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Do you ever wonder why store bought tomatoes have SO little taste? This is because many are flash frozen before they are completely ripened, and then packaged and shipped. During the shipping, they defrost and the extra water dilutes the taste. <BLEK!> Other conventionally grown tomatoes are grown in their off-season, which also skews the taste. Having done it myself, I can help you get started on how to grow tomatoes in a pot or container.
Tips For Growing Tomatoes in Pots
Now that you have made the decision to grow your own tomatoes, decide first if you want to start with seeds or seedlings. Both can be found online, in your local nursery, or one of the large home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot. A greater variety is definitely found online.
Additionally, you will probably discover something you did not previously know. There are tons of different tomatoes! Which one do you choose?
- Determinate: These are plants that yield one crop and then stop. These are your Roma tomatoes; so, if you want lots of them for sauces and salads, plan on growing three to five per person in the household.
- Indeterminate: These are the plants that keep producing fruit. Big boys, Heirloom, and many other fit into this category. Five plants total can produce enough tomatoes for canning and preserving.
- Semi-determinate: These are plants that drop off about mid-season. Plan on growing two to three plants per person in the household if you’re planning on canning them for the winter months.
- Dwarf: These are smaller version of the plants above. They can fit in small containers and hanging baskets.
Planting in containers can help deter weeds, parasites, and other things that can ravage your tomato plant before it even has a start at blooming into the fruit you can eat.
Your Pot Needs To Have Drainage
This is one of the most important aspects of a container. Yes, tomatoes need water, but not too much or you wind up getting mold on them. There are containers you can buy that have drainage, but if you have containers you want to use that do not, simply cut four holes at compass points on the bottom of the container and then place a thin layer of river rock on the bottom before adding your soil.
You Need Deep Containers
Five-gallon buckets, deep window boxes, and other deep containers let the roots grow the way they need. If you choke the root growth, you choke the plant, and it will not grow.
Large clay pots will work as well. Just soak the pots for twenty-four hours before using. This will prevent the pot from leaching the water from the soil. When you water the plant, water the pot, too.
My Amazon Picks For Growing Tomatoes
Soil and Spacing
Any potting soil that gives you a head-start on plant food and regulates moisture is a key factor. You can use soil from your yard, but if you live in a region where the soil is not full of nutrients then you’re going to need to mix in organic matter such as garden compost or fertilizer to give the tomatoes a strong start. If you are focused on growing organically, organic soil specifically created for tomatoes is available.
Most tomato plants need 24 inches of space to really grow the way they need to grow. If you space them close together, they will be fighting for nutrients and sun. This will lead to less fruit on your plants.
Watering Feeding, And Sunlight
If you’re starting your plants from seeds, there are many ways to do this:
- You can place the seeds in a damp cloth in the sun. Compost “tea” with water in the cloth will keep the seeds moist and help them sprout.
- You can place the seeds in individual peat pots. When they start to sprout, you can place the seedling, pot and all, into the container of your choice.
- You can sprout the tomato seeds in eggshells with a little soil. The eggshells will give your tomatoes a boost of nutrients.
They will be ready for planting at approximately three or four inches tall. This ensures the roots will take. Water the seedlings when you place them in the soil. Once they start to grow, it’s just a matter of water, food, and vigilance. Before you know it, you will have more tomatoes than you know what to do with. Check out here if you would like to learn how to can tomatoes!
Your tomatoes get thirsty. The soil should be moist but not saturated. The best time to water your tomatoes is in the morning and after the sun has set. Watering when it is still relatively cool will prevent the water from evaporating.
If you don’t have time to water your tomatoes, you can take 20 oz soda bottles, wash them out really well, pour water into them, and place one bottle upside down about three inches from the base of the plant. This way, you only have to refill the bottles to keep the tomatoes watered. Once a week, put a small amount of plant food in the water and feed them, too.
Compost and plant food are your best friends. They offer the best ways to keep your tomatoes fed and happy. Happy plants mean big and tasty fruit. If you compost, consider making compost “tea” to mix with water for keeping them fed on a regular basis.
They Love To Sun Themselves
Tomatoes love the sun, six hours minimum, to thrive and grow to their full potential. This means you will need a spot that gets sun for most of the day.
We hope this intro into how to plant tomatoes in a pot was helpful for you. If you send us your successful tomato harvest pics, we will share them out to our Pinterest friends and give you ALL the credit!