How to Grow Tomatoes in your Balcony using Grocery Sacks and other waste Materials
Sharing a personal experience of Growing Tomatoes in Balcony
Growing something is a lot of fun. Sometimes you may find your plants talking to you in a manner that only you understand. However, in cities we usually do not have enough space to grow plants. No worries. We can still do a lot with proper selection of plants, suitable planning and a continuous effort. In this small article, I am sharing my experience of growing tomatoes in the small balcony I have. I really spent nothing to do this apart from some free time and what I got is a season long satisfaction and some real tomatoes.
Growing vegetables in a small balcony may not meet all your requirements. But still, its a lot of fun to have some of your meals made of home grown vegetables. I could successfully grow tomatoes, green chillies, coriander leaves, cucumber, brinjal and cucumber. I am planning to grow some papayas in my balcony. I shall discuss that later.
It all started with a rotten tomato I was about to throw in November. Instead I tried to remove the seeds and plant them in small used disposable tea cups my husband had already thrown in the dustbin. My flat is on the sixth floor of a building and it was really difficult to bring up soil to my balcony. But I did it gradually and by the time the seeds germinated I had already prepared my pots with soil and the manure from my rabbits. Due to shortage of space I had to kill many plants and got only around a dozen plants transferred into soil and manure filled plastic sacks I collected from the grocery store.
By the end of December I had full grown tomato plants and by the first week of January, the plants had flowers. The plants produced tomatoes till mid May and then they started decaying. I could collect around 25 Kilograms of tomatoes in around 6 months from 12 plants grown in six sacks. I did not put any chemical fertilisers and the fruits were delicious. I made tomato khatei (a typical Oriya dish) , salads, and used them in curries. Apart from tomatoes I also got a lot of other crops from the same balcony. One can get may tips from Internet on growing tomatoes in balcony. A couple of them are;
Timing and Care
It is believed that tomatoes grow well in summer. I tried the same after June also. The crop is ongoing. Since, there are times when I have to go out for a couple of days and have to leave my plants unattended. Watering the plants during this time is important and crucial especially when the plants have flowers and fruits. I used a funny but useful method to overcome this problem. I collected some 1-2 ltr water bottles. Made a couple of needle thin holes in the bottom of the bottles and put one bottle in each planting sacks as shown in the picture. The bottles filled with water and properly capped takes around 10 hours to empty. This local drip irrigation method prevented my plants from drying.