Growing tomatoes is always a marathon in my community where our members compete to grow large number of tomatoes in their kitchen garden. To be honest, I have won the competition only once with Cherry Tomatoes variety. Love for growing tomatoes is simple. I am growing number of veggies and tomatoes are just like darling in urban gardening where they need proper attention. So today’s article is going to guide the beginners with the art of how to grow tomatoes in container of kitchen garden.
Growing tomatoes in container is fun. Container gardening is sophisticated where you can customize number of plants you want to grow so that proper attention can be paid. In my opinion, a kitchen garden without tomato plant in there is incomplete. So, whether you have large allotment, or small space like square foot gardening, you should have at least 2-3 plants (depending on the variety) of tomatoes grown.
In container gardening niche, growing tomatoes has global acceptance. Believe me, tomatoes are the easiest of all to grow. Without any further delay, let me tell you few simple tips to grow tomatoes in container of your kitchen garden.
1. Selecting the Right Container
First step in how to grow tomatoes in a container is the selection of an appropriate size of container. Keep in mind that; bigger the container, large will be the root system resultantly, plant will go bigger and bear more fruit. Tomatoes can grow in small containers too in your kitchen garden, but the fruit will be less. The plant I am growing in my home is in a 19’ diameter plastic container.
Plastic containers are best to grow tomatoes in container. Why? The answer is simple, clay or other kind of container is already heavy and after getting soil in it, they get much heavier. In that case, it becomes difficult to move them around. Similarly, in hot and humid climate, clay containers get dry early as compare to plastic container. So my advice is to choose a plastic container for growing tomatoes.
Next the preparation of your container for growing tomatoes is important. Last year, I did a mistake by putting some pebbles at the bottom of container for good drainage. But at the end of the season, when I tried to use that container soil in my kitchen garden’s raised beds, the soil got mixed with pebbles and I spent a lot time in separating those pebbles from my raised beds. To avoid this, this year, I used plastic window screening at the bottom. It allows good drainage while soil stays put. Urban gardening is all doing new experiments. And yes I do new experiments a lot and recommend my readers to do the same.
What’s the Best Tomato Variety to Grow?
Next challenge in how to grow tomatoes in container is the selection of variety. Not all the varieties are accustomed to perform same in containers as they do in kitchen garden soil. So if you are planning to grow tomatoes in container, select the best variety of tomatoes that perform well in containers. My recommendation is to select the Hybrid Indeterminate verities for container gardening. The reason is early maturing, disease tolerance and 100’s of fruits. The varieties like Sun Sugar, Carmello, Sweet Baby Girl Tomato, Sweet 100 Tomato and Sun Gold give optimum results in container.
For all these varieties, your container should be 12-16” deep. In addition to this, if you are not familiar with these varieties, visit your nearest nursery, online seed store or websites that sell tomatoes for urban gardening in containers. The nursery guy will surely have expertise. Try to harness from his experience or if you are buying online, they have given good description of each variety and clearly mention if the variety is suitable for container gardening.
Steps in How to Grow Tomatoes in a Container
Choosing Premium Potting Soil
It is quite easy to get good potting soil. Premium quality potting soil is available with nurseries and online stores that is fit to grow tomatoes in container of your kitchen garden. My recommendation is to never use garden soil. It is infested with weeds, fungi and other unwanted material that will affect the health of tomato plant in container. There are various standards of potting soil available for container gardening viz., standard, premium and commercial mixes. Optimum potting mixes have compost, peat moss, perlite, sand and vermiculite in it. Another quality of good mix is that it does not get soggy but holds moisture. Lastly, you can add egg shells to your potting soil to enhance its performance.
Plants the Tomato Deeply
While panting the tomato plant in container of your kitchen garden, make sure you plant it deeply. The reason is simple. Deeper the plant, the better will be the root system and more fruit will be achieved on each branch. In urban gardening of tomatoes, a simple rule is to plant the tomato at least 6-8 inch deep, so that it has good access to moisture and nutrients.
Supporting and Protection
Support is needed to grow tomato in container. It is good to insert a support immediately at the time of planting tomato in container of your kitchen garden. This is to avoid any root damage at later stage of giving support. Also, providing the support while planting the tomato in container will help the plant to get accustomed with the support and will grow optimally.
Growing tomatoes in container is sometime risky in case if you have frequent visitors like squirrels, birds, critters and chipmunks in your kitchen garden. They can feast on your tomatoes while you are sleeping or away from home. To avoid this, use net around the mouth diameter of your container containing tomato plant. My recommendation is to place this protection at the time of planting. This will additionally help the plant in terms of early support.
Supply Consistent Amount of Water
Next in how to grow tomatoes in a container is the supply of consistent amount of water. Tomatoes are water lovers. Water, water and water your tomatoes in kitchen garden. Keeping the soil moist is the secret of success to grow tomatoes in container. To judge when your tomato in container needs water, simply do a finger test. If the top inch of soil in container is dry, it is time to supply water. In case of knee high tomato plant in container, daily water supply is needed especially during summers. In container gardening, timely watering is critical.
Refueling the Soil with Compost
As you see that your tomato plant is growing at a good pace in container, it means it has a good supply of nutrients in the soil. However, from the other side, it is a sign that the soil is exhausting in terms of nutrients. Never wait to refuel your potting soil till you see signs of deficiency in your growing or fruiting tomato plant. Use the compost of your kitchen garden regularly to refuel the nutrients in soil. Growing tomatoes need constant supply of these.
Let’s the Sunlight Blush Your Tomatoes
Last vital thing to keep in mind in how to grow tomatoes is the optimum level of sunlight exposure to your tomato plants. Tomatoes love sunlight. Sunlight catalyzes the growth of tomatoes in urban gardening. Your tomato plant needs at least 6 hours of sunlight for proper functioning. In case of container gardening, you can control the time of exposure of your tomato plant to sunlight by adjusting its position. My tomato plant in kitchen garden has an access of 7-8 hours sunlight. So, while planning to grow tomatoes in container, sunlight factor should be in mind.
Urban gardening is fun. It is best to grow those vegetables in your kitchen garden that are easy to handle. Plus this will add taste and health to your meals.
Happy growing and eating 🙂
Cite this Article in APA Style as;
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, September 08). How to Grow Tomatoes in Container of Your Kitchen Garden? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/09/08/how-to-grow-tomatoes-in-container-of-your-kitchen-garden[/box]