Wondering if I should try growing tomatos in cellar this winter (under lights, as I have no windows)
Is it a lot of work? And is it worth the effort?
2. If it's a sense of achievement you seek!
3. The special strip lighting, heating and irrigation is all available - and can be fun - we grew lettuces in the kitchen - but really, it might be more cost-effective to take up knitting? - Tim
you make me laugh... are you suggesting only people with a lot of extra time on their hands should try growing salad crops indoors?
I guess that answers my question. I have virtually no spare time to begin with. I suppose I'll have to be satisfied with supermarket tomatos this winter. (sigh.)
I m growing tomatos indoors under 1000 watt mh, and heat is definetly a problem, my leaves dry out fast and wrinkle slowly, I added a fan but still there not reponding as well as the outdoor ones, even tho they have alot more secondary growth than the outdoor ones,they are not as green. Also they have no photoperiod which means you can leave the lights on 24/7 if you want. albeit its an expencive setup. My varitey flowers until frost, since there is no frost indoors I assume I will get a large amount of fruit.I am not using hydroponics however, which may account for the poor distrubtion of flowers. Also since there are no bees indoors you have to hand polinate, I think my fan takes care of most of it, but I m not sure..we will see when the flowers are at full bloom, it seems the new growth curls in the light, I dont know if its too hot or maybe its too much light.? anyone know? to much fertalization?
I think that tomatoes need a cooler temp part of the day so the pollen doesn't dry up. Anything over 80F is not good for the flowers. Try lowering to the 60's at night, and warmer during the day. You might get better flowers/growth then.
I grew a lot of micro tom tomatoes indoors last winter. I am in zone 4 and after the seedlings were doing well and in 4" pots they only needed a south facing window for light.
I pull up (or dig) & haul in tomato plants at first sign of black stem, cutting tops, and pruning out any non fruit-bearing branch. They go into 5 gallon plastic buckets - and I harvest some - but not prolific - into December before they croak. The next month or so I eat tomato sauces I froze during the August-October heavy production season.
I haven't bother with lights - as there is south exposure & big windows in their winter space - but would love to try to prevent the drying out in some way. Maybe a plastic framework inside my chilly sunroom would get better results for humidity - and also reduce stress. Good luck!
I know you can grow tomatoes all winter under high intensity grow lights. Hydroponics is often used indoors to save space. I think when you use the high intensity lights you have to give the plants a period of darkness because they aren't weak lights. A fan is also a good idea. I haven't done this myself but I've seen it in progress a few times. A greenhouse would be the ideal thing for growing tomatoes in the summer, but that's a big deal. You could try making a simple cold frame out of some kind of plastic or you could purchase an inexpensive one online. Although you wouldn't have tomatoes all winter you could probably extend your growing season for awhile, depending on the conditions. Plus, you don;t have to deal with a whole building, you can just fold it up when it gets too cold. Hope my input was useful!
Growing tomatoes indoors is easy.
The key is to pick the right type of plants. You need self pollinating tomatoes and determinate (or bush type) tomatoes are usually easier to keep under control.
Most people will start off with a grape sized tomato (smaller than a cherry tomato) like "Santa" or "Jelly Bean".
A 250 Watt Metal Halide light with a CleanAce bulb is plenty big enough to grow one or two tomatoes with lettuce plants in the outer light ring. A 1000 Watt growlight like Marlboroman uses will grow about 10 or 12 tomato plants and should be elevated about six or eight feet above the plants.
You can grow either in hydroponics or soil in containers. Personally, I like the Stratum Method for growing tomatoes with soil. Five gallon buckets will work if you put the drain holes in properly. If you are buying planters, it is more helpful to use square ones to fit indoors better: 15" X 15" is just about right.
If you are a gardener and you try it, I bet you will work it out.
