After greens, tomatoes are one of my favourite edibles to grow on the balcony. My plants are tucked under cloches right now, so all I have to worry about is too much heat instead of too much cold. Which unfortunately is appropriate for this time of year.
Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow. I don’t start tomatoes from seed because of limited space in the apartment, so each season, I buy three or four plants.
Tomatoes are vigorous growers. Mine are planted in my three largest clay pots that measure 33 cm (13 inches) across and 30.5 cm (12 inches) deep. I know my containers will be a solid mass of roots by the end of the growing season. Tomatoes are heavy feeders so I don’t reuse soil in my tomato containers. Half soilless, half compost is what I start fresh with each spring and then I top dress with compost throughout the growing season. Tomatoes are sensitive to our cool spring evenings. With daytime temperatures between 15-25°C right now but night time temperatures dropping to 3-8°C it’s still a little early here to set out tomatoes without some protection – especially if you have just brought them home from the nursery.
I always grow the tried and true variety Sun Gold (indeterminate, hybrid), a guaranteed heavy producer with wonderful taste – and the perfect snack for a hard-working gardener. New to the balcony garden this year is Healthy Kick (determinate, hybrid), a plum tomato. This one caught my attention at the greenhouse because of its dark green foliage. It looked so healthy, it got to come home. I’ve since read both good and bad reviews of this variety, so time and taste will tell in August.