Because growing food indoors is increasingly popular – whether you’re gardening at home or producing tomatoes on an indoor farm -- a University of Florida scientist is studying which fruits and vegetables can flourish inside. 

Celina Gómez, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of environmental horticulture, led a recently published study in which she found that several compact tomato varieties grow well indoors. 

“Most of the compact plants we’ve grown are short and narrow, making them suitable to be placed in small spaces such as kitchen countertops or office desks,” Gómez said. By contrast, “regular” tomato plants used for outdoor gardening are tall and often require cages or some other type of support.  

For the study, Gómez and her master’s student, Stephanie Cruz tried to grow 20 compact tomato cultivars indoors and in greenhouses at the main UF campus in Gainesville. To mimic indoor home growing, scientists used cooler temperatures and low light. They did not use supplemental lighting in the greenhouse.

Based on the research, Gómez can recommend cultivars such as Micro-Tom, Siam, Red Robin, Sweet ‘n’ Neat Scarlet, and more for transplant producers to grow and ship to nurseries for you to buy and grow at home. Other varieties, such as Little Bing, Sweet  Sturdy Jimmy and Tarzan are too large for indoor growing. 

The study’s results are crucial for indoor gardeners and can help commercial growers.

Read the entire article at The Apopka Voice