There is nothing in this world that is like eating veggies from your very own garden and once you’ve done so, you’re not going to want to go back to store-bought. Even when the growing season is over, it is still possible to get your fresh veggies from your own hands.
However, many people ask: how can I grow tomatoes indoors? First, you’ll have to choose a variety that will grow indoors, then you will need to plant your seeds, you will have to take care of it, and then, in time, you can harvest and enjoy your crop!
When you grow tomatoes indoors, you have the ability to continue producing delicious tomatoes through the winter. This is also a great option if you don’t have the space outside to grow a garden. In this article, we’ll learn how to grow your own tomatoes indoors.
Sow Your Seeds
The first step in the process is to sow your seeds. Of course, there are a few steps to this, so let’s look at those.
- Choose a variety that is suited to grow indoors. There are several choices when it comes to tomatoes, especially the bush (determinant) and vining (indeterminant) varieties. There are advantages to both for indoor growth, so make sure you think about your purpose.
- Once you’ve decided which variety you want to grow, you’ll need to get your seeds and plant them in a starting mix. Get your seed starter mix/potting soil moist by adding fresh water. Get a seedling starter tray and fill the cells with your soil starter mix. Then poke a hole in each cell about 1/4” deep. Add 3 seeds to each hole and cover.
- You should plant your seeds a minimum of 60 days, but no more than 80 days, before you plan to harvest.
It’s important to note, if you don’t have access to a seed starter tray, you can use empty yogurt containers or cans. However, you must make sure you wash them well with a 1:10 bleach/water solution.
- Make sure that you are taking proper care of your seed so that it will germinate and turn into a seedling. This will typically happen within 10 days, sometimes as little as 5.
You will want to make sure the daytime soil temp is between 70 to 80 degrees. If you can’t get the area warm by your own ability, then consider getting a heat mat or find a sunny location to place your plant cells.
- Make sure to lift the lid and check on the seeds/seedlings regularly, watering when needed.
Once the seeds have become seedlings, you’ll need to make sure they are getting at least 8 hours of light daily. If they are not getting enough light, they get weak. The best thing to do is place the seed starter tray in a window that faces the south. If you don’t have that option, consider getting a fluorescent or grow light to provide the proper light for your seedlings.
Transplant & Fertilize Your Seedlings
Now that your seeds have sprouted into seedlings, it’s time to think about moving them to a larger pot. If they have at least one set of leaves, they are ready for transplant. You want to go ahead and put them in a container that will hold a mature plant. Ideally, you’ll want them in a 5-gallon container.
You’ll need to carefully remove the seedling from the starter tray by flipping it upside down and tapping on the bottom until the seedling comes out. Then, “tickle” the outer roots to loosen them up. You’ll then bury the seedling up to the fuzzy “hairs” at the base, which will later become roots. Then, water generously.
After transplanting your seedlings, you’ll need to make sure you’re watering them on a regular basis. Check for dryness by inserting your finger into the soil. If it’s dry, water it. If it’s try on top but still moist deeper down, you can water it later.
Next, you’ll want to make sure your plants are getting adequate light as well as adequate dark. If you don’t get direct sunlight, you will need to use artificial light and mimic the rising and setting of the sun. If you have trouble remembering when to turn them on and when to turn them off, you can invest in a timer.
Finally, make sure that you are providing the nutrients that your plants need. You’ll need to apply the first fertilization treatment within 2 weeks after transplantation. Then, repeat the fertilization process every few weeks until the plants are mature.
Now that your plants are becoming mature, you’ll need to train them by using a stake or trellis for indeterminant varieties. Once you’ve begun the training process to get them growing up the stake/trellis, you should help them with pollination.
Since you’re indoors, they don’t have the benefit of the birds, bees, and wind to spread their pollen, so you must do this. You can direct a fan towards them to mimic the wind, tap/shake the main stem of your plants with your finger, or use a cotton swab/paintbrush to spread the pollen from one plant to another.
Finally, it will be time to harvest your tomatoes. If you planted an indeterminate variety, it will be ready 60 to 80 days after planting. Then, the plants will continue to produce all season. When the tomatoes are vibrant red, yellow, or pink, you will know they are ready to be harvested and enjoyed.
There’s absolutely nothing more delicious than eating tomatoes that you’ve grown yourself. Now that you know you can grow them indoors, you don’t have to be disappointed when the growing season is over because- inside, it never ends!