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Date: 10 February 2023. Expensive Tomatoes.

© janice142

As 2023 began I made a fresh start with my microgreens. Being able to have my own Victory Garden provides me a feeling of self-sufficiency in this sometimes chaotic world. In the meantime I want to become successful at growing tomatoes aboard Seaweed. Previous attempts can best be described as abject failures. For proof see the Upside Down Tomato Plant How-To and Tomato Rocket (Dollar Tree item) articles.

DISCLAIMER: The easiest way to have fresh salads is to sign up for Walmart-Plus (free delivery/no tipping) which will bring fresh produce along with loads of other products to your home within 24-hours. It is amazing, and has truly changed my life. Publix has a similar service.

I am definitely not an expert however I am motivated. A fresh sliced tomato would be a nice addition to a bowl of salad greens.


Over the past year or two prices for everything have gone through the roof. Thank goodness for time on the water.

Cap'n Noel's dog Peaches enjoys life onboard Party Boat.

Over the years Cap'n Noel has shared interesting observations about his family and life in general. A recent email caused me to redouble my tomato growing efforts. Noel wrote:

This seems like a normal thing to do. I mean, people go to the store, and buy tomatoes as a normal part of grocery shopping. Iím in Publix, and I politely ask the clerk who is stocking, and accidentally blocking my access to the beefsteak tomatoes, to please hand me one tomato. He does, and I put it in my basket, and I purchase it. When I get home, I look at the receipt. WOW!

Noel bought a single tomato for $4.87.

I absolutely do want more than simply microgreen salads. Paying nearly $5 for a tomato is mighty expensive though.

Microgreens provide me with salad greens however I want to expand my menu. Therefore
I went to Dollar Tree (where everything is now $1.25) to purchase another Tomato Rocket.

By mid January my tomato plants were growing and appear to be doing well.


Previous issues with flies when growing tomatoes caused me concern. This
time I began spraying the plant with Neem Oil shortly after leaves first appeared.


I bought Neem Oil on Walmart for $10 in 2017. It is highly concentrated. Amazon offers it at this *affiliate link: Neem Oil Extract.

*Affiliate link: That means if you purchase an item through my link a small percentage of the amount spent will be sent to me. This costs you nothing and does benefit my Cruising Kitty. I am grateful to those who shop via my Amazon links.

I do have an Amazon link at the top left
corner of every page on my website... in case you wondered. ←HINT!

In addition to the tomatoes I am attempting to grow both chives and scallions. This is my pathetic crop of those two thus far:

Quite frankly, I am still learning this whole food growing business.
My motivation has been renewed by Cap'n Noel and his $4.87 tomato.

Noel paid nearly $5 for a single tomato. Since 2017 I have spent way more than $5 and successfully grown just ONE tomato. If memory serves me this is the list of expenditures: 2 hanging baskets, 3 coco-core basket liners, 4 or 5 sets of tomato seeds, 3 bags of special potting soil, one plastic support for the plant, Neem Oil Extract, ring snaps to hold the branches where I want them, plus time... a lot of time and effort have gone into this process.

In February my tomato plant is bushy, bug free and growing well.

The yellow flowers will hopefully turn into delicious tomatoes.

Last year my tomato plant produced one small tomato. It was cute, and delicious.

Upon careful examination I recently discovered the first tomato of 2023. Finally progress is being made.

This tomato is just less than 3/4" (2 cm) across. There are a lot of
yellow flowering buds so I am hoping to find more baby tomatoes soon.

I wanted to be able to guide the plant, keeping it from spreading. There is not a lot of space in my cockpit.

Plant clips were purchased on eBay. These are reusable, at least until the plastic rots in the sun.

Here is an eBay link for you: Tomato Clips. Once the search results load, look on the right side of your screen just below the blue Search button. "Best Match" will appear. Click that. Next scroll down to "Price + Shipping: lowest first" and click that. BE CAREFUL!!! The first few will be for a single clip. You will want more than one clip.

Also, I checked on Temu and the price is approximately half of what eBay sellers charge. Again, be careful as some sellers are offering just one clip. On Temu you MUST order a minimum of $20 from the website. The variety of items is good. Search is not great. Shipping is free. The items I purchased have been for the most part good quality.  Here is a link: https://temu.com (Temu does have an app which I have not tried)

NOTE: Temu has an annoying pop-up advertisement when you first open it.

The tomato plant I started last autumn is doing well. Thus far I have not experienced any bug infestations. That is in my opinion due to the Neem Oil Extract I spray on the plant regularly. If I can get a reliable harvest I will be pleased.

Walt Disney World inspired my initial growing attempts. Their gardens supply all the salads sold in the entire resort!


Since I discovered my first tomato I have been searching diligently for another. I've found one!!!

My newest tomato has arrived. You may see a tiny bit of the yellow flower it emerged from also.

Though at first glance growing tomatoes aboard seems like a good idea, this is not necessarily true. I have had bug infestations. Thus far with the addition of Neem Oil Extract that problem appears to have been resolved. There is however one issue which may put tomato plants out of reach of many small boat owners.

The heavy water requirements necessary when growing tomatoes surprised me.

My tomato plant is in a plastic basket under the cockpit overhang and shaded for the greater part of the day. The hanging basket I use is 5" (13cm) deep. I am certain these plants are not usually grown in such a small amount of dirt. For my boating friends with limited water at this point I cannot recommend growing your own tomatoes.

I add approximately one pint (1/2 liter) of water to my
tomato plants daily. When I add less water the plant wilts.



There have been many attempts
to grow tomatoes aboard Seaweed.


When younger I was certain I could not grow anything. In retirement aboard Seaweed I have proven that untrue. My original goal was to harvest a salad a day. With microgreens I have succeeded in that. This is not just a "put the seed in the ground and in x-months food will appear" process. As for me, I am happy to learn while I have easy access to grocery stores.

Though Cap'n Noel paid $4.87 cents for a single beefsteak tomato, he has a tomato to eat. Over the past few years I have spent nearly $20 and grown one tomato about the size of a mandarin orange. Cap'n Noel is definitely the winner in this round.

I hope the current attempt raising tomatoes meets my expectations. In any event I will let you know. If you are like me and wish to become more self-sufficient there are many means to accomplish that goal. Being able to fix an engine is important. So too is food acquisition. Some folks fish. Others become gardeners.

I have learned growing food successfully is far
more difficult than the pretty packages of seeds infer.

DISCLAIMER: The easiest way to have fresh salads is to sign up for Walmart-Plus (free delivery/no tipping) which will bring fresh produce along with loads of other products to your home within 24-hours. It is amazing, and has truly changed my life. Publix has a similar service.

The most important part of boating is actually using your vessel.

Thank you for being a part of my world. Thanks too for reading.  

Are your grocery stores well stocked with fruits and produce?
And, do you grow anything at home (flowers, spices, tomatoes, food?

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© 2023

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