I am trying this for the first time. I salvaged a couple of rogue tomato plants that somehow traveled from my neighbors yard and took seed next to my foundation. They were about 9" high and were growing near our first frost. One I transplanted to an extra plant pot I had laying around (it's 10" round). I don't have any grow lights so I set the plant on my kitchen counter under one of the recessed ceiling lights (it's about 60 or 75 watts and about 5 feet above the countertop). Both plants are doing pretty well though I have little flying bugs living in the soil. I'm not sure what variety I have (tomatoes, not bugs). The larger of the two looks like a mutant (it's now 4.5 feet tall). I'm not sure if we can get any fruit. It has produced a few flowers but not all at the same time and they look like they don't open completely in the center. I've taken a cotton swab and swabbed the individual flowers when they open, hoping that I can "pollinate" any later blooming flowers. It's turned into a science project and most of mine usually fail. I'm hoping that even if I do not get any fruit, at least the plants might survive until spring and be transplanted outdoors.
Just a follow-up to my last post...We are getting tomatoes! They are growing approximately 12" from the 65Watt flood, which seem to be where most of the flowers are developing. I have very few burned or dried out leaves, which I've heard happens with higher wattage lights. The 65Watts seems adequate for our needs, which at this time is only 1 plant. So....all of you novice gardeners who want to give it a try, it CAN be done WITHOUT expensive lighting and paraphenalia. I have also noticed with our dry forced air heat that the soil dries out quickly so I've put a drawstring trash bag around the pot and closed as much as I could to help keep the soil moist. It seems to be helping.
Sure you can grow tomatoes indoors. With alittle due diligence you can have a fine harvest indoors. I do Eggplant, toms, hot peppers and bell peppers right now.
I'm using a 400w ceramic metal halide light under a 4' zertizontal hood....sound expensive? I't's not...To grow vegies indoors you do need adequate light, good soil, good nutes and alittle care.
Here is a link that might be useful:
If marijuana can grow well indoors, tomatoes should. It comes down to time, effort and cost.
I live in the Reno Nevada area and got very frusterated losing my whole garden to late and or early frosts and decided to try indoor gardening...my husband got tired of the plants taking over the 2 huge window ledges in the bathroom so I bought a cheep plastic 5 shelf storage unit and mounted a $9. Wal-mart grow light to the under side of each shelf. I planted tomatoes, Roma and grape, bell peppers & green beans(bush) To my happy suprise 2 days ago I picked my first bright red tomato!!! I have bell peppers that are about 2 inches in diameter and cute little baby green beans. It is relaxing and fun to be able to go to my laundry room/mud room and garden when the snow is still flying outdoors!! (:
I grew Matt's Wild Cherry in self-watering hanging baskets in a south window this past winter. Per Johnny's, this cultivar is not prolific, and it was not. Still it was nice to get a few tiny tomatoes every day to throw in the salads. You might do better with another cultivar - I'm going to try again next year.
In late winter/early spring I cut into a tomato and found the seeds had germinated. Just for fun I sliced it into 3 pieces and planted them. Approx. 30 tomato plants came up in this one little pot. I weeded the small ones out and transplanted the others. I now have two 2 1/2 to 3 ft. plants growning in my bedroom, it has a large south window with great light all day. I put 7 plants out on our balcolny where we don't get much sun until mid afternoon, they are in various stages of growth. I'm having fun with this, I have 4 other of the plants growing in the bedroom too, but I don't know what should be happening with them. Should they have flowers by now? If anyone has ever done anything like this I'd love to hear about it.
I'm going to try growing tomatoes indoors this winter but I know very little about gardening. How exactly does one "hand pollinate" the plants? When and how often do you have to do this? What is the largest variety of tomato you can grow in a 6-8" pot? Is there a kind that would be bigger than a Roma but won't be a huge plant? Thanks in advance for any advice!
Tomatoes are self-pollinating, but they depend upon wind, breezes, and the occasional visit by a bee, bumblebee, wasp, etc. to vibrate the pollen inside the flower so it lands on the stamen.
Indoors, you'll need to "flick" the stem that the blossom is attached to, or touch an electric toothbrush to it to cause the stem and flower to vibrate.
Matt's Wild Cherry is EXTREMELY prolific if planted in the ground. We're talking hundreds of 1/2" pearl sized tomatoes on a rampant plant.
I'm trying a grow light , 60 watts, for 8 hours a day on small seedlings right now. They are about 2 and 1/2 inches, 16 inches away from the grow light, but look spindly and tall. Maybe I should put the light closer?
How many tomato plants will grow under one 60 watt grow light? I have 7 small seedlings, so how many grow lights would I need?
I have been reading up on pruning tomatoes, and they say to pull off the first flowers until the plant gets to be about a foot high. It will be better to distribute the roots thoroughly before allowing the flowers to use up the energy for tomatoes at that time. Also they say to:
* Pluck off the top branches growing above the flowers, and pluck regularly.
* Make sure you are fertilizing it for the right things because they need potassium, not nitrogen, so don't use manure, but compost types.
* Pick off suckers, or small shoots that sprout between a branch and the stem. The shoots should grow on the side of the plant, not in between in the corners of each branch.
* They say to cut off the branches that don't have any flowers because they are dead weight and will take away from having bigger fruit. ** I would think there must be more details about this somewhere because how do you know which set of stems is never going to produce flowers? ** If anyone knows, please let me know, but so far that is what I have got.
* They also say to prune to about 4 to 6 branches for each plant and no more.
My winter warming plan for the plants is put a clear garbage bag over the top of the tomato, put the planter into a cardboard box stuffed with ruffled paper, put hot water in an empty 2 liter soda plastic bottle, slip about 4 or more of them alongside of the tomato plant and cover them with the hanging clear plastic bag on the tomato plant. I know they need an opening for carbon monoxide "Carbon dioxide?) exchange, but it doesn't have to be a large one.
Do you think this is effective for winter heat in a very cold closed in room?
Tell me what you think, but so far the little sprouts are doing fine. Going on day 3 and I can't wait.
You'll need more than a 60w light, especially if they're not in a south window. The plants stay very spindly w/o a lot of light & never produce much, if at all. I've tried growing them indoors a few times but never with much success until this year, when I planted a clearance plant in late July. It had time to mature outside & I brought it in when the nights began getting colder (it's in an upside-down planter I made). Since it's a hanging bush-type plant, I took it outside to hang on warm sunny days. It's produced very well in a south-facing window, I'll probably end up with 20+ or so tomatoes from it. I haven't used any artificial light & it's just beginning (in mid-Nov.) to get spindly growth, so I'll take it down before real long. Your idea for giving them some heat & humidity sounds good (the leaves & growing medium dry out very fast indoors in winter), but light is the factor that you can't get enough of, easily anyway. Good luck!
I got a few tomatoes last year from a determinate roma plant in deep flow hydroponics, but had a hard time providing enough quality light. I'm eagerly awaiting my Tiny Tom seeds, late start but the winters here are long.
I have had great success with leafy crops in a simple, homemade flood and drain hydro set-up. It consists of a 2' window box, a straight through connector, some aquarium air-line tubing, a small air pump, and a valve. The only tools needed are a drill and some silicone.
(I listed a link with the plans, but the site has been banned from here. I'd be happy to explain the contraption if you ask, or do a search for the windowsill wonder.)
This method allows you to incorporate nutrients into the media and/or the water (just make sure it drains VERY well: lava rocks and perlite work nicely). I'm happier with it than other hydro units i've built; mostly because its easy to construct and i don't have to hassle so much with EC/Ph/nutrient mixing. The greens go crazy, and i'll be using it for those Tiny Tom seeds when they finally arrive. You can also fit four of them under one 48" shoplight, though results are better keeping it to two units per light.
Remember, if you use less than HID lighting, the smaller the plant, the better.
I am rooting tomato clones right now under 250W MH and in about a week I will have 4 rooted and ready to plant and go under a 400W MH gonna try some pepper and cucumber cuttings. Once it is fruiting time I will put the plants under a 400W HPS on a timer. We wil see how it goes. :)
I want to start my seedlings indoors next year, and possibly try to grow tomatoes indoors. Our summer season is short and some years we get small crops since our zone is seasonal.
What is a good light to consider to grow tomatoes indoors, and possibly use to also help start seedlings that will go outdoors?
