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September 16th, 2014


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08:47 pm - Indoor Tomatoes
As anyone who follows me on social media is aware (or even just anyone who has been in a room with me for more than five minutes) this year I have been growing a lot of different types of tomatoes. I have of course grown tomatoes before - in the ground, in pots, in containers, and in greenhouses. But none of those methods have worked out particularly well. Ireland simply doesn't have the climate to reliably grow tomatoes outdoors, and whenever I grow them in the greenhouse I find it very difficult to water them with enough regularity to prevent the fruit splitting.

But in March of this year I discovered "micro tomatoes", a category of tomato plants which stay under 18inches. "Yes!" I thought. "I can grow these indoors on my windowsill, and if they are actually in front of me I won't forget to water them."

"But," my next thought was, "there are so many micro tomato varieties. How can I know which will best suit my needs? The only possible way is to grow lots of different varieties! In lots of different conditions! Indoors, outdoors, on my windowsill, in 20inch pots, 8inch pots, 3inch pots..."

I often have thoughts like that.

I ended up growing 13 different varieties (listed below for the curious). And the winner is... Little Sun! If grown in a large container it spreads to about an 18inch globe, but fortunately it didn't spread in the smaller pots. Unlike some of the other varieties it did really well in the 8inch pots with a stake, and even produced fruit in the 3inch pots. And the fruit... oh, the fruit. About 30g, which is far larger than the average cherry tomato, and it had the sweetest fruit of all the varieties I tried.

So, if you want to grow tomatoes on your windowsill, I recommend Little Sun in an 8inch pot, tied to a stake. Oh, and use liquid feed once the fruit sets (solid tomato food was such a mistake. So many fungus gnats...)

But just because Little Sun was the best of these 13 doesn't mean it's the best of all the micro tomato varieties. There are at least 30 more varieties. And they really should be tested in 20inch pots and 8inch pots and 3 inch pots, on windowsills and greenhouses and in the garden...

    2014 Varieties
  • Heartbreaker Vita
  • Sweet 'n Neat Cherry
  • Sweet 'n Neat Yellow
  • Sweet 'n Neat Scarlet Improved (The nicest red tomato I grew this year)
  • Orangenie
  • Micro Tom (the smallest plant, at just 6inches, but very sharp)
  • Romanian Red Dwarf (not actually a micro tom, it turns out! It was about 3ft by 3ft)
  • Red Robin
  • Totem (Ugh. So dry. The only real failure of the lot)
  • Red Alert (A little too large for the windowsill at 2ft, but produced fruit a good month earlier than all the other varieties, which is useful in Ireland's short growing season. And tasty! I'll be growing this again, in the greenhouse)
  • Little Sun
  • Pick a Tom
  • Snacker


(3 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:mollydot
Date:September 16th, 2014 11:22 pm (UTC)
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Woah. I just spent most of two days with you, and we didn't talk about tomatoes at all!
[User Picture]
From:hatgirl
Date:September 17th, 2014 08:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I was genuinely trying really hard not to ramble on at people about tomatoes at TitanCon. I only slipped up twice :-D

Edited at 2014-09-17 08:59 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:mollydot
Date:September 17th, 2014 10:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well done!

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