Tomatoes are a great, nutritious, and rewarding plant that you can enjoy for many months to come – but how do you grow them? And, more importantly, how to grow tomatoes in pots?
If you have a small garden or no garden at all, you can still cultivate these wonderful fruits with just a little bit of insight – and very little hard work. This guide or this tomato growing guide provides some insights as to the process that’s required to enjoy your organically grown tomatoes.
Below are also some tips that you may find useful.
Tips for growing tomatoes in pots
- Choose the right types of pot for tomatoes
With growing any type of plant in a pot, you have to remember to make sure there is adequate drainage. If there aren’t drainage holes then your plants will rot, so make sure that your pots have holes to let the water out.
If you are growing a small tomato plant then you can get away with a smaller pot, but if your beast is a larger variety then you will, of course, need a bigger pot.
Remember that smaller pots will need watering more frequently as they are not able to retain as much water.
- Select the types of tomato for growing in pots
Just about any type of tomato can be grown in a pot. Whether they are big, beefsteak tomato or small cherry tomatoes, they will all do just fine in a potted environment.
You can grow any type or species of tomato in a pot; just remember that the bigger ones will need a bigger pot environment and the smaller ones will be ok in a smaller pot. You can even get trailing tomatoes that suit a hanging basket environment!
- Pick the best soil for tomatoes in pots
Soil that you collect from other planting beds is not the best choice for tomatoes, as it is often too compact and doesn’t give the tomatoes’ roots enough space to grow.
Buy a quality potting mix, which is lighter and better at draining, for your precious pots. You can find this type of soil at any good gardening center, or you can buy soil that is specifically designed for growing tomatoes.
- Follow these simple steps to grow seedlings
Take a packet of your chosen tomato seeds and sprinkle a few over the prepared soil. They may not all germinate, so err on the side of generosity.
Water the soil gently so you don’t disturb the seeds too much – use a watering can with a rose.
Cover the seeds lightly with a dusting of soil – no more than an inch deep.
When the first green shoots appear, continue to water when the soil looks dry.
Transplant the seedlings to a new pot when they grow larger, so the roots have more room to grow.
As the plants grow bigger, you may wish to prop them up or tie the branches to a higher level so they can stretch out and grow.
- Repot tomatoes to larger posts once ready
You will almost certainly have to transfer your tomatoes to larger pots unless you sow them in the pot that you intend to keep them in. Tomatoes can handle a relatively small pot and still produce well, but like all plants, they need space for their roots to grow.
- Let your toms dry out for a day or two. This will make it easier to remove them from their pots.
- Prepare the larger pot by filling it about two thirds of the way up with quality compost, and make a well in the middle.
- With one hand around the base of your tomato plant, carefully turn it upside down. Pull on the pot to remove it – you can squeeze the edges a little if it is slow to come out.
- Place the root ball directly into the larger pot, then fill it with more compost.
- Water the repotted plant well, and keep an eye on it for a few days to make sure it settles in.
- Pick the best fertilizer to feed tomatoes in pots
Tomatoes are a relatively easy plant to grow – they tend to just grow with very little input from you! However, you can make them grow better, and bigger, by adding a few choice nutrients to their soil.
Tomatoes like Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, which should be fed to them regularly at the height of the growing season (around once a fortnight is fine).
You can also buy fertilizer that is specific to feeding tomatoes, which you can find at any garden center.
If you prefer a DIY approach, an example of organic fertilizer is crushed eggshells that can be mixed into the soil.
Dos and don’ts of growing tomatoes in pots
- Add support once your tomatoes grow. They will need canes to lean up against, and some may benefit from having their tops tied to a high rafter, or being put into a sturdy cage.
- Water them regularly. Tomatoes are pretty thirsty, and will like to live in soil that is moist.
- Don’t over water. Conversely, too much water can lead to the roots rotting.
- Keep them in a sunny place. Tomatoes need at least six hours of sunlight a day to thrive and produce well.
- Don’t place them too close together. Keeping your tomatoes close enough that their leaves can touch will not only inhibit growth, but it can spread diseases from one plant to another.
Growing tomatoes in pots is easy, fun, and very rewarding. It can help to reduce the potential for diseases such as blight, and may also prevent pest infestations – plus it’s a great option for those with limited or no garden space.