Growing tomato plants indoors can be a very rewarding experience for those who have no means of planting an outdoor garden. If you are living in an apartment or condo and have a supportive window sill or balcony, or have some other similar arrangement, you can successfully grow tomato plants using the following method.
What you will need.
- Plug plants or seeds
- Seedling compost or grow bags
First you must decide what kind of tomatoes you want to grow. For indoor growing the best choice is Bush or Cherry tomatoes. Bush plants will grow from three to four feet tall, and are best suited for those who have a balcony with enough space for the pots. Cherry tomato plants are another excellent choice, as they are small and compact, and can be placed on a window sill in small pots. Note that Cherry tomato plants in this scenario must be diligently watered and well fed in order to thrive.
The simplest way to begin your project is to buy plug plants from your local garden or DIY store. You can buy plug plants that have already been cultivated, and then all you would need are planting pots and regular compost, which you can get as all-in-one “grow bags”. Grow bags are convenient because all of the nutrients that will be needed for the tomato plant’s first six weeks of existence are already prepared. If you want to start with the seeds themselves, you should buy seedling compost as well in order to have the correct soil mix to begin with.
Steps to follow if planting with seed.
1. Start with small pots or nursery trays and fill them completely with your seedling compost.
2. Plant about 6-8 seeds to the inch and roughly a quarter inch deep (Don’t worry about exact measurements).
3. Use something to cover up your seedlings so they do not dry out (e.g. clear plastic bags secured around the pots with elastic bands work well; you can also opt to use a propagator tray).
Tomato seeds germinate at temperatures of about 80 degrees, and grow well in temperatures somewhat less than that (70-75 degrees). Do not germinate your seeds on a window sill unless you are prepared to keep diligent watch. Extreme changes in temperature can prove damaging. Generally, you want to germinate your seeds in an environment with a constant temperature and good lighting. As this is not always possible, you may want to use a small, low-heat grow light for indoor germination during times of extreme weather change.
Your seedlings should appear after about 5 to 13 days, and when they do, you can remove the plastic cover and place the sprouts under decent lighting to encourage healthy growth. When they have reached the height of about one and a half inches, you should then transplant the sprouts, placing each sprout in a separate 6 inch pot or container. Water the sprouts regularly, and when you see flowers start to appear, begin to feed them with tomato fertilizer on a weekly basis. As the plants grow, continue to transplant them into larger size pots. Note that if you are using a grow bag, you will not need to do any transplanting.
In 6 to 8 weeks your plants will be ready to pick and you can enjoy ripe, fresh, organic tomatoes that will taste all the more delicious because you grew them yourself.