As toxic residues are common in vegetables and prices going through the roof, it’s time we started looking for a solution closer home. With a little patience and attention, you can transform the space on your balconies, window sills, terraces and ledges into a kitchen garden. Apart from saving money, these ‘organic farms’ have numerous health benefits as well.
While most vegetables can be grown in this way, let’s begin with some tips on tomato-farming:
How to Grow Tomato at home
STEP 1: Choose a sunny spot. Tomato plants thrive on eight to 10 hours of sunshine. So, choose a spot that will fulfil this criteria.
STEP 2: Choose a growbag as big as possible. Tomato plants need a lot of nutrients, so fill it with rich garden soil. As the plant grows, you can replenish the soil with kitchen waste. Adding earthworms and egg shells to the soil will work wonders.
STEP 3: Choose a high-quality tomato seed. Take a seed tray and fill them with an inch of potting soil. Place the seeds in the tray and cover them with a loose layer of dry soil. Sprinkle water on it for a few days and you will see the seedlings sprouting. Once they are over an inch tall, cut the tray away and replant the seedlings in the growbags you have prepared. Plant only one seedling per growbag. If you grow many plants in one bag, the yield will be less.
STEP 4: It’s important to keep the roots of the plants covered with soil at all times. They shouldn’t be exposed. Also, the soil should be moist — not excessively — at all times. Once the plants start growing, stake them with wooden sticks. Otherwise, they will bend under the weight of their fruits. Remember to place the stakes as soon as the replanting is done. Pushing in the stakes after the plants are grown may harm their roots.
STEP 5: Water the plants every day. During peak summer, water them twice a day. It’s also crucial to cut off suckers (shoots that sprout between two main branches). Excessive branching out will lead to lesser yields — the energy and nutrients spent on nurturing the foliage can be conserved to produce more tomatoes.