Growing Tomatoes – Do you wonder how to grow tomatoes indoors? Well, tomato is a staple food that’s eaten by masses. The red berry-type fruit can be taken raw, eaten cooked, used in salads to sauces, pastas to pizzas.
While they are considered a culinary vegetable, tomatoes are technically fruits. The best part, however, is that you can sow, grow and harvest them right in the comforts of your home.
Tomatoes grow well as window-sill plants and can be produced in containers or pots with 6-inch depth. You can grow tomatoes in pots also. All you need is seeds, starter mix, soil, and fertilizer. For growing tomatoes in your own home, follow these tips.
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How to grow tomatoes indoors?
Here’s what you should do? Select the right variety of tomato that can thrive indoors– Between the indeterminate and determinate varieties of tomato, the former is ideal for indoor gardening, as it produces fruit throughout the season. Some of the varieties of indoor growing tomatoes are as follows:
- Heirloom Indeterminate – Pink Ping Pong, Yellow Pear, Silvery Fir Tree, Tommy Toe and Siberia.
- Hybrid Indeterminate – Orange Pixie Tomato, Totem, Patio, Micro Tom, Small Fry Tiny Tim and Ref Robin are the recommended varieties.
Before planting the seeds for indoor tomatoes make sure that the container is thoroughly washed and that you are sowing ten to twelve months before the harvesting season. The procedure for sowing is mentioned below,
- Use fresh water to moisten the potting soil.
- Fill the soil evenly in seeding starter tray.
- Poke ¼ inch deep holes in the soil for each cell.
- Plant about 8 to 10 seeds into each of the holes and cover them with the moist soil.
Allow for proper germination of seeds, which takes around 5-10 days. For this,
- Immediately cover the seeds with plastic wrap after sowing.
- Move the tray to a warm location, regularly maintaining a daytime temperature of 70 to 80 degree Fahrenheit. Water the seeds.
For their ideal growth tomato plants require 12 to 16 hours of light every day. Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the lid or the plastic wrap and provide them with ample light. If you have a south-facing window, just place the tray directly in front of it or use indoor grow lights for achieving the same.
However, while using artificial lights make sure that the lights are placed a few inches above the seedlings so that there is ample space for the tomato plants to grow. If you want to set a container gardening and looking for container plants then tomato is also a great option.
Transplant into larger pots
Once the indoor tomatoes’ seedlings have grown a couple of sets of leaves; it is an indication that you should transplant the seedlings into larger pots. This can be done in the following manner;
- Carefully take out the indoor tomatoes’ seedlings from their cells without damaging them.
- Plant the seedlings up till their fuzzy hair-like roots and water them generously.
Meanwhile, ensure that you,
- Water regularly – After transplantation keeps watering the plant regularly to prevent the soil from drying out. However, avoid overwatering. Stick your fingers into the soil to assess how much dry it is and water accordingly.
- Create day and night lighting condition – Although growing tomato plants require plenty of light for their optimal growth, they even require a brief period of darkness as well. So, either keep them on a windowsill or use indoor lights to mimic natural patterns.
- Fertilize properly – Since, indeterminate varieties of tomato plants bloom throughout the season, it is essential that you fertilize them properly to sustain their intense cycle. The fertilizer treatment should be first applied within two weeks of transplanting and should be continued every few weeks until the tomato plants mature. Always use a fertilizer that contains a high level of phosphorus.
Training your tomato plants to grow up
Since indeterminate tomato plants are natural climbers, they can be trained to grow up approximately a month after being transplanted. You follow the below-mentioned steps to achieve the same.
- When using a single stake or a single- string trellis, train the main stem. For this, attach the stem with a support device consisting of twines at every six to eight inches. Avoid damaging the plant by tying the twines in loose knots. Snap off the vines appearing between the main stem and branches by using your fingers.
- If a cage or multi-string trellis is being used, follow the first procedure. The only difference would be that you will not snap off the first three to four suckers that appears on the plant. Instead, train these suckers by tying them to the trellis or cage every six to eight inches, as they keep on growing. Rest, prune all the new suckers that grow on the plant.
As you are growing tomatoes indoors, you will have to manually stimulate the process of pollination, which would otherwise have been initiated by the bees, birds, and the wind if the tomato plants were growing outdoors. This can be done by-
- Directing a fan towards growing tomatoes to mimic the rhythm of the wind.
- Tap or shake the main stem of the tomato plants gently using your fingers.
- Use a paintbrush or cotton swabs to manually pollinate the indoor growing tomatoes.
Gathering the harvest
In general, within two to three months of planting, the indeterminate tomato plants start producing fruits, and they keep on doing so all season long. Therefore, once the indoor tomatoes have turned evenly red, yellow, or pink, it is an indication that they have ripened. To further ensure, check if they are slightly soft by gently squeezing them. So, harvest ripened ones.
Tomato Plants can be grown indoors without much of hassle. Moreover, they provide fresh produce for the family. So, try growing tomatoes now!
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