Commercial tomato growers must pick their tomatoes while they are still green so they will not be overripe at the supermarket. In order to provide consumers with ripened tomatoes, they are often sprayed with ethylene gas at their final destination. Consumers who are concerned with chemicals on their produce may want to consider growing their own tomatoes in indoor containers. They will be rewarded with healthier, better tasting produce and save money as well.
Fill the containers in a seed starter kit with potting soil. Place a single tomato seed in each compartment 1/4 inch deep and cover with soil. Water the seeds enough to make the soil damp but not soggy or holding water.
Place the lid back on the container tightly and place in a windowsill that has full sun in the afternoon. Remove the cover of the seed starter kit as soon as you begin to see tomato plants sprouting, which should be anywhere from five to 10 days after sowing seeds.
Transplant tomato plants into 6-inch containers after they have reached a height of 1 to 2 inches. Fill the 6-inch container with potting soil to the bottom of the rim. Remove the entire tomato plant and the surrounding soil from the seed starter kit.
Scoop a hole 1/2-inch deep in the center of the pot. Place the seedling in it and cover it with dirt so that the roots are fully submersed and the base of the seedling is at ground level. Add enough dirt to fill the container to the top of the rim but do not place soil higher than the top of the container.
Place the containers in a sunny windowsill. Check for any drafts coming through the window and caulk these with a caulking gun so your plants will not be exposed to wind or cold.
Simulate the pollination process normally performed by bees when the tomato flowers first begin to open. Turn on an electric toothbrush. Place the bristles in the center of the flower.
Move the brush up and down along the center stem of the flower for 20 to 30 seconds. Use the toothbrush on each of the petals by moving the toothbrush in a circular pattern over the top side of the petal for five to 10 seconds per petal. Repeat the process on the undersides.
Place the toothbrush on the inside edge of the leaves just below the flower petals. Move the toothbrush in an up-and-down pattern over the tops of the leaves for about eight seconds. Go to the bottom of the leaves and move the toothbrush up and down over the undersides of the leaves.
Water your tomato plants as needed to keep the soil in the container moist. Water the plants at the roots; spritz the leaves lightly with a spray bottle if they appear to be dry.
Feed tomato plants twice a week with a 16-16-16 fertilizer. Mix 1 teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water and water plants as normal.
Turn plants at least 180 degrees every three to four days so the tomato plant can be exposed to sunlight on all sides. Maintain room temperature of between 70 to 75 degrees F during the day and 60 to 65 at night.