Tomato is a widely used vegetable crop around the world.
It is an indispensable item in our diet and hence, there is a considerable demand for it in the market.
By cultivating tomatoes indoors, we can get fresh tomatoes with minimum chemical or no chemical residues.
How to Grow Tomatoes Indoors
The first and foremost thing in indoor tomato cultivation is to select a variety that is suitable for indoor cultivation; all varieties do not grow well indoors.
Select varieties with small fruits like cherry tomatoes.
Varieties suitable for indoor cultivation are Siberia, Yellow pear, Small fry, etc.
If we have a small place, it is better to select determinate types; if we have a sufficient place, we can select indeterminate types.
Selection of place:
The selection of a place for indoor cultivation is crucial for the better growth and development of a plant.
Basically, tomato is a warm-season vegetable crop; it requires warm climatic conditions.
So, try to select a place that requires abundant sunshine and avoid shady areas. The lack of sunshine on the plant will decrease the photosynthesis of plants.
First of all, we have to sow the seeds in portrays.
After 4-6 weeks of sowing, we have to transplant the seedlings into proper
containers or grow bags that are convenient for the place where we intend to grow.
Select the Grow bags or containers with proper drainage of water.
The preparation of growing media is an essential aspect of the indoor farming of tomatoes. Soil for growing tomatoes indoors can be prepared by mixing farmyard manure, coco peat, and garden soil in a 1:1:1 ratio; we can add some sand to this to increase the porosity of the media.
Using vermiculite will add extra benefit by retaining the water in it. We can also add some neem cake to the growing media to avoid various pests and disease damage to roots. Make sure that the soil should be free from weed seeds.
If there is only a shady place to grow tomatoes, one had to provide the light with the help of fluorescent bulbs, etc.
Covering the soil surface with any material is called mulching.
Mulching can be done with the help of sawdust or with husk for better growth and development of plants by avoiding moisture loss and pest and disease contamination. It also reduces weed incidence by cutting light and increasing soil temperature.
As we are growing the plants in containers, nutrient availability is limited. So, it is mandatory to supply nutrients. For this, we can use decomposed household waste like vegetable and fruit scraps and food wastes or farmyard manure or chemical fertilizers like urea, single super phosphate, MOP, etc., in required doses. Avoid the usage of non-degradable materials like plastic etc.
Watering the plants:
Daily water the plants and don’t starve the plants without irritating them. Over-irrigating the plants will also cause damage to the plants. Care should be taken to maintain proper drainage in the container to avoid water stagnation. It is better to check the moisture content of soil by touching it with a hand and providing irrigation if the soil is not wet enough. Loose the soil whenever you find it hard or compact in nature.
Note: Don’t use hard water for irrigating the indoor plants of tomatoes.
Staking: This is a method of providing support for the growing plant.
An indeterminate type of verities staking is compulsory. Stake the plants with the help of bamboo sticks and threads. Staking reduces fungal infections and also increases the quality and yield of plants.
This is a method of removal of excessive and unwanted growth. Prune the dried leaves, outgrown branches, and plant parts with pest and disease attacks immediately as soon as possible. Pruning increases proper aeration and also increases the size of the fruit.
Pest and diseases:
Indoors, aphids and mealybugs are the most affected pests to control; chemical sprays are not necessary indoors, as the plant population is very less, and for increased health benefits.
We can avoid the infection by removing and destroying the affected plant parts. We can also spray organic insecticides, which were prepared at the house with the help of garlic, curd, ghee, household waste, etc.
Plants will be ready for harvest within 70-100 days after sowing, depending upon the variety. It is better to practice staggered sowing so that we can get tomatoes year-round from our indoors for our daily consumption. Tomatoes can be picked at the ripe stage for household consumption.
As we saw above, the indoor cultivation of tomatoes is very easy. By indoor cultivation of tomatoes, we can get safe and fresh vegetables with minimum chemical residues. And also, we can save a lot of money when there are high prices for tomatoes in the market.