I searched on Amazon and found Hydrofarm JSV2 2-Foot Jump Start T5 Grow Light System, along with other lights. How many watts should I be looking for? Is Metal Halide a must ,or could I use fluorescent if they are growing lights? How much should I expect to pay for something that is strong enough? Anyone have a specific light they recommend?
You can use fluorescent for starting seeds. I haven't tried getting plants to fruit under them yet. I use a $10 shop light from home depot with white fluorescent tubes.
I have 11 tomatoe plants and 6 bell pepper plants planted in 5 gallon buckets. They are outside and doing great. I want to continue growing them this winter in my basement. I have 5 compact fluorescent bulbs that use 65 watts but put out 500 watts each for a total of 2500 watts. Will these bulbs work as grow lights and is 2500 watts enough light for 17 adult plants? Please advise.
I have seen tomato and citrus plants for sale grow fine in the garden department of Costco, which is completely indoors, like the rest of the warehouse.
Go for it!
I love how this discussion "thread" has spanned from 2003 to 2011.
Does anyone know what sort of yield one could expect growing lettuce or spinach or herbs indoors? How many watts per sq ft would lettuce or herbs require?
I read 30 watts per sq ft. In 100 sq ft that is 3000 watts for 12 hours a day is 36 KW/h per day, or about 1080 per month, about $162 in electricity.
What can you yield per sq ft? Any thoughts?
I will be experimenting with this after the 1st of the year - when the days start getting longer.
Going to plant a diva cuke and a grape tomato in the corner windows (2 windows face south and 2 face west in the corner of the house).
Also want to eventual get fig and citrus trees for this little area....
Yes, I have grown tomatoes indoors. My current crop is beginning to ripen today, the first day of winter 2011. It was grown hydroponically using a 126 watt LED for lighting.
Here is a link that might be useful: Hydroponic Workshop
Your blog is very interesting Mr. Frost! Congrats on your sucess!
I started my seeds earlier this week, and waiting for sprouting. I had them on the radiator, but think it got a bit too hot, hope they aren't killed.....don't think the soil temp went past 100-110 at the very most, so they should survive that as it is within normal range - or so I hope!
did 2 kinds of grape toms, black krim, and some other smaller fruited one.
Hoping to move these into larger and larger containers, and maybe have them be outside when the weather turns hot, but wouldn't mind some harvesting during the early spring either.
I have 3 shop lights, one cool one hot bulb each, all on the same shelf, but may have to divide as more plants get into bigger pots...
waiting on pepers eggplants and herbs as well as the toms to sprout...
Maybe for christmas :)
I started out my tomatoes around mid December. Used 2 grow lights, 500 watt heat lamp, a timer, reflective emergency sleeping bag, and a fan. There is more information on wesite listed below.
Here is a link that might be useful: Basement Tomatoes
nearly all my toms are up, some are into their 2nd repotting.
Best looking plants I've ever done from seed, now that I know to plant deeper with each repotting.....and have so much supplemental lighting....
I am going to try to grow Husky and Juliets this winter. The Huskies are plants started mid summer and the Juliets were started a couple weeks ago. Fingers crossed.
I am growing 4 tomato plants under 1000w MH grow light, the temperature in the concrete room is about 67 degrees, It is January in Missouri and very cold outside. The plants look good except for yellow leaves... I am not certain as to what is causing the yellowing of the leaves. I was thinking it was due to under watering as I have read that tomato's are prone to root rot if over watered so I have refrained from watering but 1 to 2 times a week (about 1/4 gallon per plant). The plants are in 4 gallon planters with about 3 inches of mulch in the bottom for drainage, 3 inches of compost, and 5 inches or more of potting mix.... Anyone have any suggestions as to why the leaves are yellow? Maybe too much light, not enough water, too much water? This is my first grow indoors and spent a lot of money on the equipment to do the grow and hopefully many more to come...I just have to figure out what I might be doing wrong so I don't continue to do it, any help from you veteran indoor growers will be much appreciated :)
I am building an indoor grow box right now.. Made a bed heater last week, and will be making another later... Have the plywood on my router table and am designing the box now.. hoping to cut it today..
I have several tomato and pepper seedlings on the heater now, about 3 days into germinating, and I see the first sprout this morning...
