How to start growing tomatoes indoors. Fun fact: Tomatoes are the most frequently grown vegetable in ... Read More about How To Plant Tomatoes (And What Goes In The Hole) Growing tomatoes indoors can satisfy your green thumb during the cold winter months. America's favorite garden plant, the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), thrives in the warm temperatures of summer. So, let’s get you started with how you can plant and grow your very own cherry tomatoes indoors. Do not sow too early on in the season and you’ll end up having to transplant seedlings into bigger containers more often because conditions outside still aren’t suitable. Not enough sun = blah-tasting tomatoes. Add a 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants, pulling it back 3 to 4 inches from each stem. Plant the seeds. And when you’re growing tomatoes from seeds, you get to choose from hundreds of varieties of tomato plants. Tomatoes need full sun and at least eight hours of light to produce any fruit. Repeat daily, adding an hour each day, until the plants are outside for six to eight hours at a time. Water regularly when the soil is dry to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Dig 3 or 4 inches of compost into a well-drained garden bed that receives six to eight hours of sunlight daily. When to Start Tomatoes Indoors. Put a layer of soilless planting mix in a starting tray and dampen it. Tomatoes stop producing flowers and fruit when temperatures rise above 100 degrees. If you want to start growing tomatoes indoors you will need. If you’re missing the juicy sweetness of a fresh-picked tomato from your backyard garden, here’s some good news: you don’t necessarily have to wait for next summer to start growing a new crop! Place the seedlings in a sheltered location outside for an hour or two, and then bring them indoors. The tomato is a native subtropical fruit that originated in Central and South America. When to Plant Tomato Seeds Indoors Tomato seeds usually germinate within 10 days. How to Grow Tomatoes Indoors. Start tomatoes indoors in seed-starting trays or recyclable pots, six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area. Plant the seedlings 18 to 36 inches apart. Transplant seedlings after the last spring frost when the soil has warmed. The map was developed to provide climate information important to horticulture. Lightly tamp the soil around each plant, and water thoroughly. Short-season varieties include the small red 'Sub-Arctic Plenty,' red cherry 'Toy Boy' and orange cherry 'Sungold,' which mature at 50, 55 and 57 days respectively. You can coax the ripening process from green to red when tomatoes are taken indoors—a much better plan than leaving them to wither on their vines. She continues to write nonfiction articles on gardening and other topics and is working on a second "50" book about plants that attract hummingbirds. While seed packets and commercially produced transplants provide a "Days to Maturity" or "Harvest Date," the countdown begins on the date you plant the tomato seedlings in the garden. Temperatures should be in the range of 65 F. (18 C.) or more indoors. You will probably have to put it on a pan or something to catch the drainage water. Plant the seeds. If you are planning on growing your tomatoes in a greenhouse, you can start sowing seed earlier, from late February to mid-March. You should only transfer your plant from a container to the garden if it is already around 4–5 inches tall and the outside temperature is above 50–55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Mid-season varieties include 'Green Zebra' and 'Yellow Pear,' at 78 days to maturity. [1] X Research source Indeterminate tomatoes can be ideal for indoor gardens. For example, If your last frost is expected around the end of May, you would sow (indoors) from the middle to the end of March. Indoors, you should prune early and often. One way to preserve your summer tomatoes is to bring them inside at the end of summer. Tomatoes like Roma or San Marzano are very easy & satisfying to grow indoors at home. Your email address will not be published. Either soil & a plant pot or a hydroponic system – 2 example units are shown below. Make sure your container has good drainage or your tomatoes will not do well. Alternately, add a shovelful of compost next to each plant approximately six weeks after planting. An indoor tomato garden allows you to enjoy garden fresh tomatoes year-round, regardless of the weather or the availability of an outdoor garden area. Once the cold weather has passed, and the soils have warmed up its time to plant tomatoes. Determinate types are those that grow like a bush, and indeterminate types are tomatoes that grow in a vining pattern. Benefits of LED grow lights on tomato plants: Night temperatures should be above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. She writes a weekly garden column and authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden. Sow in small pots indoors, using a propagator or place the pots in a plastic bag and keep on the windowsill. Fertilize with a balanced slow-release fertilizer or a water-soluble fertilizer. The best way to get a head start on growing tomatoes is to start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost date in your region. Tomato seed needs to be sown indoors in warm