Tomatoes are not too difficult to grow and can often do as well on a sunny windowsill indoors as they do outside in a garden. If you live in a cold climate, they may in fact do better indoors than they would do out in the fresh air. Read on if you are interested in learning how to grow tomatoes from seed indoors.
Tomato seeds can be purchased from a range of different garden centres, plant nurseries or online sources. You can also try to germinate seeds from shop-bought tomatoes and sometimes this will work. Though to germinate your own seeds you will need to leave them for a while in a jar with a little water to allow the protective coating which prevents seeds germinating too soon to decompose.
When purchasing tomato seeds, decide whether you would like heirloom varieties (from which you can collect the seeds), or would prefer to go with a hybrid, which may have better resistance to disease. Choosing the right tomato seeds for the conditions where you live is key to success in growing delicious tomatoes indoors.
You have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing containers for growing tomato plants indoors. Usually, you will start tomato seedlings in a tray, then pot them up as they grow to progressively larger pots or containers.
Seeds placed in a moist, fertile growing medium should germinate within a couple of weeks, depending on the temperature. If it is cool where you live, tomato seeds may benefit from the extra warmth of a plastic lid for your home-made seed tray/ propagator.
Since tomato seeds are best sown indoors early in the year, to have the best chance of a good harvest before next winter arrives, you may also like to think about investing in some simple LED grow lights if the light levels are low in January/February where you live.
When potting up small tomato seedlings, bury more of the stem in the soil each time. Doing this will help ensure that your plants develop good, strong root systems. Keep tomatoes watered, but avoid waterlogging. It is also a good idea to fertilise every couple of weeks, and more frequently, with a potassium-rich plant feed, when flowers and fruit are forming.
You can increase the crop of tomatoes by taking care to pollinate your indoors tomato plants by hand. Tomatoes are self fertile and are mostly wind pollinated, so giving your tomato plant a breeze and making sure it is not too humid indoors is usually enough. But to improve chances of a bumper crop of tomatoes, you can take an electric toothbrush to vibrate the plant, or can collect pollen and distribute it yourself using a small swab.
Even if you do little but watch your plant grow and keep it watered and fed, you will almost certainly end up with tomatoes to eat. Like so much else, they taste so much better when you grow them yourself at home!
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