LIFE STYLE

Tastes of life

Text: Natalia Stompor, photos: Natalia Stompor, Anna Plaszczyk

17 September 2016

Red, juicy and flavourful. Not sprayed, manured and ripened in the sun. Tomatoes, full of beneficial lycopene, we can grow ourselves - in the garden, on the balcony, and even on the window ledge. Such urban gardening is gaining more and more fans and it is giving considerable satisfaction. Today shop shelves are groaned with the colourful and scented products. Our eyes are attracted by long-awaited, juicy tomatoes. And we unconsciously follow the marketing plan of a seller and go home with a kilo of "perfect" tomatoes. Our joy usually ends up with the first bite...

What we taste, differs significantly from our image. Beautiful tomatoes, with a perfect appearance, often do not even taste like those that we remember from our childhood. Are we doomed to such food, do we have to agree on such a quality of life? You can still taste life differently, taking care of what you set your table with.
Let us conjure up our own oasis of health, starting with dreamed tomatoes. The choice of species that can be grown in pots is considerable - from cherry tomatoes, to the ripe, raspberry giants.

First of all, let us see how much space we need for our crop, and how much of the harvest will be satisfactory for us. With one package of seeds you can get up to 200 small seedlings. Such amount may be too much to start with. It is better to choose a few different varieties of seeds and enjoy their variety of flavours.

One of the most popular and the most productive varieties is the "bead" tomato. This is a balcony subspecies with small, hard fruits. Another subspecies, known for her abundance of harvest is the yellow tomato "Ildi". The fruits of this subspecies have a small teardrop shape, it belongs to the family of cocktail tomatoes. "The giant" and "Ożarowski" tomatoes are the most popular raspberry ones. Growing them in containers is possible, however, it makes more trouble. Remember to fertilize soil in pots, especially if you are trying to cultivate not only the balcony tomatoes. It is worth to experiment with new types of tomatoes every year to finally find the ones that taste the best.

Growing tomatoes is a very enjoyable pastime. Besides, it is not a time-consuming one. It is enough to water our seeds each morning to enjoy the first seedlings soon. The next step will be to replant our little seedlings into larger containers. It is worth remembering that you can either use the yogurt container or cut beverages bottles. In this way, we will not only save money, but also take care of the environment.

Fully-grown seedlings should be left for a few days to toughen, that is, to become resistant to changing weather conditions. It is the best to put them on the balcony or in the garden during the day, and take them to the room for the night. After several days small plants can be replanted to larger pots and put on a balcony. Choosing the right pot should depend on the species of tomato that will be grown in it. Cherry tomatoes can manage well even in pots with a capacity of 6 litres. Note, however, that the larger the pot is, the faster tomatoes grow and mature. For the ground variation of tomatoes 30 l pot will be sufficient.

And it is actually here where our "work" ends. After this stage, all we have to do is just waiting until the first fruits begin to redden. To make fruits even more robust – its worth to fertilise them with organic Vermicompost. You should also pay particular attention to the presence of the so-called "wild shoots." Removing them results in more aboundant harvesst and faster ripening of fruits.

Growing tomatoes is a never ending list of benefits. The intense green colour of leaves of tomatoes improves mood, and the plants themselves are a wonderful decoration of a balcony or a garden. Not without significance is the fact that the presence of plants attracts insects on our balconies. It may be a pleasant surprise to see visits of bees, which find it increasingly difficult to live in large, concrete cities, or beautiful butterflies. In this simple way our balcony can become an escape from the stresses of the day, a magical place designed just for us. Growing your own tomatoes also gives us confidence about every stage of production. As a result, the final product is a fully valuable tomato with a unique flavour, an ideal unattainable by the shop fake ones.