Tomatoes in Winter

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There are news stories that tomatoes and products made from tomatoes are going to be in short supply in the United States this year, until the next tomato harvest. Depending on if the drought continues for another year, it may be expensive to purchase tomatoes and tomato products.

Can a person grow tomatoes inside during the winter? Yes. Tomato plants like sunshine. If you have a window that can provide sunshine at least 6 hours a day, you can place a tomato plant by the window to grow. If you do not have a window or place to put a tomato plant, there are grow lights that do not cost very much.

Tomatoes need room for their roots. I plant my tomato plants in a five gallon bucket or equivalent pot. They also like the soil to drain well, meaning the pot or bucket has to have holes in the bottom for excess water to drain out. I have a tendency to over water my tomato plants, even outside I will over water and the plant will wilt and die. To be safe from overwater, do a simple test of pushing a finger an inch below the surface, if the soil is moist – do not water.

Tomatoes are self pollinators, meaning they do not need bees or butterflies to pollinate the flower in order to produce fruit. When you see blooms open, usually in the mornings, gently shake the plant, and let the pollen fall on the flowers to pollinate.

I start my tomato plants by planting a few seeds in a solo cup half full of potting mix. I only fill the solo or plastic cup half full, as tomato plants will form roots along the stem, if the stem touches soil. I wait until the new seedlings are a few inches tall, then very carefully add more soil. By doing this the young tomato plant develops a stronger root system.

Likewise, when I transplant the young, approximately six inches tall plant into the pot or bucket I am going to have it live in, I only have the pot half full of potting mix or soil. As the plant grows taller, I gently add more mix or soil until the soil is two inches from the top of the pot or bucket. When I put the plant in the pot, I add a hand full of crushed egg shells, to help prevent blossom rot on the fruit caused by not enough calcium.

I water and wait for the bloom, gently shake the plant, and wait for fruit.

Bell Pepper plant waiting to be planted outside after growing all winter in the house.

This planting method works for bell peppers, any type of hot peppers. I use an eight inch pot for the peppers.

Eggplants are another night shade classified plant that can be raised inside. I have not grown eggplants inside, but I would start with a 12 inch pot and see how the plant does.

If a plant needs more root room, you can always transplant into a larger pot.

amtolle

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