How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes Indoors

Overview

Tomatoes will usually grow indoors without any expensive specialist equipment. Choose smaller tomato plants for easier indoor growing. For example, Robert Cox at the Colorado State University Horticultural Department recommends varieties such as Tiny Tim, Pixie, Small Fry and Patio. All of these types will produce juicy tomatoes ideal for salads and snacks. Opt for indeterminate varieties. These grow on vines and require staking. In bright locations, and with a little help, indoor tomatoes will even produce fruit in winter.

Step 1

Sprinkle starter mix into a seed tray. Choose a mix with perlite or vermiculite, along with peat moss. Place a tomato seed in each compartment and cover in a light mix layer. Water the tray.

Step 2

Place the tray in a bright location with temperatures around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Water whenever the soil gets a little dry.

Step 3

Fill a 12-inch diameter pot with lightweight potting soil. Add a few chunks of broken pottery to the bottom to aid drainage. Ensure the pot has holes in the bottom to prevent root rot. Insert a strong bamboo cane in the middle of the pot, then fix a tomato cage around the cane. Alternatively, use a string trellis suspended from the ceiling above.

Step 4

Place the pot on a saucer or tray in a room that gets at least five hours of strong sun per day, but ideally up to 10 hours of sunlight. Anything lower than five hours and you'll need to install grow lights. Set up further pots depending on how many plants you want to grow.

Step 5

Transfer healthy tomato seedlings to a larger pot when they have several healthy branches. Hollow out a hole near the bamboo cane and gently insert the plant. Firm up to secure the base.

Step 6

Apply fish emulsion fertilizer or potash-rich fertilizer according to packet instructions. Water the tomatoes to maintain a damp soil layer.

Step 7

Tap the stems of blooming tomatoes to encourage pollination, according to Mother Earth News. Turn the plant occasionally to ensure an even spread of sunlight to all areas of the plant. The cage should support the plant, but you may need to move or tie heavier trusses for added stability.

Step 8

Harvest tomatoes when they're firm, red and plump.

Things You'll Need

  • Seedling trays
  • Starter mix
  • Tomato seeds
  • 12-inch pot
  • Tomato cage
  • Bamboo cane
  • Lightweight potting soil
  • Watering can
  • Pottery chunks
  • Fish emulsion fertilizer

References

  • Colorado State Department of Horticulture: Grow Your Own Tomatoes Indoors This Winter
  • Mother Earth News: Real Food Winter Tomatoes
  • Ohio State University: Growing Cucumbers, Peppers, Squash and Tomatoes in Containers
Keywords: growing indoor tomatoes, grow tomatoes indoors, tomatoes grown inside, growing winter tomatoes

About this Author

Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.