How To Grow Tomatoes In a Kitchen Garden

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Here’s how I grow tomatoes in my kitchen garden. These are indeterminate so they are being trained up a string.

There are 2 stems and the plant is in a 2 1/2 gallon pot of coco coir.

How To Grow Tomatoes In a Kitchen Garden


How To Grow Tomatoes In a Kitchen Garden

Grow Tomatoes In a Kitchen Garden

Tomatoes are a versatile and beloved addition to any kitchen garden. Growing them indoors can be especially rewarding, providing fresh, flavorful produce regardless of the weather outside.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of cultivating tomatoes indoors, focusing on a particularly enjoyable variety – the Burpee Steak Sandwich hybrid. 

Most people would love to eat freshly grown tomatoes year round. Though tomatoes can be grown in the winter in a greenhouse, this can become expensive with the costs of heating and supplemental lighting, in addition to the cost of the greenhouse. The most likely option for hobbyists who want homegrown tomatoes throughout the year is to grow them in containers indoors. Utah State Extension

Choosing the Right Variety and Setup

Beefsteak Tomatoes Ready for Harvest

  • Selecting the Tomato Variety: I chose the Burpee Steak Sandwich hybrid for its beefsteak-like quality and superior taste. In my experience, this variety outshines others like the Early Girl tomatoes in terms of flavor.
  • Setting Up Your Plant: This tomato plant thrives in a 2 and 1/2 gallon pot filled with Coco coir. It’s actually a cutting from another plant, demonstrating how you can propagate tomatoes through cloning.

Understanding Tomato Plant Characteristics

  • Rooting Potential: Tomato plants have a unique feature – their hairy stems can develop roots. This means you can plant them deeper than their original growth in the pot, encouraging a robust root system.
  • Planting Depth: For my plant, I buried a long stem, about 6 to 9 inches long, into the pot, leaving only the top above the soil. This method promotes healthy root growth.

Caring for Your Tomato Plant

  • Pruning and Training: Since the Steak Sandwich is an indeterminate plant, it grows tall and requires pruning. I’ve trained mine to have two tops, guiding it along a trellis as it grows.
  • Fruit Setting: The plant is now bearing fruit and flowers. As it reaches the top of the trellis, you can either train it further or trim it back, depending on your space and preference.

Companion Plants and Diversity

  • Companion Gardening: Alongside my tomato plant, I’ve grown carrots, a dwarf citrus tree, and even a dragon fruit cactus. Adding a variety of plants like a Purple Okinawan sweet potato enriches the indoor garden ecosystem.
  • Dealing with Pests and Issues: One of my sweet potato vines, initially a store-bought one, has faced bug problems but continues to grow.
  • Monitoring and addressing such issues is crucial for a healthy garden.

Additional Plants and Considerations

My Kitchen Garden

  • Pepper Plants and Nutrient Needs: I have an old pepper plant showing signs of nutrient deficiency, underscoring the importance of regular health checks and adjustments in your indoor garden.
  • Strawberry Tower: An upcoming addition to my garden is a strawberry tower, which will soon house dormant strawberry plants. This adds another layer of variety to the indoor garden.

Harvesting and Consumption

  • Staggered Harvesting: One of the benefits of growing indeterminate tomatoes is the staggered ripening of fruits. This is perfect for single dwellers or small families who don’t need a large harvest at once.
  • Enjoying the Fruits: The joy of picking ripe tomatoes right from your indoor garden is unmatched. The staggered ripening ensures a continuous supply over time.

How To Grow Tomatoes In a Kitchen Garden FAQs

Growing tomatoes in your kitchen garden can raise several questions, especially if you’re new to indoor gardening or experimenting with different tomato varieties.

To help you get the most out of your indoor tomato garden, I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions. These cover common concerns and tips to ensure your tomatoes thrive indoors.

Q: What type of pot and soil should I use for indoor tomatoes?

A: For indoor tomatoes, a 2 and 1/2 gallon pot is ideal. Use a well-draining medium like Coco coir, which provides excellent aeration and moisture retention for robust root growth.

Q: Can I grow tomatoes from a cutting of another tomato plant?

A: Yes, tomatoes can be propagated through cuttings. Take a 6 to 9-inch cutting and plant it deep enough so that only the top is above the soil. This encourages a strong root system from the stem.

Q: How do I manage the growth of indeterminate tomato varieties indoors?

A: Indeterminate tomato plants, like the Steak Sandwich hybrid, grow tall and require support. Train them up a trellis and prune regularly. You can trim the plant once it reaches the desired height.

Q: What other plants can I grow alongside my tomato plant?

A: Companion plants like carrots, dwarf citrus trees, and even unique choices like dragon fruit cactuses can be grown alongside tomatoes. These add diversity to your indoor garden and can create a healthy ecosystem.

Q: How do I address pest problems in indoor tomato plants?

A: Keep an eye out for signs of pests or diseases. For minor infestations, use organic pesticides or natural remedies. Ensuring good air circulation and hygiene can also prevent pest problems.

Q: When is the best time to harvest tomatoes grown indoors?

A: Harvest tomatoes when they reach full color and are slightly soft to the touch. Since indeterminate varieties ripen over time, you can enjoy a continuous harvest.

Q: Can I grow tomatoes indoors all year round?

A: Absolutely! One of the biggest advantages of indoor gardening is the ability to grow tomatoes throughout the year, irrespective of outdoor weather conditions.

Remember, each gardening experience is unique, and what works best for you may vary depending on your environment and the specific needs of your plants. Happy gardening!

How To Grow Tomatoes In a Kitchen Garden Conclusion

tomatoes on the vine
Growing tomatoes indoors offers a fantastic way to enjoy gardening without being limited by seasons.

Right now there is snow and single-digit temperatures outside. But I am about to enjoy vine-ripe tomatoes in January.

With a little care and the right setup, you can enjoy fresh tomatoes year-round. Happy gardening and keep it green!