Growing Tomatoes in the Tower Garden
If you’re not growing Tomatoes in the Tower Garden, you’re missing out. Tomatoes grow like a weed in a Tower Garden. To be honest, I haven’t found anything that doesn’t grow like a weed in a Tower Garden.
How Many Hours of Sunlight do they Need?
Plants create energy from the sunlight they absorb through their leaves. Fruiting crops need a lot of sun in order to produce flowers, and fruit and then ripen the fruit. If fruiting crops are not getting enough direct sun they may not produce flowers, or fruit or ripen the fruit. A minimum of 8 hours of sun is needed, but the more sun they get, the better. Too much sun really isn’t a concern. Heat yes, the sun no.
Can I Grow Tomatoes Inside?
There’s nothing stopping you from growing virtually any crop you would grow outside, inside. However, there are a number of things you should consider.
- How big is the crop going to get? Unless you are growing a determinate or dwarf variety, tomato plants will grow to well over 6 ft long. That’s a lot of foliage and a lot of leaves that will, over time, drop off or need pruning. It’s not too bad if some leaves drop off and fall on the deck outside, but it can make a mess inside your home.
- Pollination. Virtually all fruiting crops need to be pollinated, with the exception of parthenocarpic varieties. These varieties set fruit without requiring pollination. Otherwise, pollen needs to be transferred to the stamen in order for the fruit to grow. In some crops, these parts are in the same flower (tomatoes, beans, peas, eggplant and more) and they pollinate by insects, wind or a gentle shake of the plant. In other crops, there are separate male and female flowers (squash, melons some cucumbers, etc) and the pollen needs to be moved from the female flower to the male by insects or by hand.
How Much Water Will They Need?
Tomatoes are what we like to call “heavy feeders”. That means they will suck up a lot of water, especially if it is hot and they are pumping out tomatoes. You are going to want to check your reservoir once a week, increasing it to twice a week when growing tomatoes in the Tower Garden. As production ramps up, so will water consumption.
How Many Can you Grow Per Tower Garden?
When growing tomatoes in the Tower Garden, we recommend growing just two tomatoes when growing a variety of other crops. If you are growing a Tower with only Tomatoes, grow no more than 6 tomato plants per Tower Garden.
The Tower you see here is a Tomato Tower I grew a few years ago. There are only 5 Tomato plants growing in that Tower. Every other space is empty.
I was harvesting 1-2lb of tomatoes every week!
If you are growing Tomatoes be sure to check out this Tomato Growing Guide put together by the wonderful company that brought us the Tower Garden.
Like all crops, it’s a good idea to prune often. Start by removing foliage that is starting to yellow or brown. This will tend to happen to older leaves first. There shouldn’t be so much foliage from your Tomatoes that you cannot see the Tower itself. If this is the case it’s time to prune a little more to thin it out. This will allow for better airflow which can reduce the chances of pests, fungus and diseases affecting your crops. The video below walks you through it.
What about Pest Control?
You may deal with aphids, white flies, leaf miners and tomato hornworms on your tomato plants.
Aphids and White Flies
You can use a neem oil and insecticidal soap solution that you mix yourself for aphids and white flies. Our favorite organically-certified pesticide is Azamax. While it is not the cheapest out there, it is highly concentrated so it will last you at least two growing seasons. Azamaz can be purchased here.
Leafminers do exactly as the name suggests. They mine their way through the leaf, between the top and bottom layers. They leave behind these squiggly lines. The tricky thing with leafminers and topical organic sprays is you have to get the timing right. If the timing isn’t right the spray has dissipated before the leafminer eats the outside of the leaf.
The best way to deal with leafminers is to remove the leaves showing leafminer damage and dispose of them. This will help to break the cycle. You can also use Sticky Traps. Sticky traps catch the leafminer after it drops out of the leaf, breaking the cycle.
If you decide to grow tomatoes you will one day deal with tomato hornworms. It just goes with the territory. One minute you see caterpillar poop, and if you don’t deal with it within a day or two, they will destroy your tomato plants!
The good thing is they are easy to deal with. Neem oil and insecticidal soap with not affect caterpillars of any kind. You need Thuricide, or something with the active ingredient Bacillus Thuringiensis or BT.
Or, you can wait until it’s dark, grab your black light flashlight and go hunting! See, Tomato hornworm caterpillars glow in the dark. So while it’s difficult to see them during the day, they stand out with a blacklight at night!
Don’t own a Tower Garden yet? Learn why the Tower Garden is the answer to so many problems we face today.