Monday, February 15, 2010

Aero Garden Update: Bad Tomatoes

So I've had the Aero Garden for a few months now and tried growing tomatoes. As with other gimmicky tomato products it failed to produce lots of good tomatoes. I'll point out, however, that I don't have access to a window that gets full sun. This is kind of important when growing tomatoes. They're tropical plants that do best in full sun and 80F degree weather. Neither of which they were given in my kitchen.

Tomato plants at their best are a 25 foot vine that lays along the ground. It sets roots down just as you see with Cucumber, Assorted Melons, and Ivy. They usually aren't grown this way because the tomatoes (though this gets you the highest yield) are hard to spot. Normally they're grown up a small wire trellis or some sort of support. The plant grows just fine this way and at the cost of a few tomatoes the plants still produce more than the average family can eat. 6 plants can go a long way.

The Topsy Turvy way to grow tomatoes is another gimmick. Their bucket is way to small in my opinion, and tomato plants don't grow that way. The green part of the plant always goes toward the sun. You'd do just as well to not bother hanging the bucket at all.

This caught my eye. The same company that sells the Topsy Turvy is selling a grow bag for strawberries. There is nothing Topsy Turvy about this though. Pots with holes cut in the sides is a common way to grow strawberries. I'm pointing it out though because it probably works.

Back to Aero Garden talk. We managed to get a total of 6 cherry tomatoes off the thing. Again though that's without full sun. They would have done better if I had access to a window. The yield might not have been much better though because it's winter and temps aren't that great. I think people just grow tomatoes indoors because they're wind pollinated and people love tomatoes. The plants grew nicely, they just didn't flower unless there was foliage right up near the lights. And even then maybe 1 or 2 of the flower cluster would produce a tomato. I probably should have helped the process by hand pollinating some.

Oh well, it's to late now. I've trashed the tomato plants, and I'm moving on to herbs. Basil, Cilantro, and Dill are more compact plants than tomatoes. So this should work out better. And because we eat the foliage it should be ideal.