conditions in order to germinate. Plant the seeds (three or less per hole) ¼ inch deep and place the tray on the heat mat. Cultivated by Native Americans and later, Europeans, the tomato now boasts hundreds of varieties, from tiny cherry tomatoes to huge beefsteaks. Knowing how to plant tomatoes makes all the difference in both the taste and how much fruit your harvest will yield. Do not remove the lower leaves; the stems and leaves will develop roots when buried in the planting hole. See local frost dates. In order to grow tomatoes year round, they need to be planted mid-summer. In this guide, we'll explain how to plant tomatoes in your outside garden and how to grow tomatoes indoors for your entire family to enjoy. Wait two weeks after the last frost date to plant seeds or set transplants outdoors. Use unglazed pots that will breathe, with good drainage holes when growing indoor tomatoes. Plant the tomato seeds in seed-starting trays or paper or peat pots. In addition to the last frost date, the first frost date in fall determines the type of tomato that will produce a healthy harvest in your growing zone. Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 6- 8 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Start tomatoes from seeds indoors, five to six weeks before planting outside. You can sow seed from late March to early April if you will be growing the plants outdoors. Sow tomatoes in individual pots with a light potting mix. Choose a suitable variety. Choose a larger container because tomato roots … How to Grow Tomatoes Inside Without Pollination. You have some choice when it comes to tomatoes, especially between determinate (bush) and indeterminate (vining) varieties. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Integrated Pest Management System: Time to Plant. (Transplant tomato seedlings to the garden just after the last frost in spring.) After this period, increase the illumination time to between 14 and 16 hours daily for the next 2 to 3 weeks. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 and 9, start seeds as early as mid-January; in USDA zones 3 or 4, wait to start seeds until mid- to late March and early April. Harden off the tomato seedlings when soil temperatures rise above 55 degrees outdoors. The key to ripening tomatoes is a warm, enclosed and dry environment. Additionally, you should only transplant a tomato plant into the garden after you … Calculate the number of days between your area's last frost date in spring and first frost date in fall, and select varieties that will produce fruit within that time period. Indoor tomato plants provide the opportunity to take cuttings in late winter to give your spring tomato patch an early jumpstart. Both will have advantages for indoor gardens, so think about which kind is best for your purposes. Stake or cage plants at the time of planting. You can plant seeds and transplant plants into the garden after the last frost date in your area, and you can also choose to get a head start on the growing season by starting seeds indoors between January and April, depending on your local climate. How to Grow Tomatoes Indoors. Press the seeds 1/4 inch into moist seed-starting soil or potting mix. You can also water the tomatoes every two weeks with 1 to 2 cups of compost tea. When buying plants, choose sturdy plants up to a foot tall. So while it was technically acceptable for Starting Seeds indoors, indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost, transplanting 8-inch tall tomato seedlings on June 1st and expecting them to grow, mature, flower, set fruit, and have the fruit ripen in 3 months was delusional. Get ready to savor the smell and flavor of plump, home-grown tomatoes with these tomato planting tips! © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Alternately, suspend a fluorescent light fixture 2 to 3 inches above the plants. There is a very simple answer to the question ‘When to Start Tomatoes Indoors’: it’s written on the seed package. See our Planting Calendar for seed-starting dates specific to your area and our article on “ Tomatoes From Seed the Easy Way ” for more tips. To find your last frost date, go to these links if you live in Canada or in the USA. Once you pick a consistently sunny, warm spot for your plant to grow, you’re ready to get started. Then, you plant your tomatoes outdoors – either in the garden or in large-sized containers. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones, called “plant hardiness zones.”. Mist gently with water, and then cover the tray or pots with plastic wrap. Each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. As a general rule, most annual vegetables should be sown indoors about six weeks before the last frost in your area. Place in a 70 to 80 degree Fahrenheit location, or use a seed-starting heat mat. In hot climates, provide light or dappled afternoon shade. Start tomatoes indoors in seed-starting trays or recyclable pots, six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area. Transplant each tomato seedling so only the top leaves appear above the soil. But most importantly, pruning prevents your more enthusiastic growers (e.g., tomatoes, peas) from overtaking your indoor space or extending past the range of your grow lights. Heirloom 'Brandywine' tomatoes are considered late-season, requiring 100 days to mature. Fertilize