So I need to get going... The idea is to build a box that I can use year round.. To start seeds and plant them during the summer months, and to eventually grow during the winter months indoors...
For now, I have (3) 25w 5800k CFL bulbs I will use on these plants (coverage of an area 14" x 27").. The box will have a light hood that can be raised and lowered to the plants, and the heaters will be in two platforms that can be raised to different heights...
I have till this fall to decide on what lighting I will need to add for indoor winter growing...
Once I have success with this first box, I will build more...
So, my first question is this.... The interior base dimension of this first box will be 30" x 30"... What size pots, and how much total maximum interior height from the heated base to the bottom of the lights will I need to grow tomatoes in the box?... Only trying to get a couple tomatoes a week off of the things... Eventually increasing production some and adding other veggies as I learn and get it all dialed in...
My second question is regarding the lights... Planning on adding at this point 5 red 2' LED tube lights (11watts each), and 1 blue 2' LED tube light (11 watts)... The CFLs and LEDs will be on different timers... And I plan to make the interior of the box as reflective as possible... Thinking about possibly mounting a couple of the red tubes down near the tops of the pots... (opposite sides of the box)..
Does this sound like enough light?
I'm sorry I've neglected this thread. I hope y'all found your way to the growing under lights forum. In general, when growingplants that are completely dependent on artificial light, aim for a minimum of 6000 lumens/sq. ft. More is better
I don't know anything about LEDs, but I have the impression that the distance of their light range is very short. CFC bulbs in clamp on shop lights would be my first choice for aiming light as I needed it. And maximizing reflectivity is good. The thick white plastic sold in hydroponics stores is excellent for that.
OGM, while you can squeeze 4 smallish plants into your box, or 2 large, I would not push it that far. They need air circulation for health. Aim some small fans at them to help strenghten their stems and discourage disease and insects.
Tom-tom, you may have a 'perched water table' problem, caused by your drainage layer, topped with compost. Al Taplas of the container growing forum can help you develop a better mix.
For watering, I would water as much as necessary until I see it run out the bottom, and then not water again until the soil feels dry down to the first knuckle of my thumb.
Sorry to dig up an old thread but I saw this and it reminded me of myself a couple of months ago! I have a space in my basement that I thought was perfect for growing veges indoors so I did some extensive research on how to do it. I found that building a growbox was a bit beyond my "skill level" so I bought one instead. I have started a blog about what to look out for when buying an indoor growbox - hope it can help someone here!
Here is a link that might be useful: http://briangrows.blogspot.com
Ok, well, I could only read a few responses before my proactive spirit kicked in. You can grow big beautiful indoor tomatoes with 26w CFL bulbs. Go get yourself 2+ 26w (or higher) CFL bulbs that are "daylight" colored. This should mean that they shine at 6500k. Hover them 1-3 inches above your plants and put them on a timer. You don't need HPS or MH anything to grow plants. They are just the easiest way to grow faster. The most popular HPS bulbs for growing are 150w and require a ballast. They produce the same amount of lumens as my 150w CFL. But, my CFL only gets warm. Not hot enough to harm an ice cube. :P
Your results may vary between types of plant. But you can grow anything under a bulb if you know what you're doing. Just make sure you keep it fertilized and watered, make sure the air around it circulates, and don't listen to anyone that says you NEED anything that costs $80 and produces mass amounts of heat. Unless you need to grow something really fast and have excellent cooling and circulation, stay away from HPS and MH bulbs. Mainly for warehouse groweries and excitable pot growers.
Pot, dirt, two bulbs under $10, small fan, water, cheap fertilizer, house. All ingredients needed for your hobby-level interest in this. If anyone needs any proof of what I'm saying, let me know. I have lots. :)
Oh, and the bulbs I'm talking about are readily available online art the two home improvement giants' sites. Or, if you're feeling impatient, you can find then in store at ACE. Hope this helped. Good luck with your yield.
I have not seen yet. but I do know that there are certain techniques which are implemented to grow Tomato indoor.
Here is a link that might be useful: Modular Kitchen Chennai
This post was edited by spacewood on Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 3:22
Yeah I have some going right now