Growing Tomatoes in Containers

Growing Tomatoes in Containers –
Today I created a mini garden on our deck as an alternative to our garden that’s too far from my house and water.

Growing vegetables in containers is a manageable option for those longing for fresh vege’s but with limited in space, or for those looking for a less strenuous method of gardening. All that’s required is a sunny spot (minimum of six hours sunlight) and enough room for a few large pots.

Here’s how I did it:

tomatoes growing

What you need are:

  • Containers one square foot in size or larger (if you don’t have large pots, think outside the box & recycle a plastic 5 gal. bucket from a local restaurant – just be sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage)
  • A used dryer sheet or piece of screen
  • Slow release fertilizer (optional)

In addition, you’ll need

  • Potting soil
    how to grow patio tomatoes
  • Compost (either homemade or purchased bags)
    compost soil
  • Tomato plants of your choice (I’ve read that the actual patio tomato varieties do not have a good texture or flavor, so I opted for a standard variety which I’ll keep pruned to a manageable size)
    patio tomato
     Begin by selecting the largest container you can spare. One square foot (equal to a five gallon bucket) is the smallest size recommended for a standard size plant, but larger is even better. Once your container is selected, place it at least two feet apart from its neighboring containers, keeping in mind just how large that standard variety tomato can grow.
    Next, trim your used dryer sheet and cover the drainage hole.  Recycling dryer sheets in this way prevents soil from escaping while allowing for proper drainage.


preventing soil leakage in pots


Now it’s time to prep your potting soil. Using a good potting soil alone is adequate for growing your vegetables, but is not ideal for production. An ideal growing medium will give your plants the best chance of survival and assure an abundant harvest. I’ve learned after many years (and a propensity for laziness) that this step is well worth the extra effort.
I’ve found that the best soil for growing patio tomatoes, or any container vegetable, is a blend of 3/4 potting soil to 1/4 compost, with a handful of slow release fertilizer added for a little added nourishment. This mixture provides good organic matter, proper nutrients, good drainage, and a loose soil of which the roots will greatly appreciate.
best potting soil
Here’s another trick for a strong and healthy tomato plant:

tips for growing tomatoes

Pinch your plant. Pinch off the bottom leaves, leaving only the top cluster. Then plant the stem up to the tip of the leaf cluster. Tomato stems will grow roots, and this is a good thing for healthy strong plants! The more stem you can plant into the soil, the better.

Next, add soil up the top cluster of leaves.

growing tomatoes in a pot

I know it looks a little silly planted so deep in that huge pot. But as I said, in a few weeks this plant will take over. As soon as the plants reach around 1-2′ tall, place a tomato cage inside the pot to keep the plant standing upright as it grows.

As for maintenance, water well and water consistently as the soil dries out, feeding with a diluted solution of fertilizer each time you water. Also, to keep disease at bay, remove any leaves that are touching the soil.

Last, do you know if your container tomato is a determinate or an indeterminate? If you aren’t sure, check the link I’ve provided. If it’s an indeterminate, you will want to keep your plant from becoming too unruly. To do so, prune off any suckers that develop within the joint between the main stem & an existing branch. This will help keep your plant manageable and will focus the energy on fruit rather than new growth. This tip is only for indeterminate plants. Determinate plants will only produce a certain number of fruit, so you do not want to limit its initial growth.

Don’t just limit yourself to tomatoes, however. Just about any vegetable can be container grown, so experiment with your favorites! And now that the hard work is done, sit back, pour yourself a glass of sweet ice tea {with lemon} and watch those vege’s thrive!

Okay, now that I’ve planted my patio tomatoes do you want to know a secret? I greatly dislike raw tomatoes. Yes, I was born & raised in the South, and I do not like tomatoes (a sin, I know). I try to like them & have tried them on many occasions, but I just can’t get past the gelatinous pulp and those unpleasant seeds. However, I finally learned a few years ago that if I remove those two offenders from the fruit and use only the “meat” of the tomato, they become quite delectable. I learned this while making one of my favorite treats, pico de gallo. Yes, with a fresh batch of tortilla chips, it’s pure heaven! And that, my friends, is why I grow tomatoes. Looove me some pico…

How to successfully grow tomatoes in containers | {Home-ology} modern vintage