Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Containers
What I love about gardening is growing foods from my backyard, this is a great way to provide both for myself and my family.
But an issue that many homeowners face is having the space to install a garden where they can grow fresh garden vegetables, fruits, and herbs that has so many benefits besides their great taste.
The good news is all is not lost because no matter how limited your space there is still room to have a garden you can be proud of. The solution to planting in small garden spaces is using containers to create a container garden.
Many persons over the years and yes even today have gone on to have much success with this type of garden. So what we will be looking at is how to take that small or limited space to grow tomatoes.
Now you may be saying but how can I grow tomatoes from a container because tomatoes grow on a vine that needs lots of room to run? While this may be true the good news is you can work around this to grow mouthwatering delicious tomatoes from containers.
Tomatoes are fruits and not vegetables as some may think
Believe it or not, tomatoes are fruits and belong to the nightshade family. The nightshade family also includes eggplants, chili peppers, goji berries, bell peppers, etc…
The nightshade family is large and diverse. But what I found so interesting is that the unripe fruits can be poisonous so a word of caution here wait until fruits are fully ripe before eating.
How to grow tomatoes in containers
- A container garden makes a great choice for people living in
- Persons with a balcony.
- Living in a city where there is no back or front yard space
- Living in a townhouse
These are just a few examples. It is all about taking limited space and making good use of it.
Following these steps will help solve those issues so here we go.
1. The use of large containers-Using large containers is so important because what you want is to ensure that your tomato plant has sufficient room and soil to thrive. Five-gallon c0ntainers and larger ones will work.
2. Soil-soil does matter. Many garden failures can be traced back to using poor soil. Not any soil but the right soil will do. For me, I prefer to use an organic soil mix or compost. These soils are really beneficial to plant life and easy to work with.
With this type of soil, your plants will retain the right amