Growing tomatoes on a balcony is rewarding. Besides their flavor and culinary uses, tomatoes can also serve as an ornamental plant in your balcony.
The fruits come in various colors and sizes- red, orange, brown and yellow, pear-shaped or round and also the tangy aroma of their leaves is amazing. Learn ‘how to grow tomatoes on a balcony‘ step by step in this article.
What Type of Tomatoes are Suitable for Balconies
Good news is that all the tomato varieties are suitable for container gardening but the bad news is that you can’t grow tomato varieties that spread and grow too tall (indeterminate ones) on your balcony (don’t blame us, if we believe balconies are small). Best idea is to choose determinate varieties of tomatoes that are locally available and grown successfully.
For example, cherry tomatoes, these are extremely easy to grow, low care and produce lots of fruits in a growing season. Besides, these are many other varieties available. Go to a seed shop or buy online!
Growing Tomatoes on a Balcony
Tomatoes on the balcony should be planted in well-drained, stable pots. Keep in mind that a large amount of fruit and stems can cause toppling of plastic or other lightweight pots in the wind.
Pots should be at least 12 inches deep and wide in diameter.
Tomato requires full sun so place them in the sunniest position of your balcony.
Plant tomatoes in fertile soil to ensure favorable growth. You can buy a potting mix or make your own. Obtain compost or well-rotted manure, garden soil and gravel or expanded clay for preparation.
While preparing the soil, remember it should have to be well drained, permeable, slightly acidic (pH 6-6.8) and loamy, tomatoes don’t thrive well in heavy soil. In addition, apply slow release tomato fertilizer to the soil so that the plants will receive nutrition time to time.
Either buy potted plants from the nursery or prepare your own seedlings. Sow tomato seeds when the risk of frost will pass and spring arrives. (*If you live in a warm frost free sub-tropical or tropical climate you can plant and grow tomatoes year round). Seeds will germinate quickly within 5-10 days. Transplant them in containers when two real leaves will form.
Tomato seedlings should be planted deeply to the level of the first leaf, to generate deep and additional roots and increase the collection of nutrients by the plant.
Tomato Plant Care
Tomatoes are heavy feeders, even if you’ve already applied slow release fertilizer you’ll still need to fertilize them later.
Best time to fertilize tomatoes is when you’ll see a lot of foliage growth but fewer fruits or flowers in comparison or the time when the plant looks leggy and leaves turn yellow.
Fertilize in less amount but more often, it is the secret of high yield of tomatoes.
Fertilize once in a week or two according to the needs of your plant.
Apply liquid fertilizers as given in the packet instructions, morning time is best.
Be sure to choose a fertilizer with a higher content of potassium and phosphorus. For those who appreciate organic vegetables, use natural fertilizers like well-rot manure, compost or bio-humus.
Tomatoes on the balcony need constantly moist soil as balconies remain windier than regular gardens.
Regular watering of tomato plants is essential, even twice on a dry windy day in summer.
Water tomatoes in a way that it’ll not soak their leaves. Wet leaves are the main cause of blight and other fungal diseases.
1. Remove suckers time to time during growth as they drain the nutrition of plants and prevent fruiting and flowering.
2. If you’re growing tall varieties, you’ll need to support them: use cage or trellis, you can also tie them to railings of your balcony.
3. The best temperature for growing tomatoes is when it ranges between 50F to 95F (10C-35C). Temperature below or above this is not very suitable for growing tomatoes. Source.