Growing inside is the only alternative for many space-constrained growers. But when it comes to tomatoes, is growing indoors possible?
It might be challenging to achieve the necessary circumstances for growing tomatoes inside. To produce flowers and fruit, plants need plenty of energy from sunlight – something not particularly abundant indoors. Yet it’s not impossible for dedicated gardeners.
You can effectively grow tomato plants inside for fruits all year long with minor tweaks to your indoor environment and additional monitoring.
Making It Work
Tomatoes thrive in warm regions with enough of sunshine (at least 6 hours each day). The plants may grow to be many feet tall and need lots of air circulation between the leaf branches. To grow well indoors, you’ll need to duplicate these circumstances as much as possible.
It may take some adjusting to get it to function, and you are not assured a good yield. In fact, even with all the right adjustments, you will not get as many tomatoes from your plant indoors compared to one placed outside.
That being said, you can still get plenty of tomatoes to use all year round. It’s also perfect for gardeners who don’t have access to outside space.
If you decide to take on the task of growing tomatoes indoors, there are a few things you should think about before you begin.
4 Things You Need To Consider
To properly grow tomatoes inside, you’ll need a bright window. Outdoors, tomatoes need 6-8 hours of light, but the quality of sunlight is not as strong through a window indoors as it is outside. To grow properly, your indoor tomato plants will need direct sunshine for around 10 hours every day.
If that is not an option, grow lights may be used to imitate sunshine. They are more costly and may require some adjustment as the plant grows, but they provide plenty of light throughout the day.
The two approaches may also be combined. If the plant hasn’t gotten enough sunshine on the windowsill during the day, use grow lights at night. The same principle applies in cloudy areas and in winter – the tomatoes will still get all the light they need, even if there isn’t enough outdoors.
Light is very vital throughout the early phases of development. Seedlings need a lot of light to develop quickly. Once the plant has matured, a bright window should provide enough light for the plant to produce fruit.
Temperature is another thing to monitor and maybe manage as the seasons change. Tomato plants like warmth and cannot tolerate chilly temperatures. The ideal temperature is around 80F, and not lower than 60F, to produce productive plants.
Put your tomato plants in the hottest place in the home or modify the temperature inside to make them and you more comfortable. Temperatures near windows may decrease dramatically in exceptionally cold weather, even though the average temperature inside is greater than outside. To reduce the possibility of cell damage, move the plants away from the windows for the evening.
Tomato plants need well-draining soil that has enough organic matter and nutrients to nourish them as they develop. As the nutrients in pots can deplete faster with increased watering (which the tomato plants will need as pots dry out faster), fertilize often as the plant grows to encourage the plants to produce more fruits.
Conversely, people interested in chemistry might utilize a hydroponic system. Raising tomatoes in water eliminates soil-borne illnesses and pests (although they are already less likely to spread indoors). Tomatoes are also one of the simplest plants to cultivate hydroponically, making them an excellent choice for novices.
Tomato plants may grow quite tall outside, considerably higher than your indoor environment permits. For your best chances of success, choose one of the smaller varieties suited to indoor growing inside a pot, such as dwarf or pot varieties.
If you are growing indoors for tomatoes year-round, choose an indeterminate variety – not a determinate one. Indeterminate types develop and yield fruits regularly, while determinate kinds mature all at once.
The Benefits of Growing Indoors
Growing tomatoes indoors may be quite beneficial if you handle all of these things.
Tomatoes, as previously said, dislike the cold. But, with controlled temperature indoors, frost is not a danger to your plants.
Outdoors, frost signals the end of your tomato plants and the tomato season. But, the season does not have to conclude inside. Fresh, juicy tomatoes are available all year. Even if you do harvest fewer tomatoes from your plant, you will be able to enjoy them year-round.
You’re also less likely to have insect and disease concerns. Unless you bring them indoors from outside, pests are unlikely to come across your tomato plants by chance. Infections caused by outside circumstances are likewise restricted. Pests and diseases can be incredibly difficult for tomato gardeners to combat – growing indoors largely solves that problem.
How to Grow Tomatoes Indoors
Now that you’ve decided, it’s time to start planting.
To begin, gather your seeds and a clean seed tray. Fill the tray with moistened seedling mix and sprinkle the seeds on top, pressing them lightly into the soil. Place the tray on a heating pad or in a warm place until the seeds sprout.
Once the seedlings show two sets of leaves, they can be transplanted into individual pots. Plant in a container with well-draining potting mix and place in a sunny position or under grow lights. To minimize growth difficulties, avoid damaging the roots while transplanting.
Water your pots as soon as the soil dries up, which should be every few days in the proper light and temperature. Unless you are using grow lights directly above the plants, you’ll need to rotate the pots frequently to ensure it grows adequately on all sides.
Fertilize the plants every few weeks in the early stages of development to provide sufficient of nutrients to the plants. Once the plant is fully grown, you can limit the fertilizing and choose a fertilizer designed for flowering plants.
While tomato plants self-pollinate, the absence of breeze inside may complicate the process. Gently shake the plant every few days to transfer the pollen or place a fan in front of the plant (but only for a short period as consistent drafts can damage the plant).
If the plant outgrows its container, repot it into a bigger one. If it starts to collapse over or flow over the edges of the pot, it may need staking for support. As the stems become out of hand (if you’re not cautious, your home will turn into a jungle), cut the plant down to a manageable size.
Your tomatoes will be ready to harvest in two to three months. Take the fruit off the vine before it ripens and leave it on an open counter until the tomatoes are ready to eat.
Growing tomatoes may not be as successful indoors as it is outdoors, but it is not impossible to get a consistent harvest from a healthy plant. It’s a struggle to get the circumstances just perfect, but given the advantages, it’s a task I’m willing to take.
Can you have tomatoes all year round?
Absolutely. They do, however, have certain unique needs. The biggest disadvantage of this technique of overwintering is that indoor tomato plants need a lot of sunshine. Yes, you can put the pots on a bright windowsill, but even in the brightest window, in most cases they will survive the winter with just a few scraggly leaves.
What are the disadvantages of growing tomatoes?
Cons of tomato cultivation –
- Vegetables like tomatoes have a significant crop loss since they are particularly perishable.
- Over output is a problem in certain locations.
- Crop losses due to severe rains are another problem.
- The many viruses that impair tomato production considerably are a huge issue.
Can tomatoes produce fruit year round?
A: Without a doubt! With the right care and conditions growing indoor tomatoes is not only possible but rewarding. Plant them inside and you’ll enjoy fruit all season.
What time of year do tomatoes stop growing?
Tomatoes thrive at temperatures ranging from 65°F to 85°F throughout the day. As the temperature rises over 95°F, they stop growing. If you live somewhere with a short growing season, it may be worth starting your plants indoors and transplanting them when the weather warms up.