So, I realize that here in Chicago, it's a little early to be dreaming about home grown tomatoes fresh from the garden. But I'm ready for spring. For the first time, I'm living in a place where I might actually be able to grow my own tomatoes. I have lots of questions, and there are a lot of websites out there, and a few books, dedicated to tomato growing, but I thought I'd get some advice from the very wise folks here at LTH.
I don't have access to a garden, but I have one large deck right off of the kitchen on the 2nd floor, and a smaller deck above it. Both decks stick off of the south side of the house and will have a lot of sun when summer rolls around. Like, sun all day. So, with some big planting pots, I figure I could grown a lot of tomatoes on the big deck. One thing about the deck. It has a nice sized gas grill on it, and will probably have a Weber smoker on it as well. These will both be used regularly. Is that going to cause problems with tomato plants? Is a few feet of buffer between the cooking devices and the tomato pots enough? Next question. At the other end of the deck are two A/C intakes or exhaust. I know nothing about A/C, so I don't know which way the air blows. But can the tomato plants be near these, or is there a temperature or airflow concern? It's kind of a useless area of the deck, so if the tomato pots can sit right next to them, that would be cool.
Does anyone have a store in the Chicago area where they go to get supplies for this sort of endeavor? I realize that I can go to Home Depot to get the pots and tomato cages, but for soil and the other things we'll need, I'd like to be leaning towards organic. So a place that has a good selection of organic gardening products, and maybe some employees that know what they're doing, would be nice.
Lastly, are there any sites people would recommend for both tomato growing advice as well as ordering cool varieties from? Just a google search brought up this site, http://www.heirloomtomatoplants.com/Hei ... oes-ah.htm
I like the idea of getting plants that have been started already. Does that work ok? Are seeds better? Any local place for such things?
OK, long post, thanks for reading.