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How to Grow Tomatoes All Year

By Amy Hannaford ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tomatoes indoors provide fresh produce all year-round.

Tomatoes can be grown all year long indoors with a little know-how and plenty of light and water. Choosing smaller varieties of tomatoes such as Small Fry, Tiny Tim and cherry or grape tomatoes works best indoors. Use a determinate variety that will only grow to certain size so it stays compact and bushy, requiring little if any staking.

Fill a five-gallon container or bucket with potting soil to within 1 inch of the rim. Dig a hole that is two times as wide as the root ball and at least three times as deep as it is high. Add a handful of bone meal to the hole before planting to add needed calcium for the plant.

Remove the bottom sets of leaves from the tomato plant and leave only one set at the top of the stem. Place the plant into the hole so the top set of leaves is about 1 inch above the ground's surface. This will create a strong root system. Fill in the hole with soil and tamp down firmly around the plant.

Water the tomato well after planting so the water runs out of the holes in the bottom. Keep the tomato plants watered every day to keep the soil moist, not letting it dry out. Use a water tray to catch the water so it does not cause damage to a windowsill or table. If needed, set the plant outside when watering and bring in after all the water has finished draining out.

Fertilize the plant about two weeks after planting. Use a water-soluble fertilizer meant for tomato plants such as 5-10-10. Use a fertilizer that has less nitrogen, which promotes foliage growth and less fruit production. Apply fertilizer every two weeks and stop once the tomatoes begin to ripen.

Hand-pollinate the tomato plant by swirling a small paintbrush inside each flower and moving from flower to flower. This spreads the pollen necessary for fruiting to occur and which happens naturally outside with the bees moving the pollen.

Stake the plant if it becomes too heavy from the fruit. Use a small wooden dowel or tomato cage that will fit inside the container.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Tomato plants
  • 5-gallon container
  • Potting soil
  • Trowel
  • Bone meal
  • Fertilizer
  • Water tray
  • Paintbrush

Tips

  • Be sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom. If using a five-gallon bucket, drill holes in the bottom if needed.
  • Harvest tomatoes when the fruit is uniform in color and all the green is gone.
  • Store on the kitchen counter to use within three to five days for best flavor.

Warning

  • Do not water tomato plants overhead.

About the Author

 

Amy Hannaford teaches childbirth education classes and a healthy pregnancy series in Southern Oregon. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts degree, a certificate in medical assisting, and has been a childbirth educator and birth doula for 20 years. She has been writing articles for Demand Media since 2008.