What is the best way to grow tomatoes to get so many of them in so little space? You want to know for sure. In these 23 tips, you’ll find out how to do this.
Best Way to Grow Tomatoes in Small Space
1. Don’t start the plants too early before the season, unless you live in a warm climate otherwise, your tomato plants will be exposed to unexpected late frost and cold temperatures. The best planting time is when the temperature starts to stay above 50 F (10 C).
2. 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 tomato seedling with potting soil. For example, if your plant is 10 inches high leave only 3 inches of its height from the top.
3. 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.
4. Growing indeterminate tomatoes in a small space is a mistake, they easily grow above 6 feet tall normally and spread a lot, thus require sturdy support by caging or staking. On the other hand, determinate type of tomatoes requires slight support.
5. Space your tomato plants 18 inches apart (determinate one). Ideally, you should leave the space of 24 inches if possible. Tomato plants grown too close are prone to fungal diseases and are less productive.
6. On a small balcony, you can even grow smaller varieties more closely. Consider cherry tomatoes. But remember, tomatoes growing too tightly require more attention: More fertilizer, water, and pruning.
7. Pruning is not necessary unless plants are grown too closely. 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.
8. Use large pots to grow tomatoes. You can use a 5-gallon pot that is 12 inches wide and deep for a single plant of determinate variety, for an indeterminate type choose minimum 15-gallon size container.
9. The container should be deep, at least, 12 inches is necessary.
10. Caging needs more space so instead of it, support tomatoes by stacking. If you are growing tomatoes on a balcony, consider tying them up to the railing.
11. Don’t grow tomatoes upside down. It is a fancy idea but not a practical one. However, you can grow tomatoes (cherry tomatoes) in hanging baskets.
12. Provide the sun, as much sun as possible. The more your tomato plant will soak the sunlight more they will fruit.
13. Use soilless potting mix for the better result. You can buy it or make your own.
14. Soil pH matters. Ideal pH for tomatoes is around 6 – 6.8. Slightly acidic to neutral.
15. Add worm castings or vermicompost to the soil. You can also put worms in the soil.
16. When growing tomatoes in a container, regular watering is essential. Watering must be done in the morning. Almost every day in summer. In tropics, you may need to water twice a day.
Also Read: How to Water Container Plants
17. Avoid overhead watering. Wetting the foliage is a bad practice as wet leaves and stems are more prone to diseases.
18. Use tomato feed to fertilize your plants. Apply less dose than the instruction given on the packet but more often. Consider half of the recommended dose but twice.
19. At the time of planting, place 2-3 crushed chicken egg shells in the bottom. This will provide a constant supply of minerals and calcium to the plant. Deficiency of calcium promotes blossom end rot in tomatoes. It is an important element in the uptake of nutrients. Calcium also saves the plant from heat stress and affects the fruit quality.
Also Read: Ideas to Use Eggshells in the Garden
20. Sprinkle some bonemeal at the time of planting, especially if your soil lacks calcium. Bonemeal will also provide a slow and steady supply of phosphorus to the plant. It is an organic product that consists higher amount of phosphorus and calcium.
21. Use Epsom salt for tomatoes. To know why and how to do this check out our article.
22. Once in a month, fertilize the plant with compost or manure tea.
23. Mulch your tomato plants, it is important. For mulching, use organic matter, crushed egg shell and coffee ground or tea.
Also Read: Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden