Growing Tumbling Tom’s (Tomatoes) in hanging baskets

Growing Tumbling Tom’s (Tomatoes) in hanging baskets

How to grow Tumbling Tom’s (Tomatoes) in hanging baskets

 

Tumbling Toms are a fantastic beginner plant to grow for the would be veggie gardner.

The Tumbling Tom variety of tomatoe plants are visually awesome – they produce eye catching, cascading tumbler vines dotted with glossly red fruit. A single plant can produce up to 2kg of fresh fruit per season! 

With their tumbling, aesthetic form, they make eye catching feature plants when placed in hanging baskets or trellises on your patio or garden.

And if you’re an adventurous little ranger with a well-lit indoor space, you can also grow Tumbling Tom’s indoors – which is pretty cool.

These guys a pretty easy to grow, but it’s still best to know what you’re doing before you get stuck in.

– Jump to quick guide –

 

When to plant your Tumbling Tom

 

In Australia spring is the best time to plant your Tumbling Tom, as tomatoes are a summer crop.

Plant seeds indoors just before the last of the cold weather to ensure you have a seedling ready for early spring.

In warmer climates like Queensland, you can plant earlier in the season and will get a longer harvest.

 

What size pot / basket for my Tumbling Tom?

 

Your basket should be at least 30cm deep and 30cm across. These guys need some room to grow. The bigger the pot the more tomatoes your Tumbling Tom will produce, in general.

It’s also important that you plant one Tumbling Tom per pot only. One plant will easily fill your pot and needs room for aeration to prevent fungal diseases.

Ensure there is a good amount of drainage in the bottom of the pot, as always.

 

Are Tumbling Tom’s Determinate or Indeterminate?

Tumbling Tom’s are a determinate variety.

If that doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t stress, I’ll explain.

Determinate varieties are smaller and bushier than indeterminate – which grow vertically.

Tumbling Tom’s only grow to around 30cm in height – making them perfect for container gardeners.

Being a bush variety it trails and hangs over pot edges hence its ‘Tumbling’ name. In our opinion this makes it one of the more attractive tomato varieties.

It is also a heavy yielding. If you do a decent job and it has access to good light, it should produce up to 2kg of fruit in a season. They do come in both red and yellow, so keep an eye out for both varieties.

 

Tumbling Tom care

 

 

Tumbling Tom’s are very easy to care for as they are so compact which is great for beginner gardeners.

How much sun does your Tumbling Tom need?

They require full sun, 6-8hrs per day. In warmer regions morning sun is best vs the harsh afternoon sun. This will ensure fruit production.

If you’ve got bright indirect light all day, you’ll likely be ok as well, but may not produce as much fruit as a direct sun location.

 

What soil should you plant a Tumbling Tom in?

Any premium vegetable purposed potting mix will do fine. We personally mix about 1/5 portion of perlite in with ours as well, to ensure good drainage.

 

Should you use mulch with Tumbling Tom’s?

Tomatoes in hanging baskets need a good layer of mulch to stop them from drying out quickly in the summer heat. Sugar cane mulch is great for fruits and vegetables and it also benefits the soil. One inch of mulch should protect your soil from drying out too quickly.

 

Fertilising Tumling Tom tomatoes in hanging baskets

Tomatoes like to be planted in a soil with lots of compost matter. This will ensure high yield from your Tumbling Tom. So use a good potting mix to start with.

If you have a worm farm ‘worm tea’ is a great liquid fertiliser for your Tomatoes. See our guide in making your own worm farm here.

Tomatoes require potassium for fruit development. We feed our Tumbling Tom’s with a diluted seaweed solution once a fortnight. Liquid potash at the start of flowering (once a season) is good idea also.

If your plant is yellowing, it may be potassium deficient and in need of a feed.

