Saturday, 23 May 2009

Tomatoes on the Move...

Seizing on the opportunity to snap up a couple of grow bags retailing in Somerfield for £1.29, I spent the afternoon tending to my multitude of gargantuan tomato plants.

I'm experimenting yet again and in this instance, am putting some tomato plants into grow bags outside on the balcony, with some more remaining inside on the windowsill. I'm still unsure as to how I'm going to construct a 'bed' for the indoors grow bag (to avoid mess inside the flat), so whilst I deliberated over that produce problem, I set to, transplanting three tomato plants into the grow bag outside.

The first step I took, was to take 3 flower pots and cut the bottom out of them:

The intention was to sit these pots on top of holes in the grow bag. Tomato plants can grow further roots out of their stems, so by offering the plants an extra flower pot's worth of compost, I'm hoping that I've given them another incentive to give the London Vegetable Garden some tomato plants this summer, even if it is only a few!

Once I had cut the holes into the flower pots, I wedged these into the openings I'd created on the grow bag:

Following this, I proceeded to lay a bit of compost in the flower pots, transplant the tomato plants into the pots and then cover the stalks up with compost until the pots were full:

As you can see, I've inserted some plant sticks and tied the plants to them for added support. I've given them a good watering, as it's extremely hot and sunny on the London Vegetable Garden today and hopefully, it'll remain warm enough for them going forward now. Rest assured, progress will be monitored and recorded on your favourite London gardening blog!


  1. Job well done, here's a couple of tips - the roots that will form at the top and off of the stem that is now buried will become the feeding roots and the ones that will eventually be in the growbag will be the drinkers, so when you are applying feed water from the top and when you are simply givng them a drink then water directly into the grow bag.

    If you cut off the bottoms of three one litre water bottles and sink them upside down into the growbag soil right next to the pots so that they are stable, you can then water directly into those which should allow the water to seep in slowly with out sloshing your soil away from the soon to be established roots.

    Last but not least :) as the soil on the top settles from watering, etc, don't forget to keep adding a sprinkle of fresh compost to keep them covered and to encourage the formation of more lovely feeding roots.

    Good luck and I can't wait to see your first Tomato ;)

  2. Kella, you are a gardening superstar! Thank you so much for these brilliant tips! Top biology lesson on the roots too, I shall take these on board right away!

    Someone following the London Vegetable Garden on Twitter (@londonveggarden) said that covering a grow bag in a bin liner helps if you're not planting in a greenhouse, as the black absorbs the heat - have you heard whether this has been used to any good effect?

    Once again, thank you so much for the tips!

  3. Callum,
    Thanks so much for sharing your progress in your blog, it is incredibly inspiring.
    This year, I have decided to make the leap and start growing my own produce and I am excited to check my veggies every day to see the progress.
    I am not a million miles away from you (I'm in Staines, Middx) but I am lucky enough to have a small garden. This year I am planting out just in pots and troughs, but I am already planning on digging up the end of my garden and turning it into a veggie patch.

    Keep up the blogging, I find it so useful and it is great to share the journey with someone in the same boat, more or less.

  4. Hi Callum, I'm learning something new everyday just like you, I've just been at it a little longer :)

    I haven't heard about the wrapping a bin liner around growbags outside of the greenhouse, I assume its to increase the banking of heat for the cooler nights. I don’t think it would hurt but since the growbags normally would be black on the inside I would assume this is already being achieved.

    And you are most welcome, happy growing.

  5. Hi Callum,
    I read somewhere very recently that you should plant some french marigolds next to tomatoes growing in grow bags - I can't remember the reason for it but if I come across the article again I will let you know! Just to be safe, I have planted marigolds next to all my tomatoes - inside and out - if nothing else it looks very pretty!!
    I bet you can't wait to eat your first tomato!

  6. Hi Ali,

    Thanks for the tip! On the balcony, I'm not pestered so much by pests, although last year and earlier this year, some flowers were suffering from whitefly.

    As for your allotment (and for anyone else reading this thread), Bob Purnell's 'Crops in Pots' (that I reviewed earlier in the blog) is an excellent resource for complimentary planting. If you're planting loads of vegetables in containers or out in an allotment, this book is definitely worth consulting for complimetary plant solutions.

  7. Watching Gardeners World last week, they had an alternative way of planting Grow Bags. Put masking tape round the middle and cut the bag in two. Then stand each half up (the tape gives some shape to the new bag/pot.

    You can then plant one plant in each half with lots of room for their roots. They also said to plant up to the first leaves because the lower stalk will produce extra roots (feeding roots according to Kella above - great information by the way).

    Excellent post, just thought I would pass on this alternative from Gardeners World.

  8. I've never seen a grow bag. I just learned something new! I wonder if they have those in the U.S.

    I just noticed you are following my blog. Welcome! In my younger years, I dreamed of living self sufficiently on an acreage, but my husband and I are not handy enough to do that, plus, he had no interest in those kinds of pursuits, being more of a book worm and self taught computer geek.

    It looks like you are making good use of the gardening space you have there on your balcony.

  9. Hi Sue,

    Living self-sufficiently on an acreage is much more achievable than on a balcony! Thanks for the kind comments.

    Thanks too to Nigel for the grow-bag tip - really useful tip for any gardeners looking to save space and money.



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