If you live in an apartment, this is not a reason to refuse fresh vegetables at home or buy them in a store. You have the opportunity to grow a good crop on the balcony. Read more about how to grow tomatoes on a balcony in this article.
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Useful rules if you want to grow tomatoes on the balcony
If you wonder how to grow tomatoes on a balcony with thick dark green stems, then you should remember to follow the basic rules.
Choosing a good place for own tomatoes
Containers with plants should be placed in a place where they will be illuminated for about 6 hours a day.
You need to understand that tomato plants will constantly need moisture. Therefore, it is better to find a place from where it will be convenient to water them. If you are growing in pots, you should group them. However, proximity can be dangerous. Therefore, make sure that the plants do not touch each other. With proper grouping, the roots will be in the shade.
The right choice of containers for balcony-growing tomatoes
Adult tomato plants should have enough space for the development of a powerful root system. Choose pots that are about 18 inches in diameter. The size can go up to 24 inches. It all depends on the variety of growing tomatoes. If the plant is planted in more compact pots, it will require more water and fertilizer.
All containers must have drainage holes. If they are missing, you will have to drill yourself. If you live in a warm region, then you should not use black plastic containers. They will accumulate and retain a lot of heat, which will cause the soil to heat up, and the growth rate of container tomatoes will be negligible.
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The larger the container, the more soil you can fit into it. The more land that can be used, the better moisture retention will occur. In this case, you will have the opportunity to use more fertilizer so that the growing tomatoes develop better.
Selection of the optimal variety of potted tomatoes
Try to choose determinant varieties of potted tomatoes for balcony growing, as they grow best in containers. If you can provide sufficient support and soil volume, you will be able to grow indeterminate varieties of tomato plants in pots.
If you have some free space on your balcony, you can pick up bush varieties of tomato plants. Balcony-growing tomatoes will be the best option if there is no possibility of providing vines for weaving bushes.
Quality soil for tomato plants
Not the best solution would be to use the garden soil, because it is very heavy for containers. It is too compact and can provoke the development of diseases. The tomato plant is often affected by late blight. Of the pests, nematodes should be noted.
To prevent the development of bacteria and pests, it is better to use quality soils. Choose mixes that have compost added. Soil should be preferred, which is light and loose in structure. Thanks to this, moisture and air will penetrate inside.
Cherry tomatoes grow well in soil that contains a small amount of acid. However, when the fruit ripens, you will have to increase the level of alkali. Thanks to this, the fruits will have a sweet taste. You can raise the pH with wood ash.
It will help retain potassium. This mineral helps produce sugar and deliver it to the fruit.
You need to make fairly deep holes so that they fit about 2/3 of the stalk of cherry tomatoes. This will contribute to better stimulation of the growth of the root system. If the weather is cool, you should cover the containers with a warm blanket, straw, or burlap. This will provide additional protection.
Do not plant several plants in one pot. Yes, this is a good solution to save space. However, this will not bring any results. Therefore, it is recommended to plant one plant in each pot. For a high seed germination rate, and the formation of strong roots, the soil must be warm.
If you do not have the opportunity to plant each bush in separate containers, you can plant several. However, the distance between them should be about 0.5 inches. As soon as the seedlings germinate, you need to provide enough sunlight. If this is not possible, additional lamps will have to be installed.
Lots of light is important. After all, if the tomato seedlings are not well-lit, they will be weak and thin. Because of this, they will be more affected by various diseases. After a few weeks, the first leaves form. It will take about a month for them to fully form.
Seedlings will need to dive. When the real leaves appear, you will have to transplant them into separate containers. You need to deepen to the base of the first leaves. Thanks to this, the root system will develop better, so the tomato seedlings will be strong.
If planting tomatoes in pots, the soil should be 1 inch lower than the edge of the container. This will allow you to add mulch to keep the soil moist. Straw, shredded bark, and fallen leaves can be used as mulch.
If you use paper as mulch, it will quickly decompose under the influence of high temperatures. Therefore, you will have to update the layer quite often. The larger the bush itself, the more harvest you can harvest. However, exceeding the nitrogen dosage will not induce vegetative growth to increase the number of fruits.
If you notice that there are a small number of flowers in the bushes, you will have to pinch the tips. After that, it is recommended to apply fertilizers based on phosphorus.
Regular watering of planting tomatoes
For the harvest to be good, it is necessary to provide the plants with proper watering. The soil must be constantly kept moist. However, it should not be abundantly waterlogged. Plants should be watered when the top 1 inch of soil is dry.
Under each pot, you need to put a plate into which excess water will drain. Thanks to this, in hot weather, plants will be able to take in additional moisture. The easiest way to water planting tomatoes is with drip irrigation. Especially if you plan to grow tomatoes in dozens of bushes.
If you are only for some pots, inspect the bushes during watering to determine if there are any problems in time. The amount of water is constantly changing, depending on several factors.
You need to pay attention to weather conditions, as well as the size of the container and the type of soil used. On average, you need to water 1-2 times a day, especially when the fruits begin to form.
Adding calcium as needed
Quite often, when growing tomatoes, gardeners are faced with blossom end rot. As the bushes ripen, the fruits become covered with rot. Because of this, their tips turn brown and resemble porridge in texture. Over time, the color may change to black.
Often this happens if the planting tomatoes do not have enough calcium. Often people apply calcium-based fertilizer, however, the bushes do not receive it. This happens if the water is not able to deliver calcium to the bushes. First, you need to conduct a soil analysis to understand whether there is enough calcium in it.
This allows you to understand what actions you need to take in the future: change the irrigation system or apply fertilizer. If possible, you need to give the soil for research to a special laboratory, which is in every state.
If you need to add calcium, however, you do not want to spend money on fertilizers, the easiest way to add organic matter is in the form of eggshells. It must first be dried, and then grind in a coffee grinder. The shell should acquire the consistency of a powder so that it is easier to apply.
Once you have planted tomatoes, they need to be maintained. You can use classic tomato stickies and racks. It is allowed to use a trellis, a high post, or a cage, which is intended for indeterminate tomato varieties.
If you will be shaping your cage, you need to shape the wire into a cylinder. After the ends must be connected with a wire. Install the structure in the ground, or put it on the inside of the pot. For additional fixation of the structure, drive stakes into the soil.
The growth rate of cherry tomatoes is quite impressive. However, people do not tie up bushes until they grow to enormous sizes. Remember that in this case, you can not control the balcony tomatoes. Therefore, it is better to install supports before the bushes grow.
It is recommended to plant tomatoes in high-quality soil mixtures that belong to the premium class. In the future, additional fertilization will be required while the growing season lasts.
It is recommended to give preference to fertilizers that are characterized by continuous release. This allows you to grow strong bushes on which juicy and tasty fruits will form. At the same time, such fertilizers contain calcium, which is the prevention of blossom end rot.
Fertilizers must be used according to the instructions prescribed by the manufacturer. Branches can form on the main branches of the bush. On them, the fruits will be bad, or they will be completely absent. Such branches must be removed so that the nutrients go to good branches.
Removal of lower leaves are required periodically. After all, sunlight will not fall on them.
If the tomatoes in the pots have already wilted, they need to be removed at the end of the growing season. If you will be using the leftover pots for growing other crops, it is recommended that you use fresh potting soil. Land that is left over from the growing season should be discarded.
Pots will need to be washed well and disinfected. To do this, prepare a solution of bleach.
Common growing problems
Growing tomatoes in pots is a rather complicated process. Unpleasant situations can happen that are beyond the control of a person. Because of this, you can lose the entire crop. It is not enough to find a variety that will suit your needs.
It is important to growing tomatoes that are suitable for your area. Some tomato varieties can produce excellent yields in certain regions, while in others they will not give any result. Some people, when moving, take tomato seeds. However, in a new place, the taste of the fruit may change.
This is because each zone is distinguished by certain indicators of humidity, acidity, and weather conditions. You need to understand that all this has a huge impact on the taste of the fruit. It is important to remember that selecting the right variety will take time and effort.
When it comes to growing tomatoes on a balcony, various questions may arise.
Can you grow a tomato plant on a balcony?
Yes, you can grow truly healthy tomato plants on the balcony. The process of growing tomatoes is pretty simple. At the same time, you can get a quality crop with little effort.
What do I need to grow tomatoes on the balcony?
To grow tomatoes on the balcony, you need to prepare several things. You will need quality pots, seedlings, and the right soil. It is important to take care of fertilizers, quality watering, and support.
What are the best tomatoes to grow on a balcony?
Certain tomato varieties are in high demand. It should be noted that the variety of Tiny Tim green tomatoes ripens after 18 days. The ripe tomatoes are round and red. The Yellow Canary tomato plant is popular. The variety ripens in 55 days. The fresh tomatoes are small and have a yellow tint.
You can plant the Red Robin tomato plant, which ripens in 55 days. It produces beautiful red vegetables. After 60 days, the Elfin fruits start ripening and also have a red color.
As you can see, growing tomatoes on the balcony are not difficult. The main thing is to follow the tips described in this article.
Read also: How to attract hummingbirds to your balcony: 11 easy tips