Have you ever considered planting your own tomatoes on your balcony, patio or back yard?
Is it difficult? Easy? Is it too late to start now?
Let's start from the beginning.
If you have a balcony or a space on your patio or back yard that has a lot of sun coming from the west, you can start..
The only thing you need is a pot, at least 40 cm in diameter, soil and plants.
Let's talk about soil. This is a little bit of a difficult subject because the plain black soil that you can easily find at the super market won't do. You need to find gardening soil or red soil. Or at least a mixture of good soils.
So, we have the soil and the pot. What you need to make sure of, is that the pot has good drainage. To achieve this, place some pieces of broken bricks or flat, wide pebbles over the holes at the bottom of the pot.
Now, fill the pot halfway with good soil.
Let's talk about the plants.
There are many different varieties of tomato plants that you can find in greenhouses.
For beginners, I think it might be best to start off with something easier, such as a type of cherry tomato. They usually become smaller plants and are much more resilient.
If you come across the well-known Batales variety, try them since they are very large and very tasty tomatoes. If you're very lucky and happen come across the brandywine tomato plant, a variety that many people consider to be the best tomato in the world, please be kind enough to send me one too!!
When you have chosen the tomato plant you like, plant it quite deep into the soil. Usually if you are transplanting a plant from a smaller pot to a larger pot, then you shouldn't plant it any deeper than the depth it was planted at in the previous pot. You can forget about this with the tomato plant.
Tomato plants have 2 types of roots. The roots that support it go straight down and the roots that grow horizontally and bring nutritious ingredients to the plant.
If you are transplanting the tomato plant, plant it as deep as you can because more roots will grow out of stem that will bring more nutrients to the plant.
Let's look into companion planting.
Tomatoes like some types of plants and dislike others. It may help to plant a couple of other types of plants along with your tomato plant.
You could choose French marigolds, basil or garlic. They are all compatible with the tomato plant and also help fight against illnesses and "bad" insects.
This way, your pot will look prettier, you will be able to grow more things together and your tomato plant will be more resilient to illnesses.
Let me tell you one or two things more. The first is about supporting your plant and the second is about pruning.
Your tomato plant can easily grow up to 2 meters in height. Since it doesn't have a woody stem, you need to help it grow by supporting the stem. This is done by sticking a reed or stick into the soil and tying the stem on it with some string.
To prune your plant, yes! you heard it; to prune your tomato plant! You don't even need any pruning shears. It's very simple. The leaves grow out of the stem and then, out of the leaves there are 2 types of sprouting.
- a stem on which the flowers sprout.
- a stem on which leaves and a few flowers sprout.
What you have to do is remove the stems with the leaves. In this way you are strengthening the sprouting of tomato buds and not leaves.
It is also important to tell you about fertilizing. You want to "feed" your plant but not with nitrogen. So, the fertilizer you want to feed your tomato plant with is one with a high percentage of phosphorous.
That's all I have to say on tomatoes. Start planting and good luck!!!