Thursday 26 August 2010

My tomato

Tomatoes, one of the favorite crops of all gardeners around the world.

My tomato plant

My tomatoes early in the season

Of all my plants, my tomatoes are by far the plant that has taught me the most.

It all started on a small trip to the garden center this spring. They had the whole entrance dedicated to only tomatoes. So many varieties. I was instantly convinced and bought a small seedling for my garden. 

This time I tried to be more prepared. I wanted to be able to harvest something so I research online how to take care of tomatoes. I got some basics, but as I found out later, there is so much to master if you want to have nice tomatoes.
I got a mid size pot and some support trellis. Set up the tomato and hoped for the best.

Being a completely newbie on tomatoes, I struggled from the start. I learned the hard way that tomatoes suck up more water than other plants. I usually water every two days in spring, but my tomato wanted water as much as two times per day.

My first tomato

My first tomato

So after that initial struggle my tomato settled in and then it started growing like crazy. From a little seedling it developed a nice thick stem and bloomed some flowers very fast.

Watching how that little flower become a tomato was one of the most rewarding things I had on my garden. It soon become a little green ball. And many other flowers appeared as well. But then, nothing..., the flowers keep dropping and no new tomatoes. I didn’t know if I do anything wrong, I even went and buy some fertilizer to help, but still nothing.

So I went back online to see what was going on and found out tomatoes need help to be pollinated. With me being on the tenth floor and in the middle of the city bees are quite scarce, so I had to try artificial pollination. I use some old electric toothbrush and voila! More tomatoes.

My tomato growing like crazy

 My tomato growing like crazy

Early summer, I harvested that first tomato in all happiness and continued to take care of the plant. Also around those days I had some trouble with the rain. After a couple rainy days, some of the leafs got diseases, I just prune the plant a little and then it was all good again.

After that my tomato kept growing more and more, the new flowers all turn into fruit and become bigger and bigger every day it was all happy. But then… I went on vacation... My backup watering on vacations plan did not work and that week become the dread week of the vacation draught. When I came back, my poor tomatoes were showing all signs of dehydration. The lack of water stunt the growth of all the fruit that didn’t dry and also all new flowers died. From more than 15 possible tomatoes only six remained. And they where not in a good shape.

My tomato harvest

My tomato got big scars from lack of water

I did as I could. Watered thoroughly, fertilizer and lots of attention. The plant start to look better but never fully recovered.

At the end I did manage to harvest those last six tomatoes. They did not grow big, they where between a cherry tomato and a normal tomato. But they sure tasted delicious. We even try a test, ate a store bought tomato (it was good) then eat my little garden in japan tomato (it was very good!) and then try again the store bought one again (where did the flavor went??).

Many lessons learned. Be careful with the water, use bigger pot to have more moist, pollinate, keep away from rain, etc.

All in all, even if it was not the best crop ever it was most rewarding. Now the season is over for me. I still haven't got the heart to put down the plant but I probably will do it this weekend. I can't wait for next year to see what the new season will bring.

More tomatoes

Early august harvest


  1. What an experience! I can totally relate. You told it really well with a nice amount of detail. Savor those six and just think how much you know for next year's pot. Also, you can probably attract more pollinators if you have other flowers around them. I'll see if I can think of a small list. That way, if your electric toothbrush breaks you'll have a back-up plan!

  2. Thank you!
    I tried with marigold, I heard they were good to attract pollinators. I also have other flowers but they didn't do much. Oh except for the mint, those are good too.

  3. I hope you saved some of the seeds. Tomatoes are really easy to grow from seed and with all the sun your balcony gets, you should be able to have a really good crop next year.

  4. Your tomatoes look gorgeous...really really beautiful. The post about trying to grow them is useful thanks!!

    I don't have a green thumb. But I've recently started growing basil & rosemary as it was expensive to keep buying fresh herbs from the supermart. We are in the tropics - the bugs in the backyard are so happy I have supplied them with basil's tender leaves, instead of the "tough birdies" my parents usually grow.

    I need to find someone to identify & tell me how to get rid of the bugs! Even the ants hordes are happy with my basil... >-<


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