How to Grow Cherry Tomatoes Indoors SMART MONEY GREEN PLANETJanuary 29, 2021
How to grow cherry tomatoes indoors. Cherry tomato plants are fussy growers, but as long the plant is placed in the right location, it will produce ripe and flavour rich cherry tomatoes all summer long.
If you are a beginner to vegetable gardening, the guide below of how to grow cherry tomatoes indoors will be useful.
How to Start Cherry Tomatoes Indoors
Tomatoes are sun hungry plants. They love heat and direct sunlight. Therefore, the very first step is to find a location in your house that is bright, warm and receives direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours of the day.
Cherry tomatoes do really well in a conservatory. A south facing window is also ideal for growing tomatoes.
You will need a few bits to start growing cherry tomatoes indoors from seed. Below is a list of items you will need:
- Cherry tomato seeds such as black cherry, sungold or yellow pear cherry tomatoes.
- Compost – If you make your own compost, great, if not, be sure to purchase a bag that is suitable for vegetables.
- Plant pots. Start the seeds off in a seedling tray, reusable container or make your own DIY compostable pots. However, once the plant gets to a certain height, it will need a large, permanent pot. Any large sized pot, with drainage holes is suitable.
- A small set of garden tools. These are great to have because you can use them to do most of your gardening indoors as well as outdoors.
Starting Your Cherry Tomato Seeds
The best time to start your seeds is early Spring, when the days are longer and warmer. Therefore, mid-March is suitable in the UK.
In Canada or the US, be sure to check which zone you are in. However, since these cherry tomato plants are growing inside, it does not matter if you are early with starting the seeds.
How to Grow Cherry Tomatoes Indoors
- Fill each seedling pot halfway with compost, then place one seed per pot. Cover the seed, then water it.
- Leave the pots or trays in a warm and sunny location.
- The compost should be moist, therefore water the seeds with a little less than a teaspoon of water every couple of days.
- The seeds will take a few weeks to sprout. So do not worry if you don’t see any green shoots for the first couple of weeks.
- Once the green shoots start to appear, continue to water the newly formed baby plant with a teaspoon of water every couple of days. At this point they will not need much water unless the soil is drying up too quickly.
- As the plant grows, water it regularly.
- When the new tomato plant is approximately 5 inches in height, you can transfer it to its permanent pot. Once again, fill 3/4 of the pot with compost.
- Then place the cherry tomato plant in the pot and cover all of the roots. You can also cover leaves that are at the base of the stem as this area can produce more roots.
- Prune the plant as you see offshoots starting to grow between the main stem and leaf branches.
- Support the plant. Tomatoes are heavy plants, therefore support the main stem by placing a bamboo stick in the middle of the plant. Use a piece of strong string or reusable clips to attach the stem to the bamboo stick.
- Water regularly.
- Rotate the plant once a week so that all of the leaves get a chance to absorb the sun. This will also ensure that the cherry tomato plant grows straight instead of skewing to one side.
Chose a pot that has drainage holes. Place the cherry tomato pot on a tray to catch excess water. Any water that the plant does not need will drain away. This will ensure that your plant does not cause a mess when water runs off. It will also ensure that the roots are not water logged, which could cause them to rot.
How to Prune Tomato Plants
Tomatoes are bushy plants, therefore you have to prune the plant so as not to get it to look wild. This goes for cherry tomatoes as well. By pruning the plant, you are also ensuring that the plant will use energy to strengthen the stem and produce tomatoes.
If the plant continues to produce more and more leaves, you will not get a good harvest of tomatoes. Therefore make sure you prune the tomato plant.
Pruning basically means to pinch off the extra leaves that are starting to form between the stems and the leaf branches. You can allow for some extra branches to grow leaves, but not all.
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How to Pollinate Tomatoes Growing Indoors
You may be wondering how to pollinate tomatoes growing indoors. After all, we know that bees and insects are important for pollination. However, many tomato varieties nowadays are self pollinating.
Towards the end of May, you will start to see dainty yellow flowers appear on the tomato plant. Allow the flowers to fully open.
