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Friday, December 17, 2010

A Dig at Growing A Tomato Totally Indoors

I posted three reference articles on growing tomatoes indoors. I didn’t write them. I wanted information. They were very helpful. The main issues still hold true for container tomatoes be it indoors or outdoors. Those issues are sunlight, water, and soil.

The articles I read suggested various sizes of containers. I am going to go with a 5 gallon bucket filled about 2/3 the way up with moisture control potting soil. Why? I already have those buckets and I know for a fact that inconsistent watering will mess up your tomatoes. The more soil you have… the harder (though not impossible) it is to harm your plant from over or under watering it. Prepared moisture control soil also has fertilizer in it. I want this to be easy.

I am going build a side light system. It will just be a standard fluorescent light fixture from a local hardware store. The overhead lights you see around, nothing fancy. I will mount it on some 2x4’s so it can stand on its side. This plant will be lighted from the side. I could buy a system but I don’t feel like spending more than the parts will cost to build it. Plus it is holidays and I am saving money for gifts etc.

The artificial light must be left on the plant somewhere between 12 and 18 hours. I will do 12 hours and set the plant by my basement door. If it gets leggy… I will extend the hours. You have to use a timer. It is an absolute must. Set it and forget it.

I am going to use water soluble fertilizer at every watering. I will cut it to half strength as the tomato grows, flowers, and sets fruit. When the fruit sets, I will go to ¼ strength.

The other issues I see are pollination, insects, and disease. Those issues will be new to me - indoors. I probably will treat the surface of the soil with Seven Dust. It works and I researched the potential side effects. Pollination will be tapping the stem of the plant. The electric toothbrush at the base seems like too much work for me.

I will germinate a few seeds in a styro-foam cup by the window. I think the biggest issue for me is going to be my wife. To me it’s a plant. To her it’s a bucket of dirt. If it goes well, perhaps I will have also grow a few future 3 foot transplants for May 1st.