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Before You Begin the Tomatosphere Project

This Resource is part of the Tomatosphere™ Program

Designed for: Grades K-8
For use by: Students, Teachers.
Learning Styles: Classroom based
Resource Type: Document, Guide

In real estate, the buzzword is “location, location, location”. With the Tomatosphere™ Project, “planning, planning, planning” is the key to success. The project does not require a great deal of planning, but implementing the following can lead to a much better result for your students.

  • Plan the timing for the project carefully. Because it takes approximately 5 -7 days for the first seeds to germinate, it is a good idea to plant late in the week – on Wednesday or Thursday. This way, your students will be present to see the first growth emerge.
  • Try to avoid school breaks (or religious holidays) early in the process when you might not have the opportunity to water the plants properly, or when the temperature in the school may be lowered (which may affect growth).
  • Plant your seeds in the spring or in the fall, and submit your results any time before the end of the calendar year. Seeds sent out with the February mailing are for the current year ONLY.
  • Order your supplies. You can order supplies from one of our supporters – –  Stokes Seeds or you can find what you need (mainly peat pots) at your local hardware store or garden supply store.
  • Plan your location for the experiment. ” The “Conducting the Tomatosphere Experiment” provides suggestions about classroom locations for your peat pots to assist in the germination process.
  • Consider inviting the media to your classroom to cover the project to see the results of the students’ work. Opportunities for good photos with the students occur when the seeds have just germinated or when the plants are ready for transplanting. We’d love to see your photos! Some of our participating educators tweet us their photos – using @1stThe Seed or post them at our Facebook page or simply send them to the Project Manager (
  • Inform the parents/guardians about the project using the suggested letter to be sent home with the students, or include the letter in a school newsletter.

Over the years, the Tomatosphere™ team has accumulated questions and comments from participating teachers. Our responses to the questions can be found at Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) here on the website.

In addition, the section called “Hints from your Colleagues” provides insights into practical classroom situations that have emerged during the experiment, and how past participants have adjusted their processes to compensate and make this an even better experience for students.