Growing Container Tomatoes

June 2, 2010

in Home & Garden

It is entirely possible to grow a healthy, fruit producing tomato plant in a container sidestepping the need for an outdoor garden. Tomato plants are an extremely easy plant to grow just as successfully in a garden as it is in a container.

Cherry Tomatoes from my GardenThere are several benefits to growing a tomato plant in a container. This method is perfect for those who are short on space for an actual outdoor garden. Pots can be placed anywhere that receives enough light for the plant to sustain its growth including patios, yards and even window sills. Plus, since tomato plants require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, pots can be moved from location to location to ensure that the plant is receiving the right amount of sunlight eliminating the need for one particularly sunny spot. Another advantage to growing tomato plants in pots is that it eliminates the need to weed if you are short on time for proper gardening.

Most varieties of tomatoes can be successfully grown in containers but, some do better then others. You will want to grow tomatoes that do not get too large. Determinate tomatoes are varieties that will grow to a smaller size. They will typically get to be about 1 to 2 ft maximum. Plus, growing tomatoes in pots will cause them to ripen all at once. Choosing the smaller tomato varieties means that you are not stuck with more tomatoes than you know what to do with. To ensure your success in the endeavor of growing a tomato plant in containers, it is also better to choose a tomato plant variety that has a lower water demand. Tomato plants need about one inch of water a week keeping the soil moist. But, because they are being grown in a pot, keeping the soil moist can be challenging. The key to keeping the soil moist it to pick the right kind of pot for your tomato plant. A standard terra-cotta pot that provides enough room for the roots to grow is perfect for your plant. Good drainage is important so make sure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom. You can also add a layer of rock at the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage and ward off root rot. To keep the soil in the pot moist you should also use the right kind of soil. Tomato plants grown in a pot do well in a soil-less mix of sphagnum peat, perlite and vermiculite. You should also add a scoop of organic fertilizer to the soil mixture as well to the center of the pot and mix it in well. Tomato plants tend to be heavy feeders so you should add a fertilizer that is slow acting. On top of that, you can add fertilizer about every two to four weeks.

It is wonderful to be able to grow your own tomatoes. You can enjoy fresh organic tomatoes that taste so much better than what you purchase at the store. With the ability to grow tomato plants in a container, apartment dwellers and those who are limited on space can enjoy the same benefits as those with access to a full outdoor garden.

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