Tuesday , March 28 2023
10 tips for growing tomatoes at home

10 tips for growing tomatoes at home

Avoid bad tomatoes at the grocery store this winter. Instead, grow your own indoor crop of tomatoes the size of a lettuce. Tomato plants are best grown outdoors, but with a little extra care, they can also grow, bloom, and bear fruit indoors. The combination of art and science, growing tomatoes indoors is a labor of love.

Don’t expect to need enough crop to store it, but expect to pick delicious cherry tomatoes over salads, decorate side dishes, and add flavor to your favorite appetizers. These 10 must-have tips for growing tomatoes at home will help you enjoy some delicious buds that are especially welcome in the off-season.

How to grow tomatoes at home

1. Bright and brilliant light is essential

When growing tomatoes indoors, a series of growing lights take the place of the sun. Indoor sunlight, especially in winter, is rarely strong enough to provide the fuel a tomato plant needs to grow and bear fruit. Even sunlight coming in through the south-facing window is not what a tomato plant needs to thrive.

Simple grow lights or shop lights hanging a few inches above the tops of plants are available in gardens and home centers and stimulate strong growth. Be sure to keep the lights within 6 inches of the top of the plants.

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The intensity of the light coming from the light source decreases the faster the light comes from the plant. Seedlings and young tomato plants need about 18-22 hours of extra light per day when growing indoors. Plants with coloring and ripe fruits do not need as much light and can be transplanted into a south-facing window.

2. Choose small and compact varieties

The best indoor tomatoes are varieties called “Terrace” or “Bush”. These species are specially selected for small, compact plants that bloom within the confines of a container. Traditional varieties such as “celebrity” and many heirlooms are too large to grow successfully at home.

Expect to find varieties of terrarium or bush tomatoes that produce cherry, grapes, rom and small fruits of the cut type. Large varieties for indoor cultivation are “Patio Choice Yellow”, “Tumbler”, “Bush Early Girl” and “Atlas”.

“Kitchen minis” are thin, table-sized plants available at home centers and some grocery stores. These small plants are sold with fruits. Just put them in a bright, sunny window and watch the fruit ripen in a few weeks.

3. Provide heat when starting the core

It accelerates the germination of an indoor tomato plant by providing heat under seed start trays. Simply place the sowing trays on a gentle heat source, such as a heating mat, a low-temperature radiator or a refrigerator.

A few degrees of heat begin to germinate in a few days. The faster the seeds germinate, the sooner you will harvest the fruit.

4. Transplant into a large pot

If a tomato seedling is 6 inches tall and has multiple leaves, transplant it into a large pot filled with fresh pot mix. The tank should be at least 14 inches wide. The best containers for tomato plants are at least 20 inches deep.

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The larger the container, the more the roots can expand. And be sure to drill drainage holes at the bottom of the tank. Place the pot in a saucer or tray to collect excess water leaking from the drainage holes.

5. Find a consistently warm place

Tomatoes grow well indoors when the temperature is 70-80°F. A cold breeze from an open door or window shocks heat-loving tomato plants. Find a place of growth that is protected from cold drafts. Also watch out for the explosion of hot air from the furnace vents. Tomatoes grow well at temperatures of 70-80°F.

6. Keep plants wet, but not wet

Tomatoes that grow at home need more regular watering than plants that grow in the garden. Check the water demand every day by touching the ground. If the soil is wet, do not water and check again the next day.

When the soil is dry, water the plant until water escapes from the drainage holes. Use a saucer or large tray to catch excess water. Discard the saucer or tray within 30 minutes of watering so that the bottom is not soaked with water.

7. Fertilize regularly

Tomatoes that grow in indoor fruits are best with regular fertilization. When planting, mix a slow-release pelleted vegetable food into the pot mixture and add pellets to the package at recommended intervals.

Or fertilize weekly with a solution of water-soluble fertilizer for edible plants. Frequent watering of tomatoes grown in containers removes valuable nutrients from topsoil; Replenish nutrients with regular fertilization.

8. Pollination assistance

Houseplants need your help to ensure pollination. Tomatoes are self-pollinating, which means they don’t need pollen from other plants to set the fruit.

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As the plants begin to bloom, shake them gently every day, mimicking how the wind moves plants that grow outdoors. A gentle shake promotes pollination and fruit set. An oscillating fan can achieve similar results.

9. Rotate plants as needed

Support strong upright trunks and branches with frequently rotating plants. Rotation is not required for plants illuminated by top grow lights, but a tomato plant growing in a sunny window will delight you with a quarter turn every week. If it is not turned upside down, the plants bend towards the light.

10. Make your own paradise

Indoor tomato plants often have weaker stems than their outer counterparts. Help plants stand with the weight of the ripe fruit by sinking a bamboo pole about 3 feet high into the ground near the main stem. Use strips of fabric to gently connect the stem to the rod. Add more links as the plant grows.

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