- Cultivation Tips : Plant Care , Cultivation Tips
- Growth period: Baby , Grow , Bloom
- Substrate: Soil
Tips for growing tomatoes on a balcony
Growing your own food is one of the most satisfying things in life. Tending your plants with care until you get the fruits and enjoy them at the table with your loved ones is hard to beat. If you live in the city it is a more complicated experience to carry out, but nothing is impossible. If you have a balcony and a minimum of sunshine, you can do it without any problems.
Follow our tips, take the chance with an urban micro-garden and grow your own tomatoes on your balcony.
The first step is to find out whether your balcony has the minimum conditions necessary to grow tomatoes successfully. The main thing is that the plant receives enough direct sunlight (at least 6 hours a day).
If this is the case, the next step is to choose a variety that is suitable for growing in pots and, above all, for the climate of the area where you live. We advise you to choose an easy variety if this is your first balcony cultivation, in this case a so-called "determinate" tomato variety (as opposed to "indeterminate" varieties). The determinate varieties grow a little smaller, remain more compact and stop growing when they reach adulthood, while the indeterminate varieties tend to grow much larger and require more attention, pruning and other kinds of care. In addition, determinate varieties usually bear fruit at the same time and can be harvested all at once.
You can find the seeds that best suit your needs in garden shops and they will also be able to guide you in making up your mind. We are going to recommend some varieties that grow very well in pots and are suitable for the Mediterranean climate:
Cherry, Roma, Marmande, Oxheart, Raf and Kumato are good varieties for the Mediterranean climate....
The next step is to prepare the container and the soil. It is advisable to use pots at least 30 cm in diameter and with a depth of 30 to 40 cm. For good drainage, you can place a layer of stones or gravel at the bottom of the pot before adding soil. Potting soil must have good water retention. It is worth investing in a good substrate to avoid problems later. It is also advisable to add organic material to the soil to improve water retention, such as good humus (worm castings) or compost.
Sowing the seeds
If you plan to grow your own plants from seed, it is advisable to sow them indoors in March or April, and then transplant them outdoors when the temperatures are warmer and the frost has passed.
If you prefer to buy established plants (or seedlings), the best time to do this is from April onwards. Tomato plants can be transplanted into the final pot when they have about 4 true leaves and are about 15 cm long. This usually occurs about 6-8 weeks after sowing. Be sure not to damage the roots when transplanting.
Once transplanted, it is advisable to cover the soil with organic materials such as straw, dry leaves or mulch to reduce water evaporation and keep moisture in the soil.
Tomatoes need a lot of sun, so it is important to place the pot in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. It is also important to water the plants regularly and keep the soil moist. Avoid watering during direct sunlight hours and we advise watering early in the morning or late in the evening.
It is recommended to fertilise with an organic fertiliser (always following the instructions and dosage of the product you decide to use), which is rich in phosphorus and potassium, so that the plants have everything they need to produce optimally. Add the fertiliser to your irrigations as soon as the first flowers appear. This will maximise your harvest and improve the flavour and fruit size of your tomato plants.
Pruning and maintenance
It is important to prune the plant to prevent it from becoming too large and to promote fruit growth. Lateral branches that are not producing fruit and dead leaves should be removed. It is also important to watch out for pests and diseases and treat with organic insecticides and fungicides if necessary.
We hope these tips will be useful for your project of growing tomatoes on your balcony, good luck!