Growing Tomatoes Indoors

February 26, 2015

potted tomatoes 2

 

The art of growing tomatoes indoors can be fun and challenging for some but, it does have numerous advantages and can give you fresh produce every day with flavorsome tomatoes all year round. Growing indoors is very convenient, especially for people who reside in high rise apartments with restricted outdoor access but, it only requires just a few pieces of equipment to get started: 

Select the best tomato varieties to grow indoors

My preference is the sweet cherry tomato plant and not the larger varieties. I’ve found that not only are the cherry tomatoes visually appealing but produce more fruit on a consistent basis indoors throughout the winter months.  

Growing tomatoes in containers 

You will need a fairly large container to start growing tomatoes indoors and the right size to produce fruit. A 5 gallon (18.9 L) pot is the perfect size but nothing smaller. 

Choose the ideal indoor position for your tomato plant

The most important consideration for growing indoor gardens is adequate light. The best spot is near a large window that faces south but a northerly position is fine if you’re in the southern hemisphere. Eastern windows will do if you don’t have a southern window.  

Purchase grow lights for tomato plants

Growing tomatoes indoors requires a good spectrum of light to grow. You can find grow lights, fluorescent lamps or aquarium lights with accessories available for purchase in your local store. Turn the lights on every day and off  at the night to simulate the sun. 

Do you have to pollinate tomatoes?

Yes. When tomato plants are grown outdoors they rely on nature itself to distribute their pollen to develop fruit. These vibrations come from birds, bees and the wind, which in turn will distribute the pollen. An artificial stimulation affect can be made indoors if tomato flowers are gently shaken or a fan is used to create the airflow.

 

What is the best Hydroponic – Aeroponic System for growing tomatoes indoors?

A lot of us have learned over the years that tomatoes can be one of the more challenging crops to pursue but, the most reliable, the easiest and cost affective hydroponic indoor garden is the Miracle Gro AeroGarden Ultra LED. This popular device will produce an excellent result to your tomato crop every time with 3 main tomato varieties to choose from. Highly recommended.

 

AeroGarden Cherry Tomato DEMO

 

Pruning Tomato Plants

Whether you’re growing tomatoes indoors or outdoors, pruning tomato plants is a very simple process and is encouraged so that you can get the best out of your tomato crop. Your plant will produce “suckers” that will grow in the “V” shaped section between the main stem and the branches and, this particular section is the place that will form into a full-sized branch with lots of foliage and, eventually a few fruits.

This is the time when the tomato plant is quickly starting to outgrow its space in the garden but, the most important reason is because pruning will assist your tomato plant to direct all of its energy  to produce fruit as opposed to producing all that extra foliage.

So, to prune you must remove these “suckers” as soon as possible. This process can be done even when they’re smaller than 5cm (roughly 2 inches) tall and all you need to do is pinch them off with the tip of your fingers. It’s as simple as that. If you leave them to grow any longer then it’s much safer to use a pair of disinfected pruners as you move from plant to plant and, this will protect against disease.

I highly recommend pruning tomato plants when they’re small to avoid stressing the plant. It’s really that simple and this will encourage much healthier plants and larger tomatoes, with very little effort.

 

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting can be defined as a very well planned layout to cultivate a garden, designed strategically around other types of plants that will help to improve the health of your tomato plants, improve the overall flavor and also to act as a worthy repellent for nasty insects, pests and diseases. This advice has been handed down over the years by experienced gardeners from all over the world and defined by the knowledge that there is no point planting certain types of plants together if they don’t work well together.

The fact is, some plants should be kept apart because often matching two different types together can cause a problem, especially for smaller gardens. Fortunately, the beauty of growing tomatoes indoors or outdoors is that they are quite compatible with most popular garden vegetables and salads. However, there are many things that can impact the effectiveness of plants in close proximity which is why companion planting is so important. 

 

Companion Planting with Basil and Tomatoes DEMO

 

What is Good Companion planting for tomatoes?

  • Amaranth helps repel insects. A wonderful protection for tomatoes
  • Basil is a tomato repellent for insects, disease and improves flavor and growth
  • Borage is a repellent for tomato worms and improves flavor and growth
  • Bee balm, chives, early dill, mint and parsley improve flavor and health
  • Carrots and tomatoes share the same space well when planted together
  • Garlic is a repellent for red spider mites and controls late blight

 

What is Bad Companion planting for tomatoes?

  • Cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, hohlrabi, rutabaga and turnip will stunt growth of tomato plant.
  • Corn may cause fruitworm in tomatoes.
  • Mature dill and fennel will inhibit tomato growth.
  • Eggplant, peppers and potatoes will cause tomatoes to be more susceptible to potato blight.
  • Walnuts produce a chemical called “juglone” and will inhibit growth of your tomatoes if planted underneath a walnut or butternut tree.  

 

If you’re looking at the best way for growing tomatoes indoors,  check out my Review on the AeroGarden Indoor Gardening System! 

 

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