1: Identify your local "FrostFree" date


The frost-free date is the average date when there is only a small chance of a frost and varies by region. Since tomatoes don’t like the cold, you will begin growing your tomato seedlings indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before your local frost-free date. After the risk of frost has passed, you will transplant them outside in your garden or in pots on your patio.

The map below provides direction for the HEINZ Tomato Seedz plants:


Step 2: Pick where you will grow your Seedz and gather your supplies


When you start your seedlings indoors, they need lots of bright light near a window or supplemental lighting in order to sprout. Once the plants are outdoors, they will need at least six hours of bright light each day. Make sure you have the right conditions for your plant before you start growing tomatoes.

To start the seeds, you will need the following equipment:
  • Seeding container: small flowerpot (4-inch diameter) or a clean cell pack (see some examples below)
  • Light-weight potting mix high in peat moss (like a seedling starter mix)
  • Pencil
  • Watering can
  • Water soluble fertilizer, preferably high phosphorus (the middle number is phosphorus) like a flower booster 15-30-15 to help build strong roots. If you can’t find that, a standard water-soluble fertilizer would also work.


Once you are ready to transplant outdoors you have two options, a container or in a garden.

If you are planting in a container, you need…
  • At least a 16-inch pot (one for each tomato plant) with good drainage.
  • A good quality outdoor potting mix (NOT what was used for starting the seeds).

If you are planting in the garden, you will need…
  • To prepare the soil: when soil is dry enough to be worked, turnover 8 to 12 inches of soil with a garden spade to make a nice, level, weed-free growing area without a lot of soil clods.
  • Tip: a small amount of manure or compost can help!

Step 3: Plant your tomato seeds


Six to eight weeks before your frost-free date, it is time to plant your seeds indoors. First, secure your seeding container and fill it with your lightweight potting mix. Moisten the soil with a watering can. If using a 4-inch pot, use the pencil to poke four small holes around the perimeter of the pot and one in the middle. Fill each hole with two tomato seeds and cover with the potting mix. If using a cell pack, put 1-2 seeds in each cell.

You should start to see the seeds pop through the soil (germinate) after 7-10 days!

Now, we need to talk about three critical variables for starting seeds: temperature, light, and water.
  • Temperature – Before the plant pops out of the soil, try and keep your pot in a warm place (68-70 degrees), light is not important until after germination.
  • Light – After germination, light is the most important variable to track. Without enough bright light, you will end up with spindly tomato plants with a thin stem that may not survive outside. If you don’t have a grow light at home, the HEINZ Tomato Experts recommend rotating the plants to different windowsills throughout the day for full light exposure.
  • Water – With seedlings, water only when the top of the soil looks dry. Soggy soil will rot the seed or plant. And, don’t worry, if the seedlings wilt a little now and then, it builds a tough plant. What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger!

Starting within a few days after germination, fertilize your seedlings once a week to grow strong roots. HEINZ Tomato Experts recommend a water-soluble fertilizer that is low in nitrogen (first number) and high in phosphorus (middle number), something like 15-30-15. The standard water-soluble fertilizer (which is high in nitrogen) can also be used but be careful not to get the plants too tall since nitrogen builds leaves and stems!

If you see two plants next to each other, thin to a single plant to grow a healthier plant.

For the next four weeks, follow the above steps and you should see 2 to 3 inches of growth from your seedlings – congratulations!

Step 4: Nurture your seedling for transplanting


After four weeks comes the next critical step: hardening your plants. You will eventually transplant your tomatoes outdoors and to prepare them for this harsh change, we need to start hardening them against the outdoors so they will survive. Start bringing your plants outside during the day and bring them back inside at night, especially if you live in an area that gets below freezing at night.

By the time your frost-free date arrives, you should see 6-8 inches of growth (after about 6-8 weeks), and you’re ready for the next step!

Step 5: Transplant your plant outdoors


Here is where you have two options: transplant to a garden OR to a 16-inch pot – both are great options and treated nearly the same for the transplant.

  1. If you started your seedlings in a 4-inch pot, and all went according to plan, you should see five healthy seedlings. Remove all 5 from the pot and gently pull apart their root systems so you can follow the above step for each plant. If you used a cell pack, keep one plant per cell and leave the roots intact.

