Learn these 13 basic Tomato Growing Tips for Containers to grow the best red and juicy, plump tomatoes in pots!
1. Choose an Ideal Location
You can place your tomato pots in virtually any location. However, choose a place where the plants will receive a minimum six hours of sunlight. Also, don’t place your pots closely to each other and provide air circulation. This helps in reducing the spread of fungal diseases.
2. Consider the Type of Pots
Choose a pot that will first and foremost fit your tomato plants. For those who wish to go with dwarf, bush types and vinelike cherry tomatoes, choose a 3-gallon pot. For larger varieties, choose big pots.
3. Choose Quality Potting Mix over Garden Soil
To produce the best tomatoes in pots, avoid growing them in garden soil and select the quality potting mix. This will give the plants a well-drained, light and fluffy environment to thrive. Garden soil is not just heavy but can be loaded with unwanted pests and bacterias that can cause diseases.
4. Plant Tomato Varieties that Perform Best in Pots
While you can grow all the varieties in containers, you should research for the varieties that perform best when grown in pots. Here’s a list of Best Tomato Varieties for Containers that you can try!
5. Grow Determinate Tomatoes
Grow determinate varieties of tomatoes if you’re short of space or growing tomatoes in containers. Determinate tomatoes don’t grow too tall or wide (generally, 3-4 feet). Both hybrid and heirloom cultivars are available in it.
6. Use the Right Technique to Plant
Unlike all other plants, tomatoes must be planted deeply. Deep planting encourages healthy and strong root system. At the time of planting, cover bottom 2/3 part of your baby tomato plant with potting soil. For example, if your plant is 10 inches high leave only 3 inches of its height from the top.
7. Enrich Your Plants with Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizer will add more clean nutrients to the potted plants that are free from chemicals. Organic options could include blood meal, soy meal, bone meal and others. This will boost a balance of nutrients including phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. Here’s a very informative post on fertilizing tomatoes, you should read!
8. Water the Plants the Right Way
Water regularly to keep the soil slightly moist but not saturated. Always use your finger to determine the state of the soil before you water. Also, avoid overhead watering as wet foliage is more prone to fungal infection
9. Support the Tomato Plants
This can be done using a tomato cage or staking them. The idea is to remove the weight of the fruit from the limber veins. A net can be used to cover the cage if you want to minimize the interference of unwanted insects and pests.
10. Pruning and Removing Suckers
Pruning is not necessary unless plants are grown too close. Prune tangling branches that are blocking the air flow and penetration of sun. Also, remove suckers (emerging stems) up to 6-8 inches under each plant. This will improve the productivity of the plant.
11. Carefully Inspect Your Plants Weekly
After taking precaution, it is good to inspect your plants weekly for any pests, just in case. This is because you do not want a small problem to get out of hand. Pests such as aphids are notorious and should not be ignored. In addition to inspecting the plants for insects, look out for diseases as well.
12. Harvest your Tomatoes
With all the above tips, you should have a good harvest. The best time to harvest is when it is easy to pluck the tomato fruits from their branches. Give them a good wash before consuming them in your home.
13. Clean Up
It is always important to clean up after a successful tomato growing season. Remove the old soil and clean the pots, if you are going to reuse them. In addition to cleaning the pots thoroughly, sterilize them using a suitable bleach solution. When everything is nice and clean, you can choose to plant tomatoes again or any other plant in these pots.