Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
After we planted the strawberries, I wanted to give my brown thumbs another chance to thrive. Since I can never have enough of Cherry Tomatoes (better known as Mini Tomatoes in Japan), it is a must-have in our container garden. We don’t have a garden patch so every plant we have will be in a pot or planter, in any available sunny spots around the house.
From late March, we started our search for mini tomato seedlings in various home centers. A staff told us that it is better to wait around Mid April, when a large variety of tomato seedlings will be available. Shortly at Super Viva Home, we managed to find three Sugar Baby seedlings on the rack. They were on the lean side but I did not want to wait any longer so we grabbed one of these hot-selling babies, as well as a Basil seedling (a great companion plant for the tomatoes) and headed home!Tips: Growing certain plants together can reap lot of benefits. Basil and Tomato plants is quite the popular duo. Learn more from this Companion Planting Guide.
(1) I used a 9.5 liter pot (⌀30cm x H29cm), which is more than sufficient for the Sugar Baby tomato plant according to the staff at Viva. (2) I placed a net (a plastic mesh) to cover the hole of the pot, which will prevent excessive soil from draining out and insects from crawling into the pot. Then, I poured in some light-weight pot stones over the mesh to ensure good water drainage so that the plant’s rots will not rot easily. Only recently, I came across this useful garden item – a net to bag the stones (鉢底土ネット) so that it will be less hassle when it is time to reuse the stones.(3) I buried the Sugar Baby pretty deep with most of her stem underground and her lowest branches just above the surface (see No.5). The next day, I actually trimmed them off. The tomato plant will develop roots along the buried stem and hence build a stronger root systems. (4) After planting the sweet basil seedlings next to the Sugar Baby, I installed a 120-cm ring support to tie and manage the tomato plant as it grows. And the final step was to water the plants well, to help them settle in their new home.
Ideally, Tomatoes like to receive at least 6 hours of full sun. The sunniest spot in our place is on our balcony, has a maximum of 5-hour sun exposure. So it was reserved for the Sugar Baby. Caring for the mini tomato plant is pretty straightforward. I water it consistently. Every month, I will feed it with organic fertilizer made specially for Tomatoes. Every week, I sprayed Kadansefu (カダンセーフ) on my veggies and flowers, a natural insecticide & disinfectant made of coconut oil and starch.As we are entering into the warmer season, our tomatoes are turning red and producing more. I usually try to leave the tomatoes on the vine as long as possible. Every now and then, I am able to harvest one or two. The harvest-ready ones will easily snap off the vine when I gently twist it.
Seeing my Sugar Baby doing fine, I went ahead and planted another tomato plant – Sweet Mini Yellow a month later, and of course with a Sweet Basil to keep it company. Recently, its flowers are popping out. Hopefully by Summer, I will have lots of tomatoes to eat. Yippee!