Last week we learned how to grow the sweetest red fruit (strawberries), and this week we’re covering another popular red fruit (yes, they are technically a fruit); Tomatoes!
Tomatoes are THE perfect crop to grow in your home, as there are so many uses! You can add tomatoes to fresh to salads, sandwiches, and pizza toppings, roast them in a delicious pasta sauce, soup, or curry, and even can or jar them for later use. The best part? Growing tomato plants indoors will allow you to have fresh, juicy tomatoes all year long! With the right artificial lighting, or a sunny window sill, you can grow tomatoes indoors even during the winter. Certain veggies require insects or wind for pollination, but tomatoes pollinate themselves easily without help from any outside sources. So let’s get going! Read on to learn more about your best chances for success at growing tomatoes from the comfort of your own home.
Where to Grow Tomatoes?
Like strawberries, tomatoes require a lot of bright light in order to produce fruit and thrive. If possible, find a large south-facing window sill for your tomato plant to make a home. They need 5-6 hours of sunlight a day at the very least. If you can’t find a window that will work, consider using a grow light to place above your plants.
What to Grow Tomatoes In?
Now comes time to select the right kind of tomato for you! Consider details like how large the plant will get, and how much space you have. Smaller, patio tomatoes are ideal for indoor growing, and you can even grow them in a hanging basket. Our new Mini Fruit and Veggie kit comes with super-compact cherry tomato seeds, which come from a Japanese breeder. These plants only grow to be about 8 inches tall – perfect for a window sill or indoor arrangement. Don’t be fooled though, while small in size, this tomato plant can produce an impressive amount of fruit under the right conditions.
Plant the Guy!
When getting ready to plant your tomato seeds, it is important to know what variety you are going to grow – as this will impact the size and depth of the container you need. Our mini Japanese variety is ok for most if not all of its life in the small coco coir pots we provide, but other larger varieties may need a pot up to 12” deep.
Either way, we encourage you to use a good quality potting mix. If you are transplanting a tomato, then place the stem deep into the soil so that it comes up to the bottom set of leaves. Tomato plants form roots all along the stem of the plant, so this will create a stronger base for the plant overall. If you feel like your tomato plant needs more support, you can purchase and install a small stake to stabilize the plant.
Caring for your tomatoes will be similar to the care and maintenance of any other houseplant. You can fertilize your plant every week or so with a dose of fish emulsion or liquid kelp – both of which work well for fertilizing indoor tomatoes. Water your tomatoes regularly – check the soil often to see if your tomatoes need more (or less) water. Check this by lightly pressing your finger into the soil, if it’s dry up to your top knuckle or so, it’s time to water. With the cherry tomatoes in our Fruit and Veggie Kit, you should see ripe tomatoes within 2-3 months. Harvest them when the tomatoes are a deep red color but still feel firm. To help pollination, you can gently shake the flowering stems every day or set up a gentle fan to mimic the wind.