A garden is not necessary in order to grow tasty tomatoes this
summer. All you need are a few large containers and some time devoted to
While an old pot and a pair of nylons may not appear to be keys to growing
great tomatoes, appearances can be deceiving. Any container that is at
least twelve inches deep and five gallons in volume is a good vessel in
which to plant tomatoes. Be sure the container has holes in the bottom for
proper drainage. The nylons (or a plastic bag with a few holes) come in
handy for lining the pot, keeping soil in its place and retaining the
moisture that tomato plants love. This method of growing tomatoes is
obviously useful for people without a yard or garden plot, but it is also a
great way to decorate a patio for the summer.
Regular potting soil works well for tomatoes in small pots and planters.
When using a large container, use a soil-less growing mix since it retains
the moisture tomatoes love. You can use garden soil as long as you mix in
some peat moss, vermiculite or Perlite to improve drainage. Tomatoes need
six to eight hours of light, so be sure to put your containers in sunny
locations, and if need be, move them as the sun changes position.
The dwarf variety of tomato plant is particularly well suited for container
growing. Cherry tomatoes, such as the Tiny Tim or Pixie II varieties are
good choices. Once a week mix a bit of soluble, balanced fertilizer in with
your water. The tomato plants will thrive with regular small doses of
fertilizer, as opposed to infrequent, larger doses. While tomatoes are
generally attached to stakes, these tomatoes can simply hang over the side
of the pot, if you prefer. When transplanting the tomato plants, place the
plant in the pot so that the bottom set of leaves is just above the dirt. Be
sure to water the plants often since the roots cannot reach for more water
as they can in a garden plot. This means that you will probably be watering
them once a day during the hottest part of the summer.
While container tomatoes may require a little extra care than their
garden-variety cousins, that extra effort is rewarded tenfold when it comes
time to make a salad with fresh summer tomatoes.
Sources include: National Gardening Association; The Virtual Gardener,