Tomato: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Tomatoes Indoors

Fresh tomatoes, without a doubt, taste better than those that you can buy in stores. The good news is that you can easily grow tomatoes at home, even indoors. In fact, it is better to plant them indoors since they cannot tolerate extreme weather conditions, especially the cold. You can feast on homegrown produce and be sure that you are growing organic tomatoes. Even as a novice gardener, growing healthy and flavorful tomatoes will not be too much of a work for you.

When it comes to vegetables in home gardens, even if it is technically a fruit, a tomato is hard to rival. Its height can reach one to 20 feet and the width can be anywhere from one to four feet. For an indoor tomato, choose the dwarf varieties. They are compact, and hence, they will grow well even in containers. While red is the most popular color for a tomato, there are also some that are green, pink, orange, or yellow, among others.

Fresh Red Tomatoes

Red is the Most Popular Color for a Tomato

There are many varieties of tomatoes, but not all of them may be suitable for indoor planting. There are some that will require full sun, which is why they thrive better outdoors. Before choosing a variety to plant, keep in mind that there are two types of tomatoes. Determinate tomatoes are compact and they will produce fruit only once. Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, are vines and they will continue producing fruit throughout the season.  Naturally, most people will choose determinate varieties because they are compact. Nonetheless, the problem is that they have finite produce. Do not be afraid to grow indeterminate tomatoes. As long as you provide it with the right support and trim it on a regular basis, its growth will be easy to manage.

Planting and Growing Conditions

The first thing that you need to do is to purchase disease-free seeds from a reputable supplier. Pick a variety that you want depending on space availability, taste that you prefer, and other individual considerations. See to it that the variety will survive even in a container.

Sow the seeds in a starting mix. Wet it with water until it becomes moist, but not soggy. Pour the mix in a seedling tray. Making sure that you will not overfill it. Using a stick, poke a hole with a depth of at least ¼ inch. Cover it with soil and wait until the seeds germinate. To help speed up the germination, make sure that it is in a warm location. The temperature of the soil, on the other hand, should be anywhere from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Move it in a sunny position, such as at the windowsill. Wait until two to three leaves appear. At this point, your tomato is ready for transplanting.

Tomato Seedlings

Move Tomatoes in a Sunny Position

To remove the seedling from the tray, gently tap the bottom while holding the plant from the top. Be gentle and be sure to not damage the root. Transfer it in a pot with your choice of potting mix. Bury the root and cover it with soil. Water after transplanting and press firmly. It is best to use artificial light

Health Benefits

Eating tomatoes can be good for the health in more ways than one, such as through the following:

  • Fights Cancer: Lycopene, an antioxidant present in tomato, is basically the one that is responsible for this benefit. The latter will help in slowing down the progression of cancer cells. To be specific, it lowers the likelihood of having prostate, stomach, and lung cancer.
  • Improves Heart Health: This is also a benefit that is possible because of the lycopene that you can find in tomatoes. It helps in regulating the level of blood cholesterol in the body, which is an essential for having a healthier heart. It also reduces the deposits of fats in the blood vessels, helping to improve blood circulation.
  • Improves Digestion: The regular consumption of tomato will also have positive impacts on your digestive health. It helps in the prevention of diarrhea and constipation. It also has fiber that can help in having regular bowel movements.
  • Keeps Skin Radiant: The topical application of tomato is believed to be helpful in the treatment of sunburn and other common skin problems. It is also a common ingredient in many skincare and anti-aging products.
  • Improves Vision: This benefit is because of the Vitamin A in tomato, allowing it to improve vision. This also aids in the prevention of macular degeneration and night blindness, two of the most common eye problems for people who are aging.
  • Strengthens the Bone: As we age, our bones become more fragile and prone to problems like osteoporosis. You can avoid this by eating more tomatoes, which are known for being rich in calcium. They will not only make the bones stronger, but can also help to repair existing damages.

Pests and Diseases

Even if you grow tomatoes indoors, there is no guarantee that it will be free from pests and diseases, especially if you do not provide the plant with the care that it needs. For the diseases, some of the most common include bacterial wilt, Verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, septoria leaf spot, mosaic virus, and anthracnose. For pests, on the other hand, the most common causes of infestation include cutworm, aphids, whitefly, caterpillars, slugs, flea beetles, and nematodes.

Care and Maintenance

Taking care of tomato is pretty much an easy task. Here are some of the important points to remember:

  • Fertilizing is important to sustain the growth of tomatoes, especially if you have an indeterminate variety, which will continue producing fruit throughout the season. A fertilizer with a high content of phosphorus will be best. Fish emulsion and sea kelp will also work as great natural fertilizers.
  • If you are growing an indeterminate variety, provide a stake or trellis. It could be a simple stick that you will place at the center of the plant. Make sure to train the vine to climb up the support as it grows. Stakes will also help to prevent the tomato from bowing down if the fruit is too large for it to support.
  • Because the plant is indoors, pollination can be a problem. Luckily, you can be of assistance. One thing that you can do is to place a fan near the plant. This will act like the wind and will help the pollens to transfer. You can also shake the main stem gently. Lastly, you can use a soft brush to go over the flowers to spread the pollens.
  • It will also be good to turn the plants from time to time. This will help to make sure that each side is able to receive the right amount of light that it needs.

Conclusion

Tomatoes will make an excellent choice for an indoor plant. It provides the protection that they need from extreme cold. Luckily, growing this vegetable does not require too much of an effort on your end. Whether you choose determinate or indeterminate tomato, the important thing is to make sure that they have the right growing conditions, such as the right amount of light, nutrient-rich soil, and ideal temperature.

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