How to Grow Tomatoes Inside

Overview

It can be a challenge to get tomatoes to thrive indoors. In the garden, tomatoes are a plant that require a full day of direct sunlight. Tomato plants that do not get enough sun will not produce abundant fruit. Other considerations that come into play when growing tomatoes indoors include temperature, fertilization and pollination. The best tomatoes for indoor growing are dwarf varieties such as Pixie, Small Fry, Toy Boy, Patio or Tiny Tim.

Step 1

Fill an egg carton with seed starter mix. Poke 1/4-inch holes in soil with a pencil.

Step 2

Place seeds in holes and cover with soil. Mist soil to water. Keep in a warm place while seeds germinate.

Step 3

Move seedlings beneath a grow light and continue to mist. When plants produce their first two true leaves, transplant them to a 6-inch container filled with potting soil.

Step 4

Create a pocket in the soil with a trowel. Pull the seedling from the egg carton and place it in the pocket so that the point where the leaves emerge from the stems is level with the soil line.

Step 5

Fill the pocket with soil so that the plant is buried up to its first two leaves. Pat soil to dislodge any air pockets.

Step 6

Water plant so that soil is as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Check plant and water when soil becomes too dry. Fertilize with a general purpose liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

Step 7

Place plants under blue and red spectrum grow lights for approximately 12 hours daily. Attach plants to timers so that they shut off and plants get a nightly rest period. Tomatoes need 12 hours of darkness in order to produce blooms, and eventually fruit.

Step 8

Adjust temperatures so that plants grow within a temperate range from approximately 70 to 75 degrees.

Step 9

Pollinate flowers when they blossom by rubbing branches and support vines with an electric toothbrush. This simulates the vibration caused by a bee's wings that forces flowers to release pollen.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato seeds
  • Seed starter mix
  • Egg carton
  • Pencil
  • Plant mister
  • 6-inch container
  • Potting soil
  • Watering can
  • Grow lights
  • Electric toothbrush

References

  • Jason's Indoor Guide to Organic and Hydroponics Gardening: How to Grow Tomatoes in your Indoor Garden
  • Colorado State University:Grow your Tomatoes Indoors this Winter
  • Renee's Garden: Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors- Technique Tips with Photos

Who Can Help

  • Garden Gal: Indoor Vegetable Gardening
Keywords: Indoor gardening, winter vegetables, container fruit

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."