Growing tomatoes in containers is helpful for people who want to enjoy fresh crops but does not have the luxury of wide planting space. It is possible to grow in just about anywhere with a sunny spot. Determinate tomatoes are the best choice of variety to plant in pots since they don’t grow too big.
Growing tomatoes in containers
Tomatoes are one of the easiest crops to grow. Although they are prone to pests and diseases, there are varieties sold in the market today that are disease-resistant so it won’t be much of a problem to you. Here are the key points to remember when growing tomatoes in containers:
- Choosing a container - ideal pot size is 18-inch diameter for determinate tomatoes. Remember though that tomatoes grow a large root system in order to grow well, so you should choose the largest container your area can accommodate.Also make sure that you pot or container has draining holes to avoid water pooling. Place drainage material (like gravel) in the bottom of the pot before you add soil to provide air pockets so roots don’t drown.
- Pick a good spot – the best location for tomatoes in containers is a place where they will receive at least six hours of sun. It is ideal to choose a spot with easy access so you can monitor containers regularly, water plants and check for pests.
- Soil – Tomatoes grown in containers need a loose, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. But since tomatoes are susceptible to pests and diseases, using soil from your garden may put them at higher risk. You may use premium quality potting soil mix that is light and fluffy for your tomatoes. It will provide the air and moisture circulation needed by your plants. If you would wish to plant another tomato after harvesting, use a new soil mix for that.
- Planting and Support – Dig a hole that is deep enough to cover two-thirds of the tomato stem to encourage more root growth. Wait after the last frost before planting, and make sure to moisten the soil beforehand. Tomatoes also need support of some kind like a cage or stake. Insert support as you plant, as doing so later may disturb the growing roots.
- Mulching – Keep the soil in your container at least one inch below the pot rim to allow room for a layer of mulch. You may use straw, shredded bark, chopped leaves or newspaper as mulch to keep the soil moist.
- Water – Water your tomatoes regularly and keep the soil consistently moist but not saturated. 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.
- Fertilizer – You may add a continuous-release fertilizer to the soil before planting to help get your tomatoes to a good start. After which, you can use a liquid plant food every week especially once the flowers have begun to form. This is important since watering washes nutrients out of the pot.