GreenStalk is a great vertical planter to use to grow tomatoes if you are limited on space or are looking for something easy to maintain. There are a few tricks to growing such a large viney (is that a word?!) crop so that’s what we are going to talk about today.
The easy route is to grow a container variety tomato like this one that I will be testing this spring. (UPDATE: I loved growing the “Red Robin” variety from Territorial Seed. It was definitely one of my favorites – We grew it from starter plants and seed and both did really well! The plants stayed really compact and pretty all season long while producing tasty tomatoes.)
We have grown both determinate and indeterminate varieties at our office so it is possible to do both. If you want something that looks more “groomed” and maintained then you’ll definitely want to stick with the determinate variety that only gets to be a set height. The indeterminate can take over a GreenStalk if you let ’em!
The key to keeping your tomato plants healthy in a GreenStalk system is staking and watering well. Thankfully, the GreenStalk is easy to water and provides some help with staking. If you are growing multiple crops in the same planter, it’s important to check the largest fruit producing plant pocket to see if it needs to be watered. For example, if you are growing 2 tiers of onions and tomatoes and 2 tiers of lettuce, the tomato and lettuce tiers will go through water faster than the onion tiers generally.
Another tip is to plant the large tomato plants in the bottom tiers so they are easier to stake as they grow “up.” An easy way to add stability to your plants is to insert wire hangers in the tier above the plant and allow the vining plant to grow through the hanger providing support for larger stalks. We have also successfully grown large indeterminate tomato plants by wrapping the system in twine to keep the plant from falling over.