Friday, May 25, 2012

Florida Urban Farm and Permaculture Plants - Tomatoes on the Roof, Walls and Patio!

Tomatoes are growing on the roof!

Rooftops, living walls and permaculture gardens can support a variety of vegetable plants but tomatoes are one of the most rewarding food plants to grow in the Urban Core.

Permaculture wild cherry tomatoes for the roof, patio or garden

Tomatoes in the kitchen can be easily turned into many delicious and nutritious dishes.  Salsa, salads, soups, sides for sandwiches are just a few of many tomato based culinary creations.

Unfortunately, organic tomatoes are expensive to buy in the market! 

Importantly, growing your own tomatoes can greatly reduce your exposure to pesticides.  Tomatoes are typically heavily sprayed in greenhouses and production fields.

Yet growing your own supply on the roof, across your living wall system, in your permaculture garden is easy!

I love growing  my 'monster-sized' tomato plants in containers.

All you really need is a small container for patio or windowsill, sunlight and water.  Add coir and a few seeds and you'll soon be on the way to a summer and fall full of juicy, sweet-tasting tomatoes!

Over the years we've tried many varieties of tomatoes here on our Urban Farm.  We've grown them on the roof, on the patio in containers, in rain gutters, across walls and anywhere else we could think of.

Wild cherry tomatoes always end up being the hardiest and most productive.

Urban Farm tomatoes we've found to be most productive are the wild cherry type

We harvested over one hundred gallons of wild cherry tomatoes last year off our living food roofs.

Wild cherry tomatoes will stand tall even in the driest, hottest rooftop afternoons, under conditions most other hybrid tomato plants quickly droop and wilt.

Hybrid tomatoes may suffer from desiccation under rooftop heat 

Cherry tomatoes will grow in the poorest of soil medium, thriving in-fact where other food plants suffer.

Importantly, we always add natural calcium sources.  Tomatoes must have calcium.

Without calcium in the soil many of the hybrid tomatoes will develop 'Blossom-End Rot'.

Blossom-End Rot results from a lack of calcium.  Seashells can correct this issue.

Ground up oyster shells, some limestone types and seashells all provide a significant source of calcium and other trace elements necessary for good growth.

Adding ground up seashells is one of my favorite approaches for supplying trace minerals to green roofs, living walls and Urban Core micro-gardens.

Next time you are walking through the market, admiring the bright red tomatoes, just think - you too could easily be growing more than you could ever use with just a few containers, a bag of washed coir, shells, organic fertilizer and wild cherry tomato seeds!

Got patio?  Think food garden!

Here is the link to my favorite wild cherry tomato seeds...