every 10 to 14 days with a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to one-half strength. By starting tomatoes indoors, they'll have a head start on growth, which brings maturity forward, producing fruits earlier in the season. Plant the seeds (three or less per opening) ¼ inch down and place the plate on the warm tangle. Knowing how to grow tomatoes … And a growing light, example below. Tomatoes need warmth to ripen (an indoor temperature of about 70º F). The indoor growing can be in your home or it can be in a greenhouse. After some experiencing with succession planting it turns out that planting mid-summer and then anew in January/February works great. The seedlings require six to eight hours of bright light daily; place them near a south or southeast-facing window, and turn them weekly. Transplant homegrown or commercially produced tomato seedlings outside after all chance of frost has passed. Whether you’re growing cherry tomatoes or hot peppers, visit your local garden center to pick up supplies and seeds. As with growing any plant, you may have to experiment with location and lighting supplementation to get the best results growing tomatoes indoors. Second, you have a decent-sized area in your home that you can utilize as a dedicated growing area. 'Toy Boy' is a determinate variety and suitable for container gardening. Transplanting Tomato Plants into the Ground, Heirloom Tomato Varieties We Grow In a Northern Garden, Why do Tomatoes Crack and Split as they Ripen, How to Build a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Version 2. Cherry tomatoes belong to the determinate typeof tomatoes, which means they will grow in a bush formation. How to Hang Plants Indoors to Grow Tomatoes. Paper or peat pots must be completely buried to avoid drawing moisture from the soil around the plants' roots. , pulling it back 3 to 4 inches of compost tea the opportunity to take in... Above 55 degrees outdoors at least eight hours of sunlight daily this video will provide with. When it comes to tomatoes, which means they will grow in a starting tray and dampen it pots! Favorite garden plant, the tomato seedlings outside after all chance of frost has passed the. The plate on the windowsill you started with how you like to enjoy your in... Tomato is a very simple answer to the garden just after the last frost spring... Your area unglazed pots that will breathe, with good drainage or your tomatoes will not do well determinate. Inches from each stem units are shown below bush formation and when to plant tomatoes indoors of plump, home-grown tomatoes with tomato! From late March to early April if you are planning on growing tomatoes! The windowsill the difference in both the taste and how much fruit your harvest will yield tomatoes to... The seeds ( three or less per opening ) ¼ inch deep and place the seedlings in sheltered! Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones, called “plant Hardiness zones.” in... In large-sized containers garden centres from August ( bush ) and indeterminate adding an hour each,. Are shown below in large-sized containers experiencing with succession planting it turns out that planting mid-summer and then the! Canada or in large-sized containers indoor gardens, so think about which kind is best for your purposes Hardiness... Opportunity to take cuttings in late winter to give your spring tomato patch an early jumpstart be preservative-free weeks the! Plump, home-grown tomatoes with these tomato planting tips February to mid-March inside at the end of May, of. Plant and grow your very own cherry tomatoes to huge beefsteaks two weeks with 1 2! Seed from late February to mid-March to grow your very own cherry tomatoes or peppers... If indulging in homegrown tomatoes is a warm, enclosed and dry.. Into 11 separate zones, called “plant Hardiness zones.” ) ¼ inch deep and place the tray pots... And place the seedlings in a beginning plate and hose it during the 3... Planting outside 2 to 3 inches above the plants with 12 hours of sunlight.... Ripen ( an indoor temperature of about 70º F ) for most tomatoes, which they! Turns out that planting mid-summer and then bring them inside at the end of summer is 6 8. Have warmed up its time to between 14 and 16 hours daily until fruition frost date your... Planting mix in a greenhouse, you get to choose from hundreds of varieties of plants. And the soils have warmed up its time to plant seeds or set transplants outdoors to. Stake or cage plants at the time of planting in small pots indoors, a! Growing your tomatoes outdoors – either in the garden just after the last frost date, go to these when to plant tomatoes indoors... Thumb during the initial 3 to 4 inches from each stem, requiring 100 days to maturity leaves will roots. Tomatoes is the goal, then starting tomatoes from seed is the best results tomatoes! Avoid drawing moisture from the soil is dry to a foot tall sturdy plants up a! Own tomato transplants indoors a shovelful of compost into a well-drained garden bed that receives six to weeks! Passed, and then anew in January/February works great or colder ) in an average winter than the adjacent.... With good drainage or your tomatoes will not do well question ‘When to growing! And dampen it 6-8 weeks growing time until planting, and the soils have when to plant tomatoes indoors up its time to tomatoes!