Whilst, most tomatoes are self pollinating, they still need some help from the wind.
Therefore, once flowers start to appear on the cherry tomato plant, keep a window or door open once a day to enable the tomatoes to receive air. The breeze will help with pollination.
However, if you find that the flowers are dropping off with no fruit in sight, use the electric toothbrush trick. It works wonders.
I posted a video on Instagram which shows how I pollinated the cherry tomatoes to speed up the flower to fruit process.
You can view the video by following the link, cherry tomato pollination video on Instagram.
How to Water Cherry Tomatoes Growing Inside
Cherry tomatoes need to be watered regularly, especially when they start to fruit. You can water the plant from the bottom up if the roots have reached the base of the pot. Alternatively pour the water in the soil from the base of the stem.
Be sure not to over water it. On average, I pour about ½ cup of water every other day, one cup if the weather is too hot.
How will I know if the Cherry Tomatoes have enough Water?
If the leaves start to droop, this is a good indication that the cherry tomato plant needs water.
If you see that the tips of the leaves are turning yellow or the cherry tomato has a split, then it is an indication that you are over watering. In this case, leave the plant to recover and only water it when the soil looks dry.
These are good indications for watering most vegetable plants.
Harvesting Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes ripen faster than regular tomatoes. You will know that the tomato is ready when it has a bright or deep colour and it will easily detach from the stem. If the tomato does not detach easily, then leave it for another day or two.
The Environmental Benefits of Growing Tomatoes
- Growing your own tomatoes reduces your carbon footprint because they are not travelling miles to get to your kitchen.
- When you grow cherry tomatoes at home you are using less chemicals and fertilisers, therefore ensuring that what you eat is healthy and non toxic.
- As mentioned in my other posts, uneaten fruit and vegetables produce greenhouse gases when they rot in landfills. Therefore, when you grow and eat what you need, you are reducing food waste and ensuring little or no food waste enters the waste stream. Every small reduction we make at home counts for some reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Finally, share your home grown cherry tomatoes with friends and family, or simply freeze them. The frozen tomatoes will be useful in the winter when making soups, curries and pasta sauces.
I have shared how I have successfully grown cherry tomatoes indoors. However, everyone’s experience is different.
Do not get disheartened if the plant does not do well in the first instance. If you notice that the plant is struggling to produce flowers, look for another spot in the house that is warmer and receives sunlight.
The benefit of growing tomatoes indoors is that they are less prone to disease.
Tomatoes I grow outdoors sometimes do well and sometimes they do not. This is mainly because of diseases such as tomato blight or fluctuations in temperature. In the house, the tomatoes are away from being affected by disease and the temperature is fairly stable.
Easy Recipe Ideas for Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes taste delicious when eaten in a salad. You can also make a mango salsa or a tomato chutney with them.
Mango and Cherry Tomato Salsa
- 1 ripe mango, cut into small cubes
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ lime, freshly squeezed juice
- Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, cut into small cubes
- Salt and red chilli powder to taste
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander or parsley
Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl and leave it in the fridge to cool until you are ready to serve.
Serves 2 – 3 people. The fresh salsa is delicious as a dip with toasted naan bread or tortilla chips.
Spicy Garlic and Cherry Tomato Chutney
You can make a spicy tomato chutney with any tomato variety, including cherry tomatoes.
- 1 bowl over ripe cherry tomatoes cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- ¼ teaspoon extra hot red chilli powder (adjust according to your spice preference)
- ½ lime, freshly squeezed juice
- Salt to taste
Warm the oil on medium heat and add all of your ingredients, except lime juice. Give it a good stir for about 1 minute.
Then turn the heat down, cover the pan and cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. You can add a couple of tablespoons of water if needed.
You will know that the chutney is ready when the tomatoes look like a paste.
It normally takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the tomatoes to fully cook on slow heat. When ready, add the lime juice and cook the chutney for another minute.
Serves 2 – 3 people. Serve the chutney on buttered toast or enjoy it with a homemade paratha and tea.
Are you already growing cherry tomatoes indoors? Share your experience and tips on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you.
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