 

Watering your Tumbling Tom

Tomatoes in hanging baskets or pots will dry out a lot quicker than in the ground, due to increased airflow. In spring, water your plant thoroughly approximately once a week and keep it consistent – watering the same day each week. As summer approaches and the weather heats up you will need to increase watering to twice a week – I water Wednesday, Saturday.

In the height of summer, you may need to water more frequently so make sure to test the soil with your finger. If the top inch is dry it’s time to water.

Tomatoes like their soil kept moist. If the tomato dries out you will damage your plant and fruit will split or become prone to blossom end rot.  

At the same time, be sure not to water if your soil is moist at the top layer – you’ll make her too soggy and suffer root and fruit rot.

This takes some experimenting in different regions – I’m in sunny Queensland.

 

Should I ‘pinch out’ my Tumbling Tom suckers?

The short answer is no. Determinate varieties are bush tomato plants. By leaving all the side shoots or suckers it gives the plant its fullness appeal.

It also makes for more flower buds, meaning more delicious tomatoes for you. The Tumbling Tom does not require staking or cages as it grows low to the ground.

Common tomato pests and disease

 

Mould /Mildew

Typically has a silvery grey type appearance on the plants leaves. If you notice this try to avoid watering the leaves and water from the base. Remove affected leaves. Make sure the plant has good aeration and isn’t crowded by other plants to avoid mildew.

Blossom end rot

A common problem in tomato plants. Blossom end rot as the name suggests rots the fruit from the bottom upwards. It appears black on the base of the plant. Most commonly caused by infrequent or irregular watering consequently the fruit does not absorb enough calcium. Ensure you are watering to a schedule and often in the warmer months.

Aphids

Aphids are small sap sucking bugs that group in clusters around the stems or undersides of leaves. If you see these early enough pick them off and kill them. If left they can grow in numbers quickly and will damage the plant. Ants eat the sap that aphids make, noticing ants can be a sign of aphids.

Mosaic virus / leaf curl

This virus is spread by other pests. If you notice yellow and dark green mottled patches on leaves and leaf curl your tomato may have this virus. There is no cure for this disease, destroy the plant to avoid spread.

Spider mites

These buggers love warm dry conditions. They are tiny red crawlers that produce webbing living on the undersides of leaves. They will quickly take over your plant if not controlled.

Be sure to use Eco oil (Neem oil) at first signs of spider mites. First signs of mites are often lots of tiny yellow specks appearing on leaves. Blasting the undersides of leaves with water is an effective way to keep numbers down. Be sure to isolate any pots with spider mites to avoid garden infestation.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars are usually easy to spot and can be removed by hand. They will eat your tomato leaves for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Quick guide (for those on a busy schedule)

  • Plant in spring time
  • In the biggest hanging pot you can find for your space (30cm deep x 30cm wide)
  • One plant per pot
  • Use plenty of compost material when planting
  • Be sure to mulch well
  • Keep soil moist and water on set days
  • Feed seaweed solution fortnightly
  • Potash feed when first flowers appear
  • Morning sun is preferred
  • Harvest and enjoy!

 

Miss Pot Plant xoxo

5 vegetables which are perfect for growing indoors

5 vegetables which are perfect for growing indoors

Which vegetables can you grow indoors – 5 examples with growing guides 

 

Wanting to grow your own fresh vegetables but short on outdoor space?

It’s easier than you might think, but not foolproof. Perhaps you’ve read other articles that say you can grow any and every vegetable in the comfort of your home or apartment – only to watch them shrivel and die. The simple truth not all vegetables do well inside with minimal direct sunlight. Trust me Janice, I’ve been there.

Through my own trial and error, I have found 5 vegetables which I’ve managed to grow indoors on a consistent basis. I’m not saying there aren’t others – but these one’s have been the best performers for me.

So, which vegetables do I recommend for growing indoors, even if you have minimal light? 

  • Scallions (spring onions)
  • Microgreens
  • Chives
  • Leek
  • Radish

In my experience, these little dynamites do great without direct daily sunlight. Below, we’ll go through everything you need to know to grow these 5 vegetables, in your home, with reliable success.

