I have always nurtured a dream of having a kitchen garden. Fresh vegetables plucked right off the plant and eaten… sounds yum, doesn’t it? Space constraints doesn’t allow you to grow many vegetables, but tomatoes are your best bet. They grow just about any time and anywhere and they don’t need a whole lot of pampering. But once they grow, aah the feeling!
Here’s what you will need:
- Tomato seeds from a ripe tomato
- A big container (I used an old broken bucket)
- Broken coconut shells
- Soil enough to fill a little more than 3/4th of the container
- A pick or a fork
Now that you have all the necessary things, proceed in this manner.
Step One: Make holes in the bottom of your container
Use a metal skewer to make holes in the bottom of your container if you are recycling an old plastic bucket like me. You will have to make at least eight to ten holes the size of a pea. You can even use a heated knife to do this, but this ruins your knife.
Now place a few broken coconut shelves over the holes to avoid soil loss.
Step Two: Fill the container with soil
I can’t comment about the pH of the soil. I just went right ahead to the nearest plant nursery and brought back a sack of soil and used it. I didn’t see how it made any difference.
Step Three: Water the soil
Yup, without using the seeds, first just water the soil for a day or two. You want to plant your seeds in a damp soil. It should neither be dry not should it be sludgy.
Step Four: Aerate the damp soil
When you water the soil, it tends to go compact. You can very well grow seeds in this type of soil, so you need to aerate it. Use a pick or a knife or a fork to loosen the soil a bit.
Step Five: Plant your seeds
Plant the seeds along with a little pulp into the aerated soil. Sprinkle just a little water and leave it as it is.
Step Six: Water
Water your seeds once everyday. Do not pour water directly on germinating seeds. They are delicate, just like babies and need nurturing.
Step Seven: Replantation and caging
Now many garden bloggers insist that this is an important step in tomato growing. When the new plant attains the height of about four inches, or when it has sprouted about six to seven leaves, you should carefully remove it from the soil, making sure not to break the roots, and then dig a deeper hole and re-plant it so that only the top two leaves remain outside. This is supposedly to increase the root area and strength. I didn’t do this step, because I wasn’t sure of not damaging the root. Yet my plant has now reached a height of about two and a half feet and is totally healthy. So this remains a personal choice with you.
Once the plant grows in height, you may want to tether it. The roots can’t hold the weight of the plant and it bends downwards. Tie a rope around it and tie it to a stick which you have inserted into the pot, or to the window grill as in my case.
Step Eight: Frequent aeration and fertilization
Aerate or loosen the soil around the plant frequently but delicately so as to not hurt the roots. Using your fingers to do this job is also pretty acceptable. Fertilize using household wet waste. I do not recommend using commercially available chemical fertilizers. I used small amounts of used tea leaves, vegetable waste etc to do this.
Step Nine: Pollination
When the plant starts flowering, if you have good winds or a lot of bees or other insects in your window, there is no need to follow this step. I didn’t have either, so this is what I did. Every time you pass the plant, or for at least two times each day, shake the plants very gently for about five seconds. This encourages pollination. Without pollination, there can be no fruits.
Step Ten: Wait and watch
Just do what you are doing, and have patience. The fruit will appear out of nowhere one day and surprise you! Like it surprised me 😀
Forgive the poor picture quality. It’s been raining non stop here, and this is the best I could get. I’ll hopefully post bigger and better pictures when they grow and ripen a bit.
Right now I have about ten fruits, which is a decent beginning, I think.
What do you think?
- Tomato Gardening (pintertesting.com)
- Growing Single Stem Tomatoes Vertically in a Square Foot Garden (growingtomatoeswebtalks.wordpress.com)
- Growing Tomatoes Cherry Tomato Plants Care Guide (whatyouneedtoknowaboutgrowingtomatoesweb.wordpress.com)
- How to Grow Tomatoes Trellis (theworldofgrowingtomatoesweb.wordpress.com)
- Grow Your Own Tomatoes on Your Vegetable Garden (growingtomatoeswebbuzz.wordpress.com)
- 10 Things to Consider Before You Start an Edible Garden (kcet.org)
- Healthy Summer Craft: Container Gardening with Kids! (momsrising.org)
- BalconyGarden Plan (urbanbalconygarden.wordpress.com)
- Gardening Tips Growing Tomatoes (whatyouneedtoknowaboutgrowingtomatoesweb.wordpress.com)
- Potting Tips and Container Tomatoes (thedailygrowingtomatoesweb.wordpress.com)