Four Top Tips to Grow Tomatoes in Containers and Pots

The fruit of the tomato plant (Solanum lycopersicum, formerly Lycopersicon esculentum) is the most popular crop in U.S. home gardens, as stated by the University of Missouri Extension site. Putting tomato crops in containers eliminates the need for an extensive inground garden to grow tomatoes. A massive tomato cultivar takes approximately 3 to 5 feet of space, based on its container’s dimensions. The care that container-grown tomato crops require differs somewhat from that of inground tomatoes, but they are able to benefit you with bountiful yields. Tomato plants are hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Choose the Proper Containers

One key to successful container gardening is to utilize large enough containers. Rumors have big root systems and need a sufficient amount of dirt for them. A standard-size tomato plant needs a 4- to 5-gallon pot and does best in a container that’s at least 20 to 22 inches in diameter. Dwarf plants need 1- to 2-gallon pots or hanging baskets. If your area has hot summers, then utilize non-porous containers like plastic or glazed ceramic to cut down on the pots’ water loss. Wood containers like one-half barrels lined with plastic to slow wood deterioration are another choice. Clay pots are porous, allowing water to evaporate from the soil through the pots; tomato crops in them need more frequent watering than those in containers that are crocheted. Each container needs at least four bottom drainage holes; drill extra holes if needed.

Choose an Appropriate Variety

Some tomato cultivars grow much better in containers than other kinds. Small varieties to attempt are cherry tomatoes like “Tiny Tim,” “Tumbling Tom” and “Sweet 100 Patio.” Compact varieties developed for container gardening comprise “Pixie,” “Patio Prize” and “Patio Princess.” Dwarf varieties comprise “Florida Basket” and “Micro Tom.” Among the large cultivars that usually grow well in containers are “Celebrity,” “Early Girl,” “Jetstar” and “Sweet Tangerine.” Experiment with a number of your favorite varieties to see which ones grow best for you personally.

Utilize Clean Growing Materials

Container-grown tomatoes are more likely than inground tomatoes to encounter anxiety and to become vulnerable to diseases. Give your plants a good start using clean containers and potting mixes. Before planting, scrub all portions of the pots with water and soap, and rinse them well with water. The upcoming tasks are to disinfect them with a solution that’s 1 part household bleach and nine parts water, and to rinse them thoroughly with water. Garden soil shouldn’t be utilized because it comprises fungal and bacterial pathogens and often doesn’t drain well enough. Instead, use a bought, well-draining, soilless potting mix which contains vermiculite or perlite. Cut a layer of mesh window screen to fit the interior bottom of every pot, and set the screen in place before inserting the soilless potting mix so that the mixture doesn’t leak from the pot’s drainage holes.

Supply Enough Water

Tomato plants grown in containers are far more exposed than inground tomatoes to environmental conditions because they are not surrounded by just as much insulating material growing medium. Your container tomato crops’ potting mix may have to be watered every day and sometimes twice per day, particularly if the containers are at full sunlight or so are clay pots. Windy conditions also imply more frequent watering. Water each container potting mixture until you see water coming from the container’s bottom drainage holes. Curiously, tomatoes’ potting mix shouldn’t be constantly wet, which encourages root rot. If moist potting mixture clings to your finger or a wooden pen once you inserted it into the first two inches of a tomato plant’s potting mix and eliminated it, then the potting mix doesn’t need watering.

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