July 22, 2016
A few months ago I wrote about receiving a Gardener’s Revolution Tomato Planter from Gardener’s Supply. I also just happened to receive sample tomatoes called Take 2 Combos, newly released from Burpee, that same week. The Tomato Planter came with soil, special tomato fertilizer and a support system—so I got busy planting.
To clarify, the Take 2 tomato plants are pairs of tomatoes in one pot—one slicing tomato plant, one cherry-type plant—meant to be planted together in one large container. The pairs are chosen for their low growing profile and ability to grow in a 14-in. container without “bullying” each other. That is, these pairings are meant to be space-saver solutions. The one planted in the container is Take 2 Camera, a combination of Homeslice (the slicing tomato) and Sweetheart (the cherry).
The Tomato Planter, too, solves the problem of little growing space by providing plenty of soil in a slim profile, with the bonus of having a built-in support system for the tomatoes to grow on. Plus, the water reservoir makes it easy to keep the plants growing strong.
The tomatoes and container have been ticking along for a little over two months now, plenty of time and experience to provide initial feedback. In no particular order:
- The Gardener’s Revolution Tomato Planter was super-easy to set up on my “Juliette” balcony. Oblong in shape, the container fits perfectly in that narrow space. It came with plenty of soil to fill the “grow bag” that fits into the container. They also provided tomato fertilizer to mix into the soil before planting. I set up the “backbone” for the support rings when it was first planted and have easily added on the rings along that backbone as the plants have grown taller. All in all, it’s been very easy to use.
- The water reservoir holds PLENTY of water to last a few days. Only once did the tomatoes look wilty and that was after six days without adding water—in the second week of July, no less. Watering from the bottom has been wonderful.
- The instructions were to add half the fertilizer to the soil and then top-dress with more several weeks later, watering it in from the top. My bad—I think I waited too long. My first tomato, while it appeared beautifully red on its top—the only view I had of the tomato from my balcony window—it was suffering from blossom end rot, a nutrition deficiency. Tomatoes I’ve harvested since the second application of fertilizer appear to be okay.
- The tomatoes are growing nicely and I think they were paired well. The issue, and you can see it in the photo, is that they are much taller than what they are supposed to be. The reason is the only available spot to place this container was in partial sun. Full sun would ensure a squatter plant. But having only morning sun has made the plants grow taller searching for more light. It also means it takes longer for the tomatoes to ripen. I have another Take 2 Combo (Action, a pairing of BushSteak and Baby Boomer) in a full-sun location and it is growing low as it should be.
- No bugs! This being my first time growing plants on a second-story balcony, I’m happy to see that the bugs haven’t (yet) found the tomato plants. And hopefully they never will. As for the roots, I assume they are doing well in that breathable fabric bag. The Swiss cheese-like container (you can see large openings in the sides) is meant to promote “air pruning” of the roots, meaning they grow stouter and healthier.
Stay tuned for an end-of-season update on both the container and the Take 2 Combos!