Aug 8, 2020

Grow Tomatoes in containers from kitchen scrap

Growing veggies in our home brings us immense happiness and satisfaction. 
In the current situation, it is hard to get organic vegetables from the market. People understand the need to have organic and rich foods. So we are moving towards a new phase of gardening called Apartment gardening or container gardening. A small step towards a better tomorrow. 
Tomatoes are great for beginners who are getting started on growing kitchen gardens. Tomatoes are easily grown and cultivated in a small space.
They are good starters for your balcony. Tomatoes do surprisingly well in small containers. 
I will walk you through the entire process of growing the tomatoes from sowing the seeds to harvesting. Additionally, as a bonus, I would be sharing a few tips on how to hand pollinate if your tomatoes are not fruiting.grow tomatoes from kitchen scrap

    Buy seeds

    This is the first step in growing tomatoes. You can purchase Tomato seeds online or directly used from the kitchen scraps. Cut the tomatoes and remove the pulp that has seeds. Dry the tomato seeds in a tissue paper. You can also place the tomato slices directly in the soil.


    Tomato saplings

    Grow seedling

    Use a seed starting tray or a pack away box to start your seeds. Place the tissue paper with seeds onto the takeaway box or tray. Spray some water and close the box.
    The seedlings will grow in a couple of days. Mist them when the tissue paper feels dry.

    Transplanting into bigger pots

    Transplant them into bigger pots from the takeaway boxes or seed starting tray when the true leaves have formed. The first set of leaves that develop from the seed is cotyledons or False leaves.
    The second set of leaves that develop is True leaves. This is the most crucial step. Repot them without disturbing the roots and keep in them in a controlled environment. Move them outdoors occasionally. Let the tomato seedlings set in the new environment (You can find this when you start to see new growth in the plant) you can move them outdoors.

    Stage 1: Flowers start to grow from your plants. 

    Tomato flowers

    Stage 2: If the Flowers are successfully pollinated they would develop into fruits. The flowers that are not fertilized would eventually fall off. 
    If the flowers are not turning into fruits you could try some of the below methods, grow some flowers in your balcony garden as it attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies, and insects. As Tomatoes are self-pollinating (i.e - They have both male and female plant parts) hard pollination is another best option if you are not able to attract pollinators. Brush the flowers with a paintbrush or something similar like a Q-tip. Tapping the calyx (where the flowers are held together by green sepals) also helps. Check out the short video on How I do hand pollination in my tomato plants.
    Stage 3:If the pollination is successful they would develop into fruits. Else the flower would shed eventually.

    Growing and Fertilizing 

    Grow your tomato plant with enough light and water them regularly. You will see growth within a few days.
    Next step is to check if your Tomato is determinate or indeterminate.
    Do not panic if you are not aware of these terms. In simple terms, Determine tomatoes are more bushy and small. The fruit ripens all at the same time. Thus giving a huge harvest at a single time.
    In the case of indeterminate tomatoes, they grow indefinitely. They can give you a continuous harvest till the end.

    Light requirements 

    Tomatoes need direct to bright sunlight as they are fruiting plants. A good light-receiving balcony or a window sill would work perfectly.
    You can also use grow lights if no alternative is available.

    Water requirements 

    Tomatoes are heavy drinkers. Water them regularly.
    Tomato plants tend to dry and close themselves when do not receive water for 2 or more days.

    Potting soil requirements 

    Use ready pot mix to plant tomatoes. Or prepare the pot mixture by mixing 70%soil, 20% coco peat, and 10% compost. Coco peat helps in retaining the water for a longer period.

    Pruning

    Pruning is an essential process in growing more fruits. Tomatoes if not pruned they will produce many leaves and not enough fruits.
    Pruning the suckers is very important as this helps in diverting the nutrients back to fruits. Suckers are shoots growing in between your main branch and sub-branch. 

    Fertilizers 

    To produce healthy tomatoes use compost once in 15 days.
    Homemade fertilizers which are readily available from the kitchen scrap are good for your plants.
    Example: Eggshells, Onion peels, dried banana peels, and Used Tea dust
    grow tomato in balcony



    Happy Gardening!

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