Growing Tomatoes Indoors Growing Tomatoes Indoors

Who says you need a yard with a garden to grow your own tomatoes? People have been happily and successfully growing tomatoes inside their homes for years and so can you. Here's how to grow your own tomatoes inside your own home.

Pick the right spot

  • Tomatoes need light and heat to grow so you'll need to choose a spot that gets lots of sunlight and doesn't get any cold drafts (well away from air conditioner outlets for example).
  • Consider hanging a pot in front of a window to avoid taking up floor space or placing a plant shelf in front of a window to keep your tomato pot off the floor.

Preparing to plant

  • Tomatoes need space to grow, so your tomatoes will need a large pot. A five gallon pail makes a very practical (but not very attractive option), or you can get a more attractive but similar capacity planting pot from your garden center.
  • Whichever pot you choose it needs to have three or four holes in the bottom (for drainage) and should fit onto or into something to capture and hold excess moisture.
  • A layer of rocks on the bottom of the pot will allow excess water to drain down and out of your pot.
  • Use either regular potting soil mixed with organic material and a balanced fertilizer for your tomatoes or a tomato specific growing soil available from home and garden centers. Your soil needs to have some moisture retaining material in it to prevent the pot from drying out too quickly.

Choosing your tomato plants

  • Many gardening experts suggest the best type of tomatoes for indoor growing are "indeterminate" cherry or plum varieties. These will ripen quickly and produce an ongoing harvest of fruit, while a determinate type of tomato will only produce a single crop, then stop.

Caring for your Indoor tomatoes

  • Strong, healthy tomatoes need lots of light so in addition to locating them in a sunny area, try to turn your pot(s) daily so you can be sure your plants are getting sun on all sides.
  • Tomatoes also need warmth so you will need to keep your room temperatures between 65° and 85° F. If you drop the overnight temperature in your house below 65° F, consider setting a space heater near your plants or put the pots on a heat mat.
  • Water your pots regularly/daily but avoid over watering that will leach nutrients and could cause root rot. Try to water the soil and not the leaves.
  • Since even careful regular watering will take some nutrients out of the reach of the roots, adding some fertilizer every two weeks will give the plants all they need to grow.
  • Indoor tomatoes can't rely on the wind and insects for pollination so you need to the job yourself. Tapping the plant stems each time you water or placing a fan near the plantswill do it.
  • As your plant develops, pinch off suckers to help direct the plant's energy to the main stem.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer whose work has appeared on numerous web sites, as well as in newspapers and books in both the US and Canada. He has been quoted as an expert on home related topics in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal.

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