  2. Dig a deep enough hole in your garden or 16-inch pot that you can bury your plant so only 2-3 inches are showing above the soil. We do this to give a sturdier plant with more root spread. Remember, only 1 plant per pot.


Over the next month, while the plants establish themselves, continue with 7-10-day fertilizer applications using a water soluble.

Once the plants are planted outdoors, water is the most critical variable. If you water too frequently, the roots will grow toward the top of the soil and prone to Blossom End Rot. Strategic watering will encourage a strong root system by making it grow to the water. An occasional wilt is not a big problem early on, but once you start to see a few small flower buds (25 days or so after transplanting), plants should not be allowed to wilt. Also, the soil can’t be kept too wet, so stick your finger in the soil, let the top inch of the soil dry a bit.

Step 6: Harvest


After another 4-6 weeks, you should begin to see tomatoes starting to on your plant! Our HEINZ Tomato Seedz grow up to 50 tomatoes per plant but this will vary be growing conditions, climate.

Step 7: Prepare for next year


When you are done harvesting your tomatoes, be sure to pull your plant out of your 16-inch pot or the ground and compost it. It could carry over diseases to next year’s crop if you don’t!

HEINZ Tomato Seedz FAQ

Click on a question to reveal the answer

For nearly 100 years, HEINZ has been testing, breeding and growing tomato varieties to develop redder, thicker tomatoes for their HEINZ Ketchup. All that tomato expertise has led to breeding dozens of successful tomato varieties, including HEINZ Tomato Seedz ’Early Resilience’ hybrid tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv. ‘Early Resilience’). These tomato seeds were bred to flower early and carry resistance to late blight, a disease that can quickly destroy a tomato crop. They are a great tomato plant for first-time gardeners, sitting low to the ground and growing up to 50 tomatoes on one plant!

Where you live in the United States dictates when you can plant your tomatoes because the final frost date fluctuates by region. If you will be transplanting your plant to a garden (more on this below), try and plan 6-8 weeks ahead of the final frost; if you are planting in a pot, that is not as important.

The below map provides direction for the HEINZ Tomato Seedz plants, so if you’re planting another variety, be sure to do your research.

To start the seeds, you will need the following equipment:

  • Seeding container: small flowerpot (4-inch diameter) or a clean cell pack (see some examples below)
  • Light-weight potting mix high in peat moss (like a seedling starter mix)
  • Pencil
  • Watering can
  • Water soluble fertilizer, preferably high phosphorus (the middle number is phosphorus) like a flower booster 15-30-15 to help build strong roots. If you can’t find that, a standard water-soluble fertilizer would also work.

Once you are ready to transplant your tomato plant (more on that later), if you have a garden, you will need more soil, a spade, and a watering can. If you don’t have a garden, you will need the same materials plus a 16” pot (one for each tomato plant). In either scenario, you can also use fertilizer, but again, not necessary.

Six to eight weeks before your frost-free date, it is time to plant your seeds indoors. First, secure your seeding container and fill it with your lightweight potting mix. Moisten the soil with a watering can. If using a 4-inch pot, use the pencil to poke four small holes around the perimeter of the pot and one in the middle. Fill each hole with two tomato seeds and cover with the potting mix. If using a cell pack, put 1-2 seeds in each cell.

A four-inch pot.

After germination (sprouts out of soil), light is the most important variable to track. Without enough bright light, you will end up with spindly tomato plants with a thin stem that may not survive outside. If you don’t have a grow light at home, the HEINZ Tomato Experts recommend rotating the plants to different windowsills throughout the day for full light exposure.

Once the plants are outdoors, they will need at least six hours of bright light each day.

Try and keep your pot in a warm place (68-70 degrees), it is more important to expose the plant to bright light.

With seedlings, water only when the top of the soil looks dry. Soggy soil will rot the seed or plant. And, don’t worry, if the seedlings wilt a little now and then, it builds a tough plant. What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger!

Once the plants are planted outdoors, water is the most critical variable. If you water too frequently, the roots will grow toward the top of the soil and prone to Blossom End Rot. Strategic watering will encourage a strong root system by making it grow to the water. An occasional wilt is not a big problem early on, but once you start to see a few small flower buds (25 days or so after transplanting), plants should not be allowed to wilt. Also, the soil can’t be kept too wet, so stick your finger in the soil, let the top inch of the soil dry a bit.