1) Scallions (Spring onions or Shallots)

Spring onions

Scallions are fantastic vegetables to grow inside. They do not need a heap of light to succeed, which is a huge plus if your home isn’t blessed with an abundance of natural light.

You can grow scallions straight from the cuttings from bunches you’d normally buy from your local grocer. Simply just cut off the bottoms at around 2 inches from the root base and place in a cup filled half way with filtered water (or water you’ve left to sit for several days so nasties can evaporate).

Now, for the secret.

There is no secret. Watch in amazement as they grow before your eyes (ready in just days, crazy I know). You will never have to buy scallions again. Just cut and use as needed changing the water regularly – every three days or so.

Alternatively, you can purchase seeds from your local gardening store or online and plant these babies into some good ‘veggie suitable’ potting mix soil, again cutting as needed when they reach maturity (about 8 weeks from seed). Water every 2-3 days, keep the soil moist but don’t drown it.

A good liquid seaweed fertiliser applied every 2-3 weeks will help yield, but isn’t essential.

I grow mine on the kitchen bench in water, with average light and they are literally the only indoor vegetable I’ve never killed. They’re good for my self-esteem. Also great for the kids, since they can see the results right before their eyes.

Tip:Buy a bunch from the grocer with thick bases to get the best results regrowing in water.

TLTR:

  • Cut off base with 2inches left
  • Place in water and change regularly
  • Or – plant seeds ¼ inch into good quality soil
  • Keep soil moist but not soggy
  • Fertilise fortnightly with seaweed solution
  • Cut as needed when reaches maturity

2) Microgreens

Microgreens

 

They’re small, easy to grow indoors, and pack a punch of antioxidants and other nutrients. Badda bing badda boom.

Microgreens are the shoots of vegetable seeds before they mature to plants. Not to be confused with “sprouts”, microgreens are harvested less than a month from germination from the stem and seed leaves of a germinated seed. Sprouts on the other hand are matured shoots, roots and seed eaten together as a single sprout.

There are many varieties of microgreens such as endive, radish, spinach, basil, watercress, peas, cabbage and more. You can purchase mixed seeds from any local garden store for next to nothing.  Beginners might feel more comfortable starting with a single variety.

Plant seeds on top of a well draining vegetable purposed potting mix in a small container or pot – anything with drainage holes – and lightly cover with some more soil (very lightly, don’t bury them 6 feet under Janice).

Keep the pot moist at all times (without drowning or dislodging seeds) for the best chance of high germination rates. A mister is a good choice here.

Place in a well-lit spot (these do spectacularly on windowsills) and you should have fully grown microgreens in just a couple of weeks.

Tip:I sat my pot in a dish of water so it could draw up water as needed keeping it constantly moist. Works a treat.

TLTR:

  • Sprinkle many seeds onto good quality soil mixed with some coco coir
  • Very lightly top with more soil until seeds are covered
  • Water in gently, without moving/flooding seeds
  • Keep moist
  • Place by a well lit window or door
  • Harvest in as needed in a couple of weeks

3) Chives

Chives

Chives with sour cream? Name a better duo. Chives are great to have growing around the home as they are a great flavour to add to many dishes such as potato bake, dips, nachos, the list goes on. Deliciousness on tap.

Chives are easy to grow on a windowsill or in a decorative pot by the back door. They do prefer good light, so these aren’t suited for dark corners. You can either start from seed or with small seedlings from your local garden store. Both work fine in my experience, so whatever floats your boat.

Plant in early spring in well-draining vegetable soil with a bit of compost mixed in for best results. A few spoonful’s of liquid fertiliser every 2-3 weeks helps.

Water regularly to keep the soil moist.

Harvest is typically 60 days from seeding, less if using seedlings.

Tip:Don’t harvest too early. But when plants are mature, cut back to 1-2 inches from the soil monthly to increase yield.  You can divide mature bunches to increase coverage. Remove flowers as they appear.

