Balcony Gardening: Grow Tomatoes from Slices in Containers

Reader Contribution by Taylor Goggin
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You do not need a big garden to grow tomatoes, in fact, you do not even need a yard to grow them. Since living in an apartment, I have been experimenting in different ways to reduce food waste and growing various herbs/vegetables on the balcony. Some plants give and some do not. It is all trial in error. Today I will share with you my bullet proof procedure to starting your own tomato plant!

To begin, you want to have an organic tomato at hand. The tomato can be of any variety, as all varieties can be grown in pots. However, it must be organic! This is because we are going to be practically duplicating the fruit, using its seeds to start a new plant. Therefore, using a regular tomato from the supermarket chock full of GMO’s is not going to suffice.

Step 1

In an attempt to reduce more waste, I will be using a large plastic water bottle as my pot. It may not be the most visually appealing pot but we are giving plastic items a second life! You want to make sure your container is about 12 inches deep, allowing the roots room to grow.

Step 2

Let’s talk soil… quality potting mix is ideal for growing your tomatoes. Normal dirt gets too compacted, dry, and is not nutrient dense. Opt for a good bag of potting mix and throw it in your container.

Step 3

Slice up your organic tomato as if you were placing it in a sandwich. Seeds facing up, transfer the tomato slices to the top of your soil. 

Step 4

Place the slices slightly apart on the top of your soil. Each of the pieces contain loads of tomato seeds. This method is the equivalent of sowing seeds in the dirt, just slightly easier!

Step 5

Add a small layer of soil on top of your freshly planted tomato. Just a few inches above the slices, you want to make sure you do not drown them in the dirt.

Step 6

Water your freshly planted tomato frequently! Especially if you are planting these on a balcony, they tend to get more wind and are drier. The best time to water plants is in the early morning or night. The sun during the day will scorch the leaves and most of the water will evaporate. Tomatoes tend to grow fairly quickly so you should see some sprouts in 1-2 weeks.

Of course, you can follow this method in a garden bed or backyard. As mentioned above, this is a way of encouraging people apartment living that it is totally possible to grow food on a balcony! Bonus tip, plant your seeds with an intention and watch it grow, manifest before your eyes.

Taylor Goggin is tropical gardener in Florida who gained her skills in cooperative agriculture while work-trading with a World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program on the Hawaiian Islands. She now grows papaya, banana, avocado, fig, tomatoes, and medicinal herbs to make into inventive plant-based recipes. Connect with Taylor on Instagram, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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