ISSUE 25  |  Bath and Spa

High/Low: The $85 Tomato

June 18, 2012 5:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

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During the nine and a half months of the year when they’re out of season, I would pay anything for one delicious, ripe, homegrown tomato. In season, however, tomato values plummet faster than the euro. The cost of growing one yourself can fluctuate almost as much:

Above: The $85 tomato. This beauty was produced with the help of a tomato plant ($5), soil mix ($10), plant food ($5), insecticide ($15) and an Earth Box planter ($50). Image by Shutter, via Flickr. And now, a far less expensive alternative:

Above: The $9 tomato. Grown from seed, in a biodegradable pot, in an organic soil mix and with homemade fertilizer and pesticide. Image by Meytav Katzir, via Flickr.

Above: A packet of Pearson Tomato seeds is $2 from Baker Creek. For more about heirloom seeds, see Seed Bank: Heirlooms in Petaluma. Image by Tofutti Break, via Flickr.

Above: A bag of organic Potting Soil from Fire Escape Farms is $6.

Above: Start your seedling in a biodegradable Jiffy Pot (£0.20 from Greenfinger). For US gardeners, Jiffy Peat Pots are $1 apiece at Greenhouse. Transplant your seedling in one of those many empty terracotta pots you have lying around.

Above: For a recipe for homemade tomato fertilizer, made from ingredients like eggshells, visit My Pet Chicken. Image via Thermoforming.

Above: A simple homemade organic pesticides, made from onion skins steeped in water, can keep bugs away. Image via Tipnut.