Growing Indoor Organic Tomatoes
Indoor Organically Grown Tomatoes
Some gardeners will chase the dream of growing big tomatoes in the pursuit of a record specimen whilst others are happy enough to put some extra home-grown produce in their larder; but what if you live in an apartment and want to try growing your own organic tomatoes...is it possible?
For decades now people have been switching back to organic, so much so that supermarkets have catered for this increase and provided organic produce for a number of years now, but this is at a cost to the consumer who, needless to say, has to pay extra in order to eat more healthily, hence why so many people grow their own fruit and veg nowadays. Unfortunately, those who live in apartments don't have the luxury of a garden in which to do this but that doesn't mean they can't do so on a smaller scale. Growing indoor organic tomatoes is pretty easy given that their are local nurseries providing everything you need close by in most cases.
Before you jump straight in, there are a number of things you need to know, the first of which is this...not all tomatoes are made equal! There are literally thousands of different varieties of tomatoes, from small cherry tomatoes to absolutely huge varieties, we're talking up to 7lbs a tomato here! However, growing big tomatoes indoors is not that easy as they require a lot more room to grow than is usually available to them indoors, so you should always look to grow regular or small varieties of tomatoes instead which need to be, and usually are, 'determinate', this means that they will only grow to a specific size and no bigger. This makes it easier to find the right size of container for your tomato plant right from the off. The size of your container isn't all you should concern yourself with either, because as tomatoes start to form on your plant, the plant will start to become top-heavy very, very quickly, so your container also needs to be sturdy so it doesn't topple over.
As with all fruit plants, and yes...a tomato is a fruit...your plant will require three things to flourish, sunshine or light, water and nutrients. We will start with nutrients, the best start you can give your young tomato plant is a nutrient rich soil in which to grow and you provide this by having the right mix of natural 'organic' compost and a good potting soil, a 50/50 mix is ideal. Add to that a shot of liquid fertilizer each week and your plant will get all the nitrogen and nutrients it needs to provide you with a healthy yield of tomatoes.
If you are able to provide your plant a south facing window that offers plenty of sunshine, great if not you will need to provide this need artificially and a grow lamp or flourescent lighting will do the trick sufficiently, although there is no substitute for the real thing. Your plant will require watering daily but not to the point where you drown the poor thing! Keep the soil moist at all times, if it ever feels dry to the touch add a bit more water.
So...here is your initial game plan...
Step 1. Go to your local nursery and ask for a good tomato plant which does well in containers for indoor growing.
Step 2. Ask their advice about a suitable container, organic soil mix and fertilzer for your tomato plant.
Step 3. Take your newly purchased tomato plant, container, soil, compost and fertilizer back home and prepare for planting.
Planting Your New Tomato Seedling:
When you get home do not immediately transplant your seedling into what will be its new container, leave it in front of a south facing window for a couple of days to acclimatize to its new environment, if you haven't got a south facing window then any other window that receives some sunshine will do, failing that under a grow lamp and remember to keep its soil moist during this time. After a couple of days prepare the soil mix in the container and transplant your seedling. When moving your seedling into its new home you should plant it so only the top 25% is showing above the soil line, this will encourage the growth of more roots. Insert a support stake at this time to avoid damaging any roots later on when they are better developed..
Place your new plant in front of a window, south facing if possible or, alternatively, under the artificial lighting you are using and try not to move the plant too much during its growth. Water daily and keep the soil moist, but never wet, so check this regularly. Every week you can give your plant an extra boost of nutrients with theorganic liquid fertilzer you purchased...just follow the instructions!
As your plant gets bigger you will need to give it some support, use the stake for this but do not secure the plant tightly and use fabric such as old pantyhose for example, rather than something that will cut into the stem.
That about covers it! After 50 to 70 days you'll be chomping away on your own organically grown tomatoes...it doesn't quite have the appeal of growing big tomatoes I know, but growing indoor organic tomatoes does provide an equal measure of fulfillment to those who have no garden to grow in.