You don’t need garden to grow your own tomatoes! You can easily start inside your flat by planting them in containers or pots. It’s much easier than you think and will not only give you deep satisfaction but also reward you with the best tomato fruits you’ve ever ate. Speaking from experience, the tomatoes always taste better when they are grown at home than those you can buy in any produce stand or grocery store.
Tomatoes are the base ingredient in many products that you can easily make at home, and growing tomatoes indoors can make the entire list that much fresher! Among many other things, some of the more obvious things you can make from the fresh tomatoes you have grown are salsa, homemade spaghetti sauce just like from the old country, then of course there is juice and many other products.
For starters, you’ll want to choose from a variety of tomato that is not susceptible to cracking. These types will do better indoors under lights, and as an added bonus, these are also better suited when you want to make tomato paste and sauce. Next you will want to prepare a good starting soil mixture. The best I have found is a standard potting soil mixture that includes about 10% or so of worm castings already added. In order to balance the ph of the soil add a teaspoon of hydrated lime to each gallon of potting soil. This is rich in calcium and is absolutely great for the tomatoes. This calcium prevents the blossoms from rotting later on down the line. You don’t want to start the soil too wet. Adding water a little at a time until you can get just about 2 or 3 drops of water out of it when you squeeze. Anything more than that and you will want to dry the soil out some before you start to use it.
Now, starting seeds is a critical time for the tomato plants. In the early stages of development you have to handle the resulting plants with care because they are very delicate. The best way to start the seeds off is to use the nursery flats -trays that were divided into many sections. The larger ones are best. This way you don’t have to worry over transplanting them as they get bigger. As soon as they outgrow the tray you will know that they are strong enough to handle easily.
Tomatoes germinate best at about 80 degrees and you’ll find that most of the seeds that you have planted will be up in about 12-15 days. Once they have begun popping up, you will want to remove the covers if they were used on the trays. At this point, you will want to use fluorescent lights placed about 6 inches above the plants and leave the lights on then for at least 18 hours of the day, and better still, leave them on 24 hours if possible.
By now you’re well on your way to having really great tasting tomatoes! Take good care of them and they will bear some fantastic fruit no matter what time of the year it is!
Pawel Kalkus is a hobbyist gardener with 15 years experience in organic vegetable garden cultivation. Want to learn more about growing tomatoes? Claim your free e-book with “7 Best Tomato Growing Tips” by clicking here