At the beginning of the year, I set up a new mission in the AeroGarden, growing two peppers (Popti and Redskin) and a tomato (Veranda Red). Ten days later, I had two tomato seedlings, which I had to thin to one. The peppers were a bit slower, but by 19th January they had germinated (and been thinned) too.
It rapidly became apparent that the tomato was going to be a space hogger…
…and so at the beginning of February I relocated the two peppers into the Hydroponicum, where they are doing really well. They’re both about 15cm tall, and Redskin is growing flower buds.
With no competition, Space Tomato took over the whole of the AeroGarden, and had grown its first fruit by 19th February:
By this point, Space Tomato is slurping its way through the water tank every three days, and with a short break planned, Ryan and I had to brainstorm a way of giving it extra water while we were away. (It is possible to get expansion tanks for the AeroGarden, but they are expensive (£50+) and they have to be imported from the USA, so they don’t arrive quickly.) We tried various sorts of drippers, combined with a plastic bottle of water, but they all suffered the same problem; they delivered a large dose of water quickly, and then slowed to a trickle. Exactly the opposite of what we wanted.
Ryan then came up with a brilliantly simple idea – a water wick. He put a length of thin cotton rope, wet through, into a bottle of water. One end then comes down out of the bottle and hangs over the AeroGarden reservoir, dripping slowly into it. It turned out to be the perfect delivery rate for Space Tomato.
After four days away, the AeroGarden tank was at roughly the same water level it was when we left, and Space Tomato was perfectly happy. In fact, while we were away, it grew more fruit!