Agriculture in urban and urbanizing areas will be increasingly critical to enhancing food security and food sovereignty, creating income, strengthening social interactions, and improving health outcomes in cities.
The research team used three roofs, a hydroponic system, an aquaponic system, and field rows in an urban environment to grow six dwarf tomato cultivars: ‘Micro Tom’, ‘Red Robin’, ‘Sweet ‘n’ Neat’, ‘Terenzo’, ‘Tiny Tim’, and ‘Tumbler.’ They measured the marketable yield and non-marketable yield, mass of non-marketable tomatoes exhibiting defects, and the content of 12 mineral nutrients in fruits. They found the productivity often varied among cultivars within a cropping system. ‘Terenzo’ and ‘Tumbler’ were always some of the most productive cultivars, whereas ‘Micro Tom’ was normally among the least productive cultivars.
The production from ‘Red Robin’, ‘Tiny Tim’, and ‘Sweat ‘n’ Neat’ was more variable, sometimes producing high, moderate, or low mass. The mineral content was especially variable across the cultivars and they did not identify cultivars that were consistently high or low in mineral content across systems, indicating that the mineral content was highly influenced by a genotype x environment interaction. The amount of 5 minerals differed across cultivars in aquaponics, 9 differed in hydroponics, and 6–12 differed in the roof systems. A high-yielding cultivar should be selected first and production methods can then be modified to maximize the nutrient content.
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Richardson, Matthew & Arlotta, Caitlin. (2022). Producing Cherry Tomatoes in Urban Agriculture. Horticulturae. 8. 274. 10.3390/horticulturae8040274.