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'Anna Aasa' Cherry Tomato

The worthwhile challenge of growing tomatoes on a fire escape.

We asked garden bloggers for their favorite "high-maintenance" plant—that plant they'll bend over backward to keep healthy. Here's what Mike Lieberman, the Urban Organic Gardener, had to say:

When I was living in New York City and growing on my fire escape, my favorite high maintenance plant was my 'Anna Aasa' cherry tomato plant. The reason that it was so high maintenance for me is because I was growing in such a small space that I needed to tame it down frequently to keep it from taking over the fire escape.

Mike Lieberman fire escape garden

The plant grow to be over six feet tall and had to be trained alongside the building to the cable wires that were running along the wall. It also needed to be pruned often.

My fire escape was north facing and on the fourth floor of my apartment building. It received about four to six hours of direct sunlight a day. I believe that New York is in Zone 6a.

It was totally worth it because I was able to get fresh-picked, vine-ripened tomatoes for my meals. Storebought tomatoes are often picked before they are ripe and sprayed down with chemicals to help ripen them during transport. This was reason enough for me to go through the tediousness of maintaining the plant.