My first tomatoes of the season have ripened! To celebrate the achievement of getting tomatoes to grow in a very shady north-facing balcony garden, I’m writing this guide to explain what I’ve done, from seed selection through to harvesting.
– choose smaller-sized fruits (cherry/pear/grape tomatoes, for example) because it takes less energy and time for small fruits to reach full maturity
– choose varieties known to be highly productive (even if you only get 50% the usual yield due to less light, you’ll still have plenty of tomatoes)
– as far as choosing determinate vs. indeterminate, try a mix of determinate and indeterminate. So far my determinate plants are doing best, but there’s still lots of the season left for my other plants to catch up.
Choose the least shady location you have in your garden.
Plant the tomatoes deep (either in a deep container or in a hole in the ground) to promote strong root development. In a container you can gradually bury the stem deeper and deeper as the plant grows.
For large plants use the “single stem method” of plant pruning by removing all suckers. Concentrate the plant’s energy on successfully growing fewer tomatoes off of one really strong stem instead of letting it try to overextend itself. On small “dwarf” varieties, however, you should not do any pruning.
Optional: cut partially-ripened tomatoes off the plant once a “blush” of the final colour has developed, leaving a piece of the stem attached. The tomatoes will ripen on your counter over the next couple days. By removing ripening tomatoes from your plant, you’re reducing the strain on your plant and allowing it to devote its energy to growing and starting to ripen other tomatoes.
Author: Pamela Clark / YouTube