QUESTION: I’m always disappointed at the end of the season when you have to rip out your tomato plants. Can you keep a tomato plant alive all year? – Chrissy H
You can grow tomatoes indoors to keep them alive all year, but indoor tomatoes tend to be smaller than outdoor plants in the summer as well as producing less of a harvest. You can move plants from outside to the indoors for the winter, but they will eventually stop producing fruit. However, tomato plants in a container that move from outside to inside will experience an extended harvest. Sowing new tomato seeds indoors every two weeks using the succession planting method should give you a constant supply of tomatoes.
Make sure where your tomatoes are positioned indoors, they’re getting at least eight hours of sunlight each day, they are free from drafts, and the temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (though tomatoes grow best between 75 and 85 degrees). The containers you’re growing tomatoes in indoors should have drainage holes and be made of an unglazed material so plants can breathe.
Start your tomatoes indoors in a seed starter mix, planted a quarter of an inch deep in six-inch pots. Water frequently enough that the soil stays lightly moist. Start the baby plants out in a warm spot, like the top of your refrigerator. Once five to 10 days have passed and germination has occurred, you can move them to their more permanent, brightly lit location. A southern-facing windowsill is ideal.
When plants have reached three inches tall, it’s time to move them into larger containers and start them on a fertilization regimen. You’ll need to fertilize your indoor tomatoes every two weeks.