Feature: How to Get Ready to Grow Tomatoes Indoors
Image: David Cavagnaro
If you want to grow tomatoes indoors, you need to take three steps to get ready.
You can take these steps no matter what your indoor tomato growing goal – whether you plan to grow a full-blown indoor tomato crop in a greenhouse or whether you simply plan to start a dozen tomato seedlings to set out in the garden next year.
Tomato Dirt gives you basic information you need to take these three steps right now.
Look at the calendar. Do you want to have fresh tomatoes during the off-season? You will need to start your tomato plants soon after the outdoor season is over. (In the
northern hemisphere, that is now.) But if your goal is to start tomato seedlings indoors to set out in the garden next spring, then study the calendar. Determine the date in the spring in which you want to set out plants and then count back 8 weeks to identify the date to start your seedlings.
Choose where to grow tomatoes. There are 3 places to grow tomatoes indoors: the windowsill (cheapest, but must face south to get most light), under grow lights (gives plants 12-16 concentrated light a day) or in a greenhouse (gives plants a warm, lighted environment.) Get more information about tomato grow lights and tomato greenhouses.
Select tomato seeds. If you want to grow plants indoors throughout the winter, choose dwarf varieties (which take less space) or short-season varieties (so fruit matures quicker.) If you plan to start tomato seedlings indoors for next spring, then consider what types of tomatoes work best in your microclimate.
Tomato Tip: Fall Is a Great Time to Test Your Tomato Garden Soil
Image: Bonnie Plants
A soil test is an analysis that determines your garden soil’s nutrient content and pH.
The best time to test your garden soil is a few months before growing season so you have time to get results and correct the soil. That makes fall a great time to conduct the test and get started with corrections.
Then once you get the test results, you can amend the soil by adding appropriate nutrients which are deficient. Testing lets you make a much more educated guess about what to work into the soil to make it more tomato-friendly and nutritious.