The Univesity of Missouri Extension website ranks tomato as the most popular fruit in the home garden. If you want to grow this delicious and trendy fruit plant but you don’t have any more space available in your garden or you don’t have a garden at all, in this post, we will give you the best tips for growing tomato in containers.
Although Tomato is the most popular fruit plant for gardeners, it is not the easiest to grow in gardens. In fact, it is easier to grow a tomato in a container on a small patio or even on a rooftop in the middle of a bustling city. Growing tomato in containers prevents it from becoming a victim of the bacterial wilt endemic to your soil.
However, many people fail to grow them successfully. Their plant either produces a little or it lacks flavor. Therefore these are vital tips for growing tomato in containers. Follow them one by one and you will certainly enjoy the results of your effort.
1. Pick an adequate container
In order to grow tomato successfully, an adequate container is the first vital step. Due to their large root systems, tomatoes need a large container to grow in. You will need at least a 4- to 5-gallon pot. Containers that are at least 20 to 22 inches in diameter work better for tomatoes.
Avoid clay pots, the soil will dry more quickly in them which will eventually lead to the failure of your crop. Plastic containers are much better as they hold the moisture in better, which is important for successful tomato gardening. Wood containers are also a good choice. Most importantly, don’t forget drainage holes.
If you need more containers ideas, you can find them here
2. Choose a proper variety
There are wide varieties of tomatoes. Although all of them are edible, not all of them fit for container gardening. If you wish to grow a small variety, cherry tomatoes such as “Tiny Tim,” “Tumbling Tom” and “Sweet 100 Patio” are the best choice.
For the dwarf variety, you better go with “Florida Basket” and “Micro-Tom”. However, if you want a large or a compound variety you should probably choose “Celebrity”, “Early Girl”, “Jetstar” and “Sweet Tangerine” for a large variety. “Pixie”, “Patio Prize” and “Patio Princess” are the best Compact varieties developed for container gardening.
Tomato plants need a healthy good soil. Potting soil and compost soil are the best quality soils for your tomato to grow in a container. They are both available at gardening centers and home improvement stores. You should never use soil from your garden, it is very harmful to tomato plants.
Graden soil is full of bacteria and debris that may hinder the growth of your tomato. It also lacks the drainage for use in containers. Besides, there’s a very high risk of bringing disease pathogens, weed seeds, and even caterpillar pupae into your container.
Tomato is a very delicate fruit plant, it can be plagued by all sorts of pests and disease, thus, avoid garden and yard soil and use either potting soil or compost soil.
4. Plant your tomato carefully
Unlike other fruits, you need to plant tomato deeply. You should dig a hole deep enough to cover two-thirds of the tomato stem to encourage more root growth. This way, your tomatoes will be stronger and healthier. Then, keep the soil at least one inch below the pot rim. Add a layer of mulch to help keep the soil moist.
Straw, shredded bark, chopped leaves, or newspapers are good mulch materials. Paper decomposes quickly, especially in hottest regions, so plan to refresh the layer as needed during the growing season. If you like to know more about mulch materials, visit this site.
5. Add support
All varieties of tomato require support when they grow. It is most likely that without support, will flop over the edge of your container and end up growing on the ground because the stem is not nearly strong enough to hold it upright.
You should always keep your tomato off the ground in order to ensure that you can see and access your tomato. Besides, keeping your tomato off the ground diminishes the risks of pests and increase air flow.
You could use a traditional tomato cage, but, it makes hard for you to access to the plant. Therefore, wooden stakes are the best choice. Insert it into the soil and it will provide the adequate and the right support for your plant.
6. Choose a location
An appropriate location is also a vital condition for your tomatoes to grow successfully. Tomatoes grow better in warm condition. They also need at least 6 hours of sunlight direct exposure per day. Thus, you should avoid locating your plan near walls or fences where your plant may spend most of the day in a shadow.
Instead, move your plants next to a window where it gets an easy access to sunlight. Many people place them next to their kitchen window or on the balcony. In this sense, they decorate the kitchen or the balcony and get as much sunlight as they need.
This is one of the major factors that contribute to the success of your crop. When watering tomatoes, you have to be careful. You should keep the soil consistently moist, but not saturated. You can use your finger to tell whether or not the plant needs watering.
Put your finger in the soil and If the top inch of soil is dry then it’s time to give it a drink. You could also Place a saucer beneath each pot to catch water that runs through the soil, so plants can absorb that extra moisture over the course of a hot day.
Tomato plants are heavy feeders. In order for them to grow successfully, they need a regular consistent feeding. They require lots of nutrients to make flavorful fruit. You will have to fertilize your plants at least once a month for the best results. If your plants’ leaves become pale and yellow, it means they need more fertilizing.
There are a lot of good fertilizers available, perhaps Miracle-Gro® Shake ‘n Feed® Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food is one of the best. If you wish to read more about fertilizing tomatoes, please follow this link.
9. Constant Observation
You should always inspect your plants weekly for pests. Pests such as aphids are notorious and should not be ignored. These insects may do a great harm to your plant.
If you follow the above tips, you will enjoy harvesting your plants. Your plants will have heavily produced delicious tomato fruits. The best time to harvest is when it is easy to pluck the tomato fruits from their branches. Give them a good wash before consuming them in your home.
These are guaranteed tips to successfully grow tomatoes in containers. If you follow these tips one by one, you don’t have to worry about anything. Follow these steps and I promise you that your tomatoes will produce heavily and deliciously.
If you have any questions regarding these tips, please comment them on this post and we will be glad to answer you.
Enjoy your delicious tomatoes