The Tomato Problem

So I’m sitting down already and trying to get a handle on what seeds I need to order for next year – and what wood I need to buy to build some projects over the winter.

Basically I’m trying to make out garden as intensive as possible for a small space. I’m interested in what I can achieve with container gardening (everything must be removable because it’s a rental property).

Instead of buying grow bags each year I’m going to start recycling my compost through a wormery, which provides the problem of containers to grow tomatoes in (because I’m hopefully no longer just going to be buying grow bags). I had looked at buying cheap long tom pots, but they don’t look very nice for your back garden. So I’m considering making wooden boxes about the size of a grow bag instead.

Traditional wisdom says that you can grow two or three tomato plants in a grow bag. I’m wondering about intensively planting my tomatoes to take advantage of the sunny courtyard that we have.

So this is how our courtyard garden has developed this year:

2015-07-13 09.31.45

And a better look at the tomatoes against the wall:

2015-07-13 09.20.25

I mean it’s fine. We’ve got 14 tomato plants growing in that section around the brick wall and the shed wall. I’ll be honest, I got bored of splitting the grow bags (plus I think Adam was getting fed up with going to Homebase and lugging them back indoors) so the ones against the shed just have three plants to a flat grow bag. I suspect they won’t do as well (not only because I planted them out late).

It’s the wasted space that bothers me really. Here:

2015-07-13 09.20.25-space

Elsewhere in the garden I have smaller bush type tomato plants that never really grow more than 3ft hight. It strikes me that as long as the plants all had enough room for roots you could grow the bush tomatoes in the spaces between the cordon tomatoes where the bottom leaves have been removed. Like this:

2015-07-13 09.24.53

If I built five grow-boxes that were deep enough to contain the roots for four plants, I could lay them out like this:

2015-07-13 09.34.02

And that would mean I could fit potentially 24 plants into the same space that I currently have just 14 in. That’s a 70% increase in yield for that space. And we really like tomatoes.

 

Series Navigation<< Viola SyrupRepurposing, Reusing >>
  • Angela Graham

    I was watching Monty Don on TV last night and he was talking about bush tomatoes. They do well against a wall. Maybe you could try those next year, when we have a decent summer(Hopefully….)