Browsing through the produce aisle can give you a craving for fresh home-grown tomatoes. It is now possible to have home-grown tomatoes virtually any time with the use of indoor gardening techniques. Using these methods enables gardeners to get a jump-start on producing tomatoes by planting seeds and growing seedling starters.
Set up a plant grow light that has a minimum of one plant light tube and one soft white light tube. This will provide tomatoes with the appropriate range of light for the best growth.
Plug in a small oscillating fan near the plant grow light. Do not set the fan too close to the growing area. The fan provides air circulation to help boost earlier growth for tomatoes.
Fill six small paper drinking cups 1/2 full with organically enriched potting soil. Plant two tomato seeds in the center of the dirt 1/2-inch deep. Sprinkle with a small amount of water to moisten the soil.
Set the cups 1 inch apart beneath the plant grow light. Adjust the plant grow light to 12 inches above the cups. Adjust the oscillating fan to be no closer than 6 inches from the cup nearest it. Set the timer for the grow light to 6 to 8 hours.
Sprinkle water over the soil of each cup daily. Wait for the seeds to germinate and sprout seedlings. When seedlings are 2 inches tall, pull out the weaker seedling to leave one seedling per cup.
Re-pot the seedlings into 10 inch potting containers when the seedlings reach 1 foot in height. Replace the re potted tomatoes under the plant grow light, with the light adjusted to 6 inches above the tallest plant. Adjust the oscillating fan to be no closer than 6 inches from the re-potted tomato nearest it.
Continue watering daily as needed to keep the soil moist.
Remove all leaves from the bottom 1/4 portion of the tomato plant stem. Remove any yellowing or weak tomato stems.
Apply liquid tomato fertilizer to the base of each plant every two weeks, after the first blooms appear. Make sure the soil is wet prior to fertilizing to prevent root and leaf burn.
Vibrate each tomato plant with your fingertips after the first bloom appears. Repeat vibration daily for several days. Gently shaking the plants encourages pollination to increase fruit size and yield.
Transplant tomato plants outdoors after the ground temperature reaches a minimum of 60 degrees F.