Growing Tomatoes in Pots? Learn these 13 basic Tomato Growing Tips for Containers to grow the best red and juicy, plump tomatoes!
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 of 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 pots that will fit your tomato plants. For those who wish to go with the dwarf, bush types and vinelike cherry tomatoes, choose 3-5 gallon pots. For larger varieties, select large pots.
3. Choose Quality Potting Mix over Garden Soil
When growing tomatoes in pots, avoid growing them in garden soil and provide 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 pathogens that can cause soil-borne diseases. You can also make your own potting mix with these DIY recipes!
4. Plant Tomato Varieties that Perform Best in Pots
While you can grow all the varieties in containers, search for the varieties that perform best 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 aren’t usually too tall or wide (generally, 3-4 feet) like indeterminates. Both hybrid and heirloom cultivars are available in it.
Also Read: Growing Heirloom Tomatoes In Pots
6. Use the Right Technique to Plant
Unlike all other plants, tomatoes must be planted deeply. Deep planting encourages a healthy and strong root system. At the time of planting, cover the bottom 2/3 part of your baby tomato plant with potting soil. For example, if your plant is 10 inches high, leave only 3 or 4 inches of its height from the top.
7. Enrich Your Plants with Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizer will add more clean nutrients that are free from chemicals to the potted plants. Organic options could include blood meal, soy meal, bone meal, and others. This will boost the balance of nutrients including phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. Here’s a very informative post on fertilizing tomatoes, you should read!
Also Read: Growing Tomatoes Indoors
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 shown in the picture above, because the wet foliage is more prone to fungal infection.
Also Read: How to Water Container Plants
9. Support the Tomato Plants
This can be done using a tomato cage or staking them. The idea is to support the main stem and 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.
Also Read: 18 DIY Tomato Cage And Stake Ideas
10. Pruning and Removing Suckers
Pruning is not necessary unless plants are grown too close. Prune tangling branches that are blocking the airflow 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 precautions, it’s good to inspect your plants weekly for any pests. 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 garden 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.