How to Plant Tomatoes Indoors

Overview

Commercial tomato growers produce fruit suitable for shipping, picking fruits before they are ripe. These tasteless tomatoes lack the rich flavor found in homegrown varieties. To enjoy homegrown tomatoes all year long, grow plants indoors. Start one or two plants from seed every two weeks to keep a continuous supply. The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension recommends growing Pixie, Patio, Toy Boy, Small Fry or Tiny Tim as indoor tomato varieties. While these varieties have small fruit, they still require staking when they grow fruit.

Step 1

Fill a seed starting pot with starter mix, a soil mix formulated for starting seeds, available from garden centers.

Step 2

Press an indention in the middle of the starter mix with your finger. Place two to three seeds in the indention, then cover with starter mix. Spray with water lightly, and keep the starter mix moist, yet not soggy. Place the starting pot in a sunny window. Expect seeds to germinate in 5 to 10 days.

Step 3

Transplant the plant from the starter mix into a 6-inch pot when seedlings are 3 inches tall. Fill the pot with potting soil. Dig a hole in the middle of the soil, just deep enough to accommodate the roots of the seedlings. Place the seedlings in the hole and cover roots firmly with soil. Place the pot in a sunny window.

Step 4

Place a tomato cage inside the pot around the outside perimeter. Push the stakes of the cage into the soil until they feel secure.

Step 5

Water the soil well to keep it moist, but not soggy.

Step 6

Fertilize the plant daily, starting two weeks after transplanting. Mix fertilizer--a 10-20-10, 12-24-10 or 8-16-8 formula--with water in a 2-gallon watering can. Fill the watering can with water and add the fertilizer. Follow the fertilizer directions to determine the amount of fertilizer to add to the water. Stir the formula with a paint stick until the fertilizer is thoroughly dissolved. Once a week, water with tap water only to leach leftover fertilizer from the soil.

Step 7

Tap the main stem when the plant blooms to disperse pollen and start pollination

Step 8

Turn the pot every few days to give each side its share of sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • 6-inch pot
  • Water
  • Tomato seeds
  • Starter mix
  • Fertilizer
  • 2-gallon watering can
  • Seed starting pot
  • Tomato cage

References

  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Grow Your Own Tomatoes Indoors This Winter
  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
  • National Gardening Association: Container Tomatoes
Keywords: growing tomatoes indoors, container gardening tomatoes, indoor tomato growing, plant tomatoes indoors

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.