TLTR:

  • Plant seeds or seedlings in good quality soil mixed with some compost
  • Water in, keep soil moist until germination
  • Water weekly in summer, less often in winter
  • Fertilise with seaweed solution monthly for a good crop
  • Cut as needed when reaches a good height and thickness

4) Leek

Leek

Leeks are another easy ‘regrow’ vegetable to save you buying again and again at the grocery store. Simply cut off the bottom of the leek leaving about an inch or two from the root base. Next, place the root base in a cup of jar of water in a well-lit position on the kitchen bench. Make sure you change the water every 3 days or so.

In my experience Leeks take a long time to grow from seed – hence the supermarket option is best to keep your stocks up for soup season. Leeks will not regrow to full size in water, but will grow enough to use again – as you do not use the top part (greenest part) of the leek in most recipes.  Just cut back to the base again when ready to use and repeat!

Tip:Turn the pot regularly when changing water to keep your leek growing upwards instead of sideways.

TLTR:

  • Cut off root base with 2inches left
  • Place in water and change regularly
  • Cut off growth when it is big enough for use
  • Rotate your pot regularly

5) Radish

These little pink treats grow very quickly and are easy to grow indoors. They like a sunny morning position and prefer to be more shaded in the afternoon especially in the Australian summer time. If you’re an aussie (oi oi) then a eastern facing window position is perfect.

Growing radishes from seed is easy. There are many different varieties to choose from such as Sparkler, French breakfast (more elongated), Cherry belle (most common) and more.

Simply place your seed in some good quality potting soil with a 1/6 portion of compost and 1/6 portion of coir mixed in. Do not plant the seed too deeply – 1cm is perfect. Water regularly keeping soil moist but do not make soggy as this promotes leafy growth instead of fruit growth. Ensure your container has good drainage holes.

When the diameter of the radish head is about 1 inch at the surface of the soil it is ready for harvest. Depending on the variety they take about 3-4 weeks to reach maturity and are ready to show off in your salads.

Tip:You can use the radish leaves in salads also before the red fruit is ready for harvest.

TLTR:

  • Plant seeds shallow in good potting soil mixed with some compost
  • Water in with seaweed solution for good germination rates
  • Keep soil moist but not soggy, do not allow soil to get too dry
  • Fertilise with a seaweed solution when they are around half grown
  • Harvest when radish head diameter at soil surface reaches 1inch
  • Wash and enjoy

Summary

There you have it. 5 easy to grow vegetables from the comfort of your home. I’ve had personal success with all of the above – we hope you do too!

Much love

Miss Pot Plant xoxo

Growing potted mint the right way

Growing potted mint the right way

Mint is the signature plant of those who don’t know how to grow anything at all, because it can in fact be grown by those who don’t know how to grow anything at all.

 But just like it’s easy to splatter some paint on a canvas in kindergarten, growing succulent, fine, juicy, fragment, sexy mint like a true artist is a different story all together. Any half-conscious millennial can throw some mint in a pot and produce a plant better suited to a crown of thorns than a blender.  But that’s no fun.  

In this article I’ll teach you how to grow mint so minty it’ll be the most mint herb you ever grew.

 

Step one: Choosing a variety to plant

 

Spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, banana mint, mint mint – there’s a million of the things. Go have a good sniff and see what you like. Mix and match. Breed a single master race. You’re in control here.

On a practical note – you’ll want to grow from a seedling or a cutting. Trust me on this one. Growing mint from seeds is like buying a house with a deposit saved from your coin stash. Good luck with that.

 

Step two: Potting

 

You most definitely want to pot your mint, with other mint and with other mint only. Put mint in the outdoor garden and its like an 18thcentury British empire. No land is safe.

Similarly, potted with other types of herbs and your mint will take no prisoners – it only plays nice with its own kind.  Choose a pot that’s got a wide surface area; mint doesn’t mind shallow but it does need room to spread laterally a bit. 

