Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is necessary for a healthy body and mind. Our busy schedules have not only affected our food habits but, chemically rich vegetables have raised the levels of steroids in our bodies too. We have seen people keep kitchen gardens or lawn gardens where they grow herbs, chilies, tomatoes, and much more. I know many of you must be thinking about how to grow tomatoes at home with limited space. In this article, we will learn how to grow tomatoes in pots at home.
1. Which Variety of Tomatoes can be Grown at Home?
The varieties of tomatoes depend on the purpose for which we need them. Some popularly homegrown tomatoes are:
- Cherokee (purple and green),
- San Marzano,
- Plum tomatoes,
- Cherry tomatoes,
- yellow pear tomatoes,
- Black Krim tomatoes,
- Amish Paste tomatoes, and
- Rose tomatoes. (See Meaning of Different Colour Roses)
2. How Long will they take to Grow?
Depending upon the day the plantings are transferred to the soil, they will ripe in hardly 65 days to 70 days. The overall process takes up to 100 days which includes sowing the seeds first time till the day they are harvested. (See Does All Fruit Grow on Trees?)
3. What Conditions do Tomatoes need to Grow?
3A. Sunlight is the main requirement for these tomatoes plants because they are sun lovers. They thrive best when given sunlight for 8 to 10 hours each day. They will survive easily and result in good juicy fruits.
- In the northern regions, they require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight.
- The tomatoes species in the southern regions want light mild afternoon sunlight either directly or throw shadows created by us. (See Is Tomato a Fruit or Vegetable?)
3B. Usually, tomatoes require mud-like soil to grow. It is better to prepare the soil with compost or organic planting mix before planting the seeds. The acidity level, of the soil, should be between 6.0 to 7.0 pH which is almost below neutral acidity. Following are the recommended soils:
- Tomatoes should be planted in well-drained and loose soil which is appropriately tilled. The garden soils of our houses are good for them too.
- During their early stages, they are best supported in sandy-loamy soil.
- Heavy clayey soil is beneficial for almost ripe tomatoes.
3C. To prevent the soil and new plants from weeds,
- Spread around a 1-inch layer of mulch around the plant. This mixture will help in retaining the moisture of the soil too.
- As fruits set on plants, it is necessary to add fertilizers. One tablespoon of Ammonium Nitrate to each plant every four to six weeks. It helps the plant to produce large fruits and gives strength to plants for supporting bigger fruits. (See How Do You Get Chiggers Out of Your Yard?)
4. What is the Right Temperature to Grow Tomatoes?
- It is better for the crops if they are not ruined by rain during their initial 3 to 4 months. Tomatoes love warmth, therefore their seeds germinate quickly within 6-14 days when continuously exposed to temperatures between 20 to 26.67 degrees Celsius (68 degrees F to 80 degrees F).
- They can germinate at 15.56 degrees Celsius (60 degrees F), but the germinating process will be much slower. The adequate temperature requirements depend on varieties of tomatoes and the region they are grown in but need warmth.
- As the plant reaches closer to harvesting season, the temperature should be maintained, especially during the night. It helps the plant to produce evenly colored fruits.
- An important consideration in how to grow tomatoes in pots at home is the temperature limits. Be careful as when the temperature rises above 95 degrees F, the plants stop growing. (See 11 Health Benefits of Eating Ice Apple Fruit)
5. How Much Water is Required?
You need to water your tomato plants at regular intervals if you live in areas where the average temperature ranges between 23.89 degrees Celsius (75 degrees F) or above. Water shortage during high temperatures leads to wilting of the plant is another essential thing to remember in how to grow tomatoes in pots. In general, tomatoes should be watered whenever the soil looks dry to a depth of 1 to 2 inches.
6. When to Transfer in Pots?
While growing tomatoes in pots, it is necessary not to sow many seeds in one pot. Every seed needs space to branch out and if you notice one strong seedling while others growing with it are weaker, then uproot the weaker ones. It helps the stronger one gain proper nutrition from the soil. After leaves shoot up, then transfer each plant into a separate pot. The average size for a pot under how to grow tomatoes in pots guide should be 4 inches.
Similarly, if you have bought a rooted plant, or you are transferring your plant from pot to garden. It is necessary to plant them deeper in garden soil. This will help in the proper development of their root system. (See 27 Types of Green Apples)
7. How to Provide Sunlight & Wind in Winters?
Winter sunlight is not as strong as the summers. So, the required amount of heat cannot be provided to plants just by keeping the pots on the window.
- Arrange for 14 to 18 hours of artificial plant lighting per day. Place the artificial lights higher than the plants to help them grow towards the light. (Also read What Are The Benefits Of Sunlight To The Body?)
- And if you have a garden and plan to plant them outside, then choose the sunniest part.
- Plants become stronger with natural winds, but you are growing them indoors, therefore turn the fan on for 5-10 minutes twice per day. The air circulation provided to them for these short periods will fulfill their requirement of some breeze swaying their stems.
8. Why is Regular Cutting Required?
- After the plant reaches a height of 3 feet, it is compulsory to cut off the leaves from the bottom of each stem. They receive less sunlight and are close to the ground. It makes them more prone to soil pathogens, and their removal will save the plant from fungal diseases.
- In the how to grow tomatoes in pots guide, an important point to remember is that fungal diseases may develop even after removing those leaves. So, spraying the plants with compost tea on a weekly basis proves to be quite effective.
9. Does Pinching and Pruning Help?
- Pinching requires the removal of suckers developing on the joint of two branches. They look as if a leaf will pop out, but they will not bear any flower or leaf instead, they will take up energy from the plant unnecessarily.
- Removing dead leaves and the top big leaves to allow sunlight to reach evenly to all leaves is needed and this process is termed Pruning. Do not overdo it because photosynthesis takes place in leaves, and fewer leaves on the plant will result in fewer sweet fruits.
10. How to Support your Tomato Plant?
Whether growing in pots or in the backyard, it is necessary to support the branches and stems since the tomato plant is a climber. Tying the stem or branches to a stick or some artificial support is helpful. Be careful,
- do not tie the stems too tightly that they break
- or too loose, that they do not gain any support from it.
So now you know how to grow tomatoes in pots as well as how to grow tomatoes in home gardens. Go and read 7 Recipes for Fresh Tomatoes from Garden.