I regularly visit a local Sunday Market and there’s an old guy with a long white beard who sells veggie and herb seedlings. At this time of year he does a roaring trade in tomatoes. Look at these:
The two punnets on the left are what I bought. Roma and Rouge de Marmande. I haven’t grown the latter variety before. My own spindly efforts are in the plastic dish on the right. He gets his seedlings from someone in a production nursery and pots them on for sale. He reckons they should be put outside as soon as possible, but out of the cold wind. This toughens them up, he says. They’re certainly tough-looking little b’s. Look at those thick stems! I sowed my seeds (inside) a fortnight later than his were sown and mothered them indoors until a week ago when they went into the polyhouse. They’ll be OK by the time the ground is warm enough to plant, though. I’m tempted to plant his seedlings out now, but no, I’ll wait till it’s really warmer. I’d hate to lose them in a late frost.