Grow Your Own Tomato Starts – Easy and Fun for Kids!

Tomato Salad and KidsMy husband always laughs when I talk about how much money we’ll save by growing our own food, and he has a good point! Planting a garden isn’t a cheap activity between soil, compost, fertilizer, seeds and starts!  Not to mention watering…

Anyways, I still consider myself a gardening novice having only started doing this about 8 years ago, but I learned this money-saving tip from a friend and it works great! This year I’m including my kids in this family fun process. I’m focusing on growing more food from seed instead of using starts, since it’s both cheaper and fun for the kids to see the whole growing cycle.

Also, while my kids will sometimes eat store-bought tomatoes, when the tomatoes are growing in our garden I can barely keep them on the branches because our kids eat them so fast! Garden fresh tastes so much better!

With just some soil and a salad you can join us in this family fun activity – it’s a good time for planting!


  • Large plastic clamshell salad container with lid
  • Potting soil
  • Tomato (one or more varieties, I do cherry tomatoes because they are fun to pick and eat)
  • Spray bottle
  • Shovel


  1. Poke about 8 small holes in the lid of the plastic container using a knife or scissors, to let air flow.
  2. Fill about 1/3 of container with soil.
  3. Cut tomato and remove seeds. The seeds are easier to handle if they are dried on a paper towel (probably would be even easier if they are left out overnight, but I never plan ahead enough for that).
  4. Poke seeds about ¼ inch deep into the soil, at least ½ inch apart.
  5. Spritz soil with water using spray bottle to moisten.
  6. Place in sunny window.
  7. Watch them grow! Keep soil moist by spritzing with water when needed.
  8. When plants are about an inch or two tall, transplant each to its’ own container (at least 3” big), filled with fresh potting soil. Dig a small hole for seedling. Using a spoon or fork gently lift root ball while supporting plant with other hand and place in new pot.
  9. Keep inside until night temperatures have warmed up to the mid 50’s.
  10. When ready to transplant in your garden or an outside container, acclimate your plant by placing it outside for a few hours in the sun. Do this for about a week, increasing the time outside each day until it is out all day.
  11. When planting, set plant into hole so that the stem is covered up to where the leafy branches begin.