Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow, but not everyone feels like they have the room and space to plant them. For those space challenged gardeners or gardeners with physical limitations, growing tomatoes in a container is the solution. With new, dwarf varieties, better container technology, and some expert guidance, growing tomatoes on a balcony, deck or patio can be easy. Here are some tips on growing tomatoes in containers.
How to grow tomatoes in containers
Choose Varieties Wisely
Not all tomato varieties grow easily in containers. Large, heirloom varieties such as ‘Brandywine’ and hybrids such as ‘Better Boy’ are best grown in the ground or large containers. Dwarf varieties, such as ‘Pixie II’, stay small in containers, but don’t produce lots of fruit for very long. Newer, dwarf-indeterminates are better. Varieties such as ‘Tidy Treats’, ‘Husky Red’ and ‘Tasmanian Chocolate’ grow less than 4 feet tall and produce fruit all summer long.
Get the Right Pots
With tomatoes, the larger the container, the less watering and fertilizing you’ll have to do. To help keep your tomatoes hydrated, choose self-watering containers. These containers have a reservoir in the bottom of the pot that you fill with water. Water slowly seeps into the soil keeping it moist for days.
Sun and Food
Place your tomato container in full sun and feed the plants regularly with diluted plant food. You can also use an organic, time release fertilizer to feed the plants slowly all summer. As the sun changes location during the summer on your deck or patio, move your containers to get the maximum light and heat for the best production.
Even dwarf varieties of tomatoes will benefit from some support to keep plants vertical and producing better. Use tomatoes cages or a stake that’s fastened to the tomato plant with VELCRO® Brand Garden Ties. Tie the tomatoes a number of times, about 8 inches apart, along the stem to help support them during storms.