Can You Grow Tomatoes in a Potting Shed?

If you’re new to gardening, chances are you’re just looking to create a way to have regular access to freshly grown flowers, fruits, or vegetables. However, if you don’t enough garden space, you may be curious if you can grow plants in an alternative space. For instance, your potting shed may be a potential spot to grow plants like tomatoes.

You can grow tomatoes in a potting shed. Although tomato plants prefer direct sunlight, they can still thrive in partial shade inside a potting shed. However, they’re likely to produce fewer flowers, and the fruits may take longer to grow and ripen if there isn’t adequate sunlight.

Understanding what exactly a potting shed is and how it compares to other gardening structures is a great place to start when entering the indoor gardening world. Read on to learn more about growing tomatoes in a potting shed, what a potting shed is, and how it compares to a greenhouse.

Growing Tomatoes in a Potting Shed

As discussed, you can grow plants, including tomatoes, in a potting shed, but certain conditions must be met in order for the plants to grow. These conditions are the same as the ones needed in nature: 

Tomatoes use photosynthesis to produce energy. This process involves converting carbon dioxide in the air and water from the soil into sugar the plant can “eat”. For more information on photosynthesis, check out my other article: Should You Cut Off Black Venus Fly Traps

If one of the key ingredients for photosynthesis is missing, the plant won’t be able to grow. When growing tomatoes in a potting shed, the most important step you will need to take is to ensure they stay warm and get plenty of water. 

Be sure to water your plants frequently, upwards of twice a day. Additionally, make sure that no matter the season, the potting shed is kept at an appropriate temperature. Ventilate the shed in the summer, and heat it in the winter.

Though tomatoes are one of the best plants that can be grown in a potting shed, you can also grow other plants in the structure with relative ease, such as strawberries, peas, spinach, lettuce, and more! 

The best plants for potting sheds are ones that grow above ground or on vines. This means that, though delicious, carrots and potatoes are going to be less successful in a potting shed.

Tips for Using a Potting Shed To Grow Tomatoes

While it seems like it might be a relatively easy process to set up a potting shed and begin growing tomatoes in them, there are actually a number of important things to consider in order to have the most successful growing season. 

Read on to learn the three best tips for using a potting shed to grow tomatoes.

Start Early in the Season

If you want to maximize the number of fruits you can harvest from your tomato plants in a potting shed, begin by planting your seeds early. 

Late winter or early spring is suitable for starting your tomato seeds in the potting shed. Be sure to keep the temperature between 65 and 85 °F (18.3 and 29.4 °C) inside the shed to help the seeds germinate. Avoid letting the temperatures drop below 50 °F (10 °C).

Tomatoes and a few other plants, like green beans and peas, will keep producing fruits over the course of the season, regardless of how many times you harvest them. Starting your plants early will allow you to get more cycles of harvest and new fruits.

Keep Your Shed Clean

When growing tomatoes outside, you don’t need to try nearly as hard to keep the area clean. As long as you weed your garden and keep pests away, you shouldn’t have many issues. 

Potting sheds, alternatively, are easier to make dirty, especially because pets like rodents and damaging insects love to live in potting sheds. Keeping your shed clean will help prevent these pests from killing your tomatoes.

Make Sure Your Plants Are Pollinated

All plants, but especially tomatoes, need to pollinate in order to reproduce. In nature, insects, birds, and other creatures assist in the pollination process. 

In an enclosed space like a potting shed, you might need to manually pollinate your plants. If you don’t want to do this, you could bring your tomato plants outside during the day, allowing pollinators to access them. However, regardless of the method, your plants should be pollinated.

Potting Shed Explained

If you’ve ever been to a farm, community garden, or another location that specializes in growing plants, you’ve probably seen a number of structures in which plants, tools, and other gardening equipment are housed. 

You might even have a spot in your house or on your property that fulfills the same purposes as the buildings described. If this is the case, you might be using a potting shed without even knowing it.

Potting sheds are locations in which gardeners often store gardening equipment, plants, and plant seeds. 

Other gardeners use the shed as a workspace for their gardening endeavors because new and experienced gardeners often like to have an area where they can conveniently perform their gardening duties without having to bring the plants and tools into their living space.

These potting sheds are often made of wood and, like any other shed, are small enclosed spaces that have four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. 

The distinct feature that distinguishes a potting shed from a regular shed is a skylight allowing for sunshine to come into the shed from the roof rather than from a window or just a door. The sunlight allows the shed to be warmer than other sheds and allows plants to grow inside.

Generally, these skylights are placed over an elevated surface, such as a table where live plants and saplings might be stored. This is also the place where a gardener might work to pot or repot plants, weed movable flower beds, and test soil for nutrients.

Potting Sheds Versus Greenhouses

Although greenhouses are ideal structures that will allow you to continue gardening all year round, not everybody has the space or the resources to build them. As such, a potting shed may be the less costly and simpler alternative to a greenhouse.

In some areas of the country, the difference between a potting shed and a greenhouse is in name only. In other instances, however, these two names help to differentiate between two different structures with different purposes.

The term “greenhouse,” for example, often refers to structures that are made for the sole purpose of growing plants in a controlled area. These structures are designed to maximize plant growth within a small, confined area.

Greenhouses are often made of glass, fiberglass, or some sort of clear plastic. They also contain some sort of ventilation unit, meaning that the roof or walls might open, and they almost always have fans or heaters to produce artificial heat.

Potting sheds, alternatively, aren’t meant to be used exclusively for growing plants. While greenhouses are designed to create the ideal climate for plant growth, potting sheds are simply hoping to provide gardeners with a centralized, indoor location to store their materials. 

Garden sheds, a similar structure to potting sheds, are sometimes designed with the ulterior motive of allowing plants to grow, but generally speaking, they are made to simply store equipment.

Potting sheds are also focused on the concept of storing materials, and sometimes, they are actually built within greenhouses to keep everything in a centralized location. 

Though it certainly isn’t uncommon for potting sheds to be used in the United States, greenhouses are much more popular. Potting sheds are far more popular in the United Kingdom.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to using a potting shed, certain plants like tomatoes and peas are able to grow successfully inside. As long as plants get plenty of the materials they need in order to grow, you shouldn’t run into many issues with growing plants in a potting shed.

Important to note, however, is that potting sheds aren’t always the same or as effective as greenhouses. Make sure you understand the differences between the two before purchasing or building a potting shed.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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