Indoor Growing Part 5: Tomatoes & Peppers
In the final part to our Indoor Growing Series, we tackle everyone’s favorite summer crops: tomatoes and peppers.
These healthy foods are bountiful in the summer time, and quite easy, but they can be grown indoors as well. The main thing to look for is varieties that don’t take long to grow, as well as more compact varieties. Using smaller varieties like Small Fry or Patio for your tomatoes and cherry or banana peppers are best, though with a little extra care you can grow bell peppers as well.
It is important to keep in mind how much space you will need to grow tomatoes and peppers. Unlike sprouts, micro greens and herbs that grow on your kitchen counter, these plants grow to be larger. They not only need larger, deeper pots than your herbs, but they need more space as well. A sun porch, side room, or garage may work best.
If you don’t have a lot of light, you can always use grow lights to aid in making sure the plants get enough light and heat. Even if you have light, you may still want to invest in grow lights because the more light you have, the more tomatoes and peppers you’ll grow. If plants are not getting enough light, you will notice they start to stretch for light, growing very tall and leggy.
Once you have bought your seeds and decided on where you will be growing your plants, it is time to plant them. You will need a pot that is about 12 inches in diameter and is equally as deep. Fill the container with starter potting mix and plant your seeds about ¼ inch deep. Water and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Your seeds should germinate in about five to ten days.
Once your seedlings are about three inches tall, transplant them from the starter soil to potting soil. At this time, you can thin out your plants as well. Keep the healthiest looking plants to transplant and you will generally put, at most, two plants in a 12 inch pot.
About two weeks after you transplant your plants, begin to fertilize and continue to water thoroughly, keeping the soil moist. Just as with growing these crops outside, you may need to stake the tomatoes and peppers when they start to grow larger. Your crops may not grow to be quite as large as they do when they are outside, but you will still find them full of flavor.