Tomatoes are not only tasty, juicy and delicious, but are also full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, K, and B6 together with potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. And, don’t ignore the fiber, because one serving will give you two grams! No wonder why almost everyone loves to eat this vegetable.
The biggest problem, however, is obtaining the freshest and the best. Unless you live in an area where the sun shines throughout the year, you may need to learn how to grow tomatoes inside, which requires patience, skills and experience. Learn, adapt and master the technique so you can grow the most juicy and delicious.
If you’re a beginner, this can be a complicated process. Thankfully, there are plenty of helpful resources online that can help you develop a green thumb. Below, you will discover the 10 most helpful tips for growing tomatoes indoors. With this information, you’ll be able to enjoy tomatoes throughout the year!
Grow on the windowsill.
At first glance, you may think a greenhouse is required, but this is not the case. In fact, growing these vegetables on a windowsill is actually the easiest and least costly way to grow tomatoes in doors.
"While a window is the easiest and cheapest place to grow tomatoes inside, make sure it faces south to allow enough light. Watch out for drafts to keep plants warm." Source: tomatodirt.com
Pick the right variety.
Sometimes, choosing the right variety of tomato is more important than right placement. Unsurprisingly, some types of tomatoes are smaller and able to thrive in an indoor environment.
"You will have the most success at growing indoor tomatoes if you choose varieties that perform better inside. You need smaller varieties that will have room in indoor settings. Small upright varieties are ideal."
Choose the perfect container.
Choose an area of your home that will provide the perfect sunlight, but you first need to choose a bucket that is large enough to hold your plants. A five or ten gallon bucket should be sufficient for your indoor gardening needs.
“A large-enough container will be needed at the outset, too. Choose a 5-gallon container at a minimum and 10 is even better to support the rather massive winter-long growth that will accumulate.”
Watch for spider mites.
Although indoor tomatoes are invulnerable to most pests and bacteria, there is still one major problem that they could potentially face, spider mites.
“Outdoor tomato plants have a lot of foes to battle, including fungal, bacterial, and insect pests. Indoor tomato plants don't have to worry too much about most of them, especially the infamous Phytophthora infestans, also known as late blight, that pathogen that wiped out the potatoes in Ireland and caused a nationwide ruckus in 2009. But indoor tomatoes (any indoor plants, really) do have to watch out for spider mites in particular (but here's a good link with some basic information on the most common houseplant pests).” Source: digthedirt.com
Begin with a fresh seed-starting mixture.
Sometimes, it is more important to choose the right foundation. With this, you’ll have a good starting point, where your seeds will be able to thrive. It's a nutritious environment that will only help your tomato plants grow.
“Start with fresh seed-starting mix. A soilless mix is best. They are usually peat-based, but with consciousness about non-sustainable peat lately, coir is often used. This is not any old potting soil; it’s specially formulated for seedlings.” Source: awaytogarden.com
"You can take it even further by amending your potting mix with bone meal, blood meal, lime, and a host of other supplements, depending on the nutritional needs of your plants." Source: gardenbetty.com
Start with the seeds.
By choosing tomato seeds over plants, you will be able to practice indoor gardening and analyze the entire experience. It is vital that you maintain a soil temperature of 60 to 80 degrees, which will allow the seeds to germinate.
“Tomato seeds are almost always started indoors—whether in a greenhouse or a sunny window ledge—and then transplanted to beds once they have at least a few leaves and an established root system. Starting seeds indoors is optional with many vegetables, but tomato seeds need a constant soil temperature of at least 60 degrees, and preferably 80 degrees, to germinate.” Source: modernfarmer.com
Give the seeds even sunlight.
Positioning of your plants is crucial. See to it that they all receive equal amount of sunlight. This will prevent them from leaning towards the sunlight and will ensure the plant will grow quickly. This is ESPECIALLY important when the plant is about to bear fruit.
“The tendency is often to keep the seeds in one position and just water them. When you do that, you’ll notice your seeds start to develop a lean to them. That’s because they are stretching towards the sun. To prevent that rotate the seed tray every few hours. That should help to straighten them out.” Source: urbanorganicgardener.com
Grow with lights.
With the appropriate lighting system, it will be possible to grow tomatoes throughout the year. However, you have to set up the lighting system in the appropriate manner. LED grow lights are a little pricey, and they can be used for all types of plants. LED grow lights are NOT a necessity and are strictly optional.
"Grow lights should provide the proper spectrums of light for photosynthesis which is the key to plant growth. Violet-blue light offers a light in the 400 - 520 nanometer range that encourages chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis and growth. Red light in the 610 - 720 spectrum range promote flowering and budding." Source: lampsplus.com
Select indeterminate varieties.
It is imperative to select the appropriate types of tomatoes. In order to do this, you should research the individual types and select one that will grow indefinitely.
“Better options for indoor winter tomatoes are “indeterminate” varieties, those that continue growing and producing indefinitely. Furthermore, I’ve found that cherry and plum types, bearing small fruits in abundance, are more productive than large slicing types.”
Watering properly is the key to fruitful indoor tomatoes. With adding more soil, you’ll need to add more water. It is vital that you constitute the right amount of water into the soil, in order to prevent the plants from drying up or rotting away.
"The number 1 rule of watering tomatoes is to make sure that you go slow and easy. Never rush watering tomato plants. Use a drip hose or other forms of drip irrigation to deliver water to your tomato plants slowly."
Although growing tomatoes indoors and other cost-effective vegetables can be very difficult, perfecting the process is certainly worth the effort.
You’ll be able to benefit from the nutritious value, as well as the costly savings all year long.