It will also grow best in well-draining soil – aside from that it isn’t too fussy. I’ve found that mixing a decent organic potting mix with about 1/3 succulent/cacti mix is a winning combo. Alternatively ¼ perlite would do the trick. Don’t compact too hard.

When you plant, water in well and make sure the leaves are clean and don’t have any dirt residue on them.

 

Step three: Position

 

You’ve got some wiggle room here generally, thanks to Australia’s warm climate, but for best results you’ll want a partial shade to full indirect light position.

If you’ve got a eastern window sill that’s perfect, or a northern window set back a bit is quite good also. Anywhere that gets moderate to full indirect light will work just fine.

Variegated varieties don’t look too much direct light, so a west or eastern window works best here.

East or north facing windows work well 

 

Step four: Watering

 

Mint likes to be moist. A dry tolerant plant this is not.

At the same time overwatering will not make for a happy mint either. If you’ve used the right soil that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Wait until the very top layer of soil looks like its close to dry (if you pop a finger in it should still be moist 1cm beneath) and then 1-2 cups of water will do the trick depending on your pot / container size.

Most mint plants will need watering every second to third day; in summer and depending on position it might need daily watering.

 

Step five: Feeding

 

I find that mint doesn’t need much in the way of fertiliser, and the leaves are made for easing – so you don’t want to dump liquid fertiliser over them either.

The way to go here is a good, dry organic compost – if you want to get real fancy Janice you can mix some worm castings in – placed around the base of the stems once a year in growing season (more on that soon).

Make sure you water in well so there’s no compost residue on your leaves lest they burn.

 

Step six: Advanced techniques

Ok, so tips 1-5 are run of the mill how to grow a healthy mint plant stuff. Necessary but not that exciting. You’ll grow lots of mint that way, but you’ll need a few other tricks to keep it delicate and fresh so you can make el primo smoothies and cocktails.

Dormant season

Mint goes dormant once a year, and it’s important you know when. The trick is, this depends on your climate.

In cooler climate areas (Tasmania for example) the mint will go dormant in winter. But if you live in a really hot climate, like Queensland – your mind may in fact go dormant in summer.  You’ll recognise the dormant season by seeing the mint die down a bit and thin out, becoming a bit woody. Don’t panic. Its normal.

What to do in the dormant season? Get your scissors out and cut it back like you were preparing for a hot date. I mean go to town on that bad boy. Cut back 50-60% of the plant leaving 2-3 inches of stems. Otherwise treat it like normal. Don’t fertilise.

It’ll come back thicker and stronger when growing season starts again.

Pruning and picking 

The other trick to keeping the mind slim and succulent is to not leave it to grow untamed for long. You should be constantly picking for use, or if you don’t have need for any of the green goodness, you should still trim it back every 3-4 weeks at the most.

Mint loves to be treated men so don’t be shy. Just don’t cut back more than 1/3 during growing season.

If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a thick wood stemmed plant that breaks your nutri bullet.

Raising a mint army

Once you’ve nailed it with plant 1, you can share the love with friends or start to build your mint forces.

Propogating is easy; take a horizontal runner that is rooted and cut it away from a leaf node. A 4-5 inch stem is good.

Now you have two options. You can either pop it into a glass of water and wait until it forms a root ball before potting, or you can plant straight away.

Easy peasy.

Pests

Mint is fairly pest tolerant, which is cool. I don’t recommend using any sprays on it, especially if eating it. Instead, if you do see some pesky bugs, just pick those leaves off and give it a good spray with water; the mint loves to be manhandled.

If you have a really bad pest problem, then treat with the appropriate treatment and then when clear, cut back and encourage new growth.

  

And that’s it my friends. The secret to minty success. Now you’ll rock some delicious and succulent smoothy goodness for years to come. Enjoy.

 

Miss Pot Plant

Xoxo