A Real Tomato

This summer was my first solo experience with gardening on my windy apartment balcony. It ranged from good to bad, from too much water to not enough water. We met Spot and all his relatives–shortly after which he met his demise.

I give kudos and thanks to my friend Jamie who started this adventure with me. Though her plants had a hard time and were accidentally crushed. Next time we hope to get a P-Patch (in one of the many community gardens around Seattle), but the waiting list is a year or more long for most of the gardens. Hopefully next spring!

If we don’t get a P-Patch, I am much more prepared for next year.

What I’ve Learned:

  • I think Miracle Grow really helped my tomatoes, I think they needed nitrogen to produce fruit. Fertilizer is my friend.

  • To know if your plants need watering, stick a finger in and if you can feel moisture underneath then watering isn’t necessary. Wilty leaves don’t always mean that the plant needs water.
  • It’s hard to know when container plants need water. Mine definitely needed watered every day when it was hot, sometimes twice a day.
  • Bugs will find you, even if you’re on a balcony and the bugs don’t have wings.
  • Placement of plants can really matter, some plants seem to really dislike tomatoes.
  • What did poorly: Strawberries, Peppers (sort of, one of them did produce but they all got horribly infested with something at end of August), Patty Pan Squash, Carrots (I started little ball shaped carrots but then they all died without reason), lettuce (it grew, but aphids loved it to bits), and most herbs.


  • What did well: Tomatoes (I had success with Big Early Girl and something Tom…Tom Thumb? Tumbling Tom? Neither of those are right, ah well), Cucumbers (I only got 1 cucumber off of each plant though), Kale, Arugula, Lavendar, and Mint.

I’m sure I learned much more, but my biggest takeaway is that my garden will mostly consist of tomatoes, cucumbers, and kale next year. Just look at this tomato. It’s so dense! Compare this picture to a lame, watery tomato from the store. I cut this tomato with a plain old unserrated knife and it still held it’s shape.

Real Tomato

It’s a beauty.

Not 5 minutes later this tomato became this.

Charred Tomato

Charred tomato with goat cheese. I think it’s happy with its ultimate destiny.

I highly recommend this recipe as well, it’s my favorite tomato soup.


3 thoughts on “A Real Tomato

  1. Monica says:

    Beautiful photos and I loved hearing about your balcony garden. I too had my first real gardening attempt this year and had similar troubles with aphids, especially with the herbs and lettuce. I only learned late on the importance of plant food for container plants… and the importance of pruning tomato plants! Your cucumber is so cute and those tomatoes… I bet they were the best you’ve ever tasted. =)

  2. Delishhh says:

    This is great info. We recently moved to a new house and for the first time i actaully have space to grow vegetables, and i think i will start with something easy so this was very helpful.

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