You should see germination 7-10 days after planting the seeds.

When you are first planting your seeds, you need to use a potting mix low in peat moss or a seedling starter mix. When you are transferring the plant outside, make sure to use outdoor potting mix.

The best fertilizer depends on the stage of your tomato growth. Before we talk about the type of fertilizer for your tomatoes, here is a quick crash course in fertilizing:

  • If a fertilizer has a ‘low first number’, that means it is a low nitrogen fertilizer and is likely a bloom booster encouraging roots and flowers.
  • If it has a high first number, that means a high nitrogen level and promotes plant growth.
  • If it has a high middle number, it is high in phosphorus and promotes roots and flowers.

Now, onto tomato fertilizer!

Before moving your plant outdoors, establishing strong roots is critical, so we recommend using a flower boosting fertilizer with high phosphorus. Once the plant is outdoors, the HEINZ Tomato Experts recommend a good general water-soluble fertilizer, balanced, but with a higher first number. Avoid over-fertilizing by only fertilizing once a week and when the tomato starts flowering, stop fertilizing all together.

Hardening is the process of slowly preparing your plant to fight the outdoor elements. When your seeds are starting to sprout, it is important to give them the right conditions to succeed by controlling the temperature, light, and water. Once they get bigger, they need to move outside to finish growing, but need to be prepared for the adjustment to the uncontrolled climate.

Great question! No, you do not. You can transfer your plant outside to a 16-inch pot instead. Make sure you have one 16-inch pot for every two HEINZ Tomato Seedz you planted.

After approximately 6-8 weeks, when you 6-8 inches of growth.

It needs more room to grow and produce juicy, red ripe HEINZ tomatoes!

Here is where you have two options: transplant to a garden OR to a 16-inch pot – both are great options and treated nearly the same for the transplant.

  1. If you started your seedlings in a 4-inch pot, and all went according to plan, you should see five healthy seedlings. Remove all 5 from the pot and gently pull apart their root systems so you can follow the above step for each plant. If you used a cell pack, keep one plant per cell and leave the roots intact.
  2. Dig a deep enough hole in your garden or 16-inch pot that you can bury your plant so only 2-3 inches are showing above the soil. We do this to give a sturdier plant with more root spread. Remember, only 1 plant per pot.

Over the next month, while the plants establish themselves, continue with 7-10-day fertilizer applications using a water soluble.

After another 4-6 weeks, you should begin to see tomatoes growing on your plant! Our HEINZ Tomato Seedz grow up to 50 tomatoes per plant.

When you see red, juicy, ripe tomatoes!

There are a few issues all gardeners need to be aware of: Blossom End Rot and Blight, but there are others that depend on where you live in the United States.

Blossom End Rot (BER)

Blossom End Rot is not a disease, it is mostly caused by underwatering (but overwatering at certain times can also cause it) leading to a lack in calcium getting to the fruit soon after the flower is pollinated. Calcium dissolved in the water is taken up by the roots and is needed to help the tomato create cellular structure in the fruits. If you don’t have enough water, water movement isn’t as easy for the plant, so it does not intake the calcium well. If you see BER the dry spell was likely 4-6 weeks ago. Watch your watering to prevent the below photo from happening!



Blights

There are two types of blight: early blight and late bligh. Both are caused by distinct fungi but both are a problem when the foliage is damp from evening watering/rain or heavy dews. Late blight is the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine and can be devastating to a tomato crop, too. HEINZ bred their ‘Early Resilience’ HEINZ Tomato Seedz to be resistant to this type of blight! The other type is early blight (see photo below), which is an entirely different beast. If you see it, you can get a handle on it with a general fungicide.



If you live in…

The Midwest or Northeast, you need to watch out for Colorado Potato Beetles. These nasty round, striped beetles can devour plants.

In California, your largest concern are root-related pests. One that is common in sandy soils are Nematodes which are microscopic roundworms that invade the roots of the plant and form galls on them. This limits the plant’s ability to absorb water so above ground you see wilting in the afternoons even when the soil is wet. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to combat these because they are likely found in your garden soil.

Pull your tomato plant out of the ground or pot and compost it! Do not leave it in the ground – it can ruin the soil for next year’s growing season.





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