Agrotonomy has tried many different approaches to grow tomatoes.
Firstly, we started with 7-pot-towers using the regular grow cage manufactured by Tower Garden. Regrettably, the weight of the vines loaded with tomatoes’ crushed’ the grow cages which were too weak to match the growth of the plants.
There were over 100 kg of vines + tomatoes which created too much of a wall effect allowing the wind to push against during a storm. At True Garden, such planting approach was successful because it was indoors (inside a greenhouse) and therefore protected from the wind.
Tomato plants can also grow on a Tower Garden by just letting the vines crawl onto the ground. This is another approach. Allowing plants which are generally planted at the bottom of the Tower Garden to crawl onto the ground gives the center results as well. However, at Agrotonomy, we are against such a growing strategy because allowing tomato plants to grow in direct contact with the ground increases greatly the chances of insects/pests.
Aside from the grow cage consideration, we advise you to prune your tomatoes with caution. In fact, in the past, we were always big advocates of pruning tomato plants cutting leaves drastically allowing more sun exposure to the fruits thus facilitating the ripening process.
Pruning tomato plants severely gives more sun to the fruits and facilitates the harvesting process. However, we recently found out that by allowing most leaves to turn brown and die before removing them increases the flavor and sweetness of the tomatoes ( watch video featured on this page). Although have not collected any scientific data yet regarding this issue, it appears that when the leaves die while still part of the tomato plant, They release nutrients to the rest of the plant throughout the process of turning brown. Of course, we do manicure our tomato plants by removing as many sucker leaves as possible but nowadays, we take a much more relaxed approach when it comes to pruning tomato plants on a Tower Garden aeroponic system.
We have also noticed that we get better results when picking tomatoes at an early stage (not green but not 100% ripe yet). Tomatoes will ripen after being harvested as they release ethylene (a natural gas released by some fruits promoting ripening). After becoming ripe enough, these tomatoes will usually have a better ‘shelf life’ than their counterparts which ripened fully on the vine before being picked.
Mathias from Agrotonomy Tower Farms shows you the results of a tomato plant grown on a Tower Garden when you prune the ‘suckers’.
Growing black tomatoes on a Tower Garden.
How to prune tomatoes like a pro! Removing suckers from your tomato plants.
Video showing the pros and cons of growing tomatoes on a Tower Garden.
Video showing how big tomatoes can get when growing on a Tower Garden.
Video showing how to enhance the sweetness of tomatoes when growing on a Tower Garden.