Do tomatoes grow in the sky? – what a good question. You would probably say – what a joke and I would say – yes, they do. Here is my explanation how this is possible.
We live on penthouse floor looking over Toronto and we truly enjoy having the view and having a balcony to spend time outside during the warmer days throughout the year. Because we miss the sweet and ripe seasonal tomatoes that we have had when we were children living in Bulgaria, we decided to have our own garden, nowhere else but in the sky. Yes, in the sky on the highest floor of our apartment building, on the balcony and in the sky. Who knew that tomatoes can grow in the skies of Toronto – well, we did.
Photograpy: Elena Trifonova (a.k.a. Sunshine Loves Smiling)
In May, 2013 when the temperature was in the upper teens, we decided to plant tomatoes and spices and take care of them so that we have them available at any time during the summer. We planted Carmello type tomatoes, basil, mint, dill, and cilantro – all of which were and still are considered essentials in our homemade dishes.
For those of you who feel that growing veggies and spices is more of a challenge and a hassle than anything else, I would say that it is actually a lot of fun or to be even more particular – you CAN make it a lot of fun. My fiance and I started a competition – we assigned each other a tomato plant and a basil plant. Each of us was supposed to take care of his/her plants and the crop was carefully analyzed. Everyone from our friends knew about the competition and when invited for a dinner or drinks, the conversation was always turned to the plants. A lot of pictures were taken and sent out to family and friends – a lot of fun MMS messages were sent to tease each other with more baby tomatoes or more basil baby leaves that were growing with the time.
This was our first time ever growing veggies and spices and we enjoyed it at 100 percent. It was like having to take care of babies for a few months – showering them, taking them inside when it is pouring rain, moving to the left and to the right to see more sunlight throughout the day, making sure that they are fed enough, making sure that all the branches that are not needed are removed, etc.
We (my fiance and I) are not garden specialists and we wouldn’t probably be, but trying out this experience without having a backyard or a garden, is truly amazing. We read a few articles about how to grow tomatoes and basil and we implemented some of the steps that were described in those tutorials.
Here is some of the advice I can give you, if you decide to plant tomatoes “in the sky” just like we did.
– I would recommend you to get a little tomato plant and grow from there instead of using seeds, especially if you are new in this as we were.
– Plant it in a lot larger planter than you think is necessary because the roots grow big and very strong and need more space.
– Irrigate them every day and make sure that the soil is wet at all times but also make sure that you don’t overwater them.
– Keep the tomato plant in the sunniest place of your balcony to make sure that it gets as much sunlight as possible because sunlight is essential for this plant.
– Use a q-tip/art brush to hand pollinate the tomato flowers because there are not that many insects that would do that for you on the upper floors of your high rise. See a video on how you can do it with the brush.
– I remove the so called “Sucker Branches” that are in fact the branches that are not needed and that suck up the food and energy from the branches that are actually need. They are the secondary branches that grow in the joints of existing branches and that can be cut off/pruned without damaging the plant but actually allowing it to grow better.
Visit this site to learn more about pruning tomatoes: http://www.virtualgrange.org/tutorial/pruning-tomato-plants/
– Sing to them, talk to them and let them know that every tomato matters 🙂
Enjoy the the deliciousness of city grown balcony tomatoes and start planting today!
Tell me about your experience growing veggies and spices at your balcony in the city.