Growing tomatoes in a container
Tomatoes are a common favorite garden vegetable/fruit. But we often stop and wonder how in the world can you grow full sized tomato plants in a pot? Yes you need a fairly good-sized pot but his can be obtained very easily. Choosing approximately a 25-30 gallon container made of resin, plastic garbage container, durable plastic or wood should work well. Light colored containers are your best choice because in certain hotter climates the darker the container the more heat it absorbs the more likely it will burn the roots. Metal containers are not recommended either because the container will get too hot for good root growth, thus producing toxins and killing the plant.
Even if you have a good area for growing tomatoes container planting is a sure way of preventing soil-borne fungal diseases. By using a good soil-less potting mix this provides a virtually sterile environment for your tomatoes. Do not add compost to the pot or rocks to the bottom of the pot this might introduce possible diseases.
Preparing Your Pot:
Proper drainage is important to prevent root rot. By drilling holes into the bottom of the container this allows for proper drainage. For pots this size a hole about ¾ inch in diameter is probably sufficient. By covering the holes with screen will prevent the soil from falling out of the bottom of holes this size. It is not a good idea to set the pot directly on the ground, so by raising the pot above ground level this will keep diseases from possibly entering your pot and destroying your tomato plants.
Set your pot in a sunny area. Tomatoes require approximately 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day for optimum growth and production. When temperatures are high certain areas of the country it’s also beneficial for the plant if it gets some afternoon shade.
Planting, Care and Feeding:
Once your container is in place fill to within 2 inches of the pot with soil-less soil. Mix a controlled release fertilizer into the top 3 inches of the soil to feed your plants entirely through the summer. Feeding with supplements is recommended for longer growing season in different areas.
A good disease resistant tomato is recommended, for instance: Big Beef or Better Boy. The size of this container will allow you to grow most any full-sized tomato to optimum growth. Each container will house 2 plants with leaves approximately 6-8 leaves each. After planting your tomatoes then set up your cage to support them as they grow.
If tomatoes plants are set out early in the season wrap a layer of plastic around the cage and over the top for protection but leave air holes for ventilation. When watering tomatoes plant top should be dry 3-4 inches below top before watering. And stop watering when you see water drainage coming out of the bottom of the pot. When your tomatoes start fruiting water daily, especially on hot days. When the branches go beyond the cage tuck them inside the cage. Pruning is beneficial in cooler climates for maximum fruit production but in warmer climates it is not necessary to prune because the leaves shade the fruit.
When fall comes be sure and harvest all your tomatoes before the first frost. You can eat them as fried green tomatoes or set them in a box to ripen.
Growing tomatoes in pots...