Although the growing season is over, winter conditions should not prevent you from enjoying fresh homegrown tomatoes. Even though the temperature outside is dropping, indoor climates are still warm enough to support tomato plants at this time of year. All you need are the right supplies and plenty of sunlight to produce a delicious supply that will last the entire season. Use this how-to guide to grow your own tomatoes indoors.
Because growing tomato plants indoors has a number of requirements, it’s critical to plan ahead of time to ensure you have the proper setup. This means finding a place in your home that supports the growth of tomato plants, then ensuring the proper tools are on hand to help ensure a successful outcome.
- Find the Perfect Place: Tomatoes won’t effectively grow indoors unless the conditions are like those of an outdoor garden. The plants require at least eight hours of sunlight per day and a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Consider a location near a window sill or a screen door. If you’re worried your plant won’t get enough sunlight, special grow lights will do the trick.
- Purchase the Right Supplies: Not all tomatoes grow well indoors; keep this in mind when purchasing seeds. Consider smaller varieties – plum and cherry tomatoes are your best bet for quick ripening. Vining plants (“indeterminates”) are ideal for the indoors, though they take up more space than bush plants (“determinates”). You should also purchase the following:
- Starting trays
- Starting mix
- Potting mix
- Plant stakes
Planting and Tending
After you have everything you need, it’s time to sow your seeds. Although the growth process may seem straightforward, it only works if you are completely devoted. Without the natural circumstances of the outdoors, you must aid with germination and pollination, as well as watering and rotating the plants.
- Plant Seeds for Germination: Seeds must germinate before they may begin to develop fully. To initiate this process, plant seeds in a starting tray with starting mix. Place the tray in a warm place like on top of the refrigerator or on a heating pad, and water it each day to keep the seeds moist. Germination typically takes five to ten days, at which time the plants will have sprouted.
- Move Seedlings into Pots: When the seeds have grown and become seedlings, transplant them into one of the pots you purchased. This leaves lots of space for expansion (one seedling per pot). You don’t want to damage the roots, so proceed with caution. Surround the seedlings with potting mix, and move the pots to the sunny place you picked out earlier. The tomato plants will mature in this location.
- Nourish the Plants: As the plants continue to grow, turn them once a day or so to make sure all sides are getting a good amount of sunlight. You will only need to water them when the soil becomes dry. Lightly fertilize the plants every few weeks or according to the manufacturer’s directions to provide the remaining nutrients they need.
- Assist in Their Growth: Bees and birds pollinate tomato plants outside, assisting them in fruit development. But, this is not the situation inside, and your aid is required. Once flowers bloom, tap the stems lightly each day (a cotton swab also does the trick) to spread pollen. Provide the plants with the space they need as they develop. Stake the vines to keep them in place, then move them to larger pots when they outgrow their existing ones.
Indoor tomato plants typically produce fruit in 60 to 80 days, which is about the same amount of time as they do outdoors. With all the time and effort it takes to grow tomatoes (and how delicious they are when ripe), you’ll want to make sure you pick them at the right time. But don’t stop there; keep the cycle continuing all winter!
- Harvest Tomatoes Before They’re Ripe: You may believe it’s time to harvest tomatoes when they’re red, since that’s when we purchase them at the store. But you want to pluck them while they’re still green, so they can completely ripen later. Grab a tomato near the stem and twist to break it off.
- Keep the Cycle Going: Tomato plants often bear fruit over a long period of time. Don’t allow your adventure with indoor tomato gardening finish with a single crop. Tend to the plants over the course of the winter, and you could end up with delicious tomatoes to last you the entire season.
Jobe’s Organic Products: Your Indoor Gardening Go-To
Don’t worry if the winter circumstances are too severe to produce tomatoes in your garden. Indoor tomato growing is a great solution, and it only takes a trip to the store and a bit of routine upkeep to reach a full harvest. Nothing beats luscious fresh tomatoes, so get started this winter with Jobe’s Organics® gardening supplies and you’ll have enough to go around.
Can you grow tomatoes indoors with LED lights?
Indeed, tomatoes can be grown inside under LED lights. LEDs are becoming more popular because they are more energy-efficient than other types of grow lights.
Why my tomato plant is not flowering?
Tomatoes flourish in warm conditions, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Excessively high temperatures (anything over 80F) for extended periods of time lead tomato plants to cease blooming and fruiting. This is a sort of self-preservation, an effort to save water and energy in order to stay alive.
How many hours of light do indoor tomatoes need?
The plants need a good eight hours of sunlight per day and a surrounding temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Consider a location near a window sill or a screen door.
How many hours of light should tomatoes get?
Tomato plants need at least six hours of full sun exposure every day, but if you want to obtain the greatest results, improve output, and develop tastier fruits, you should strive for at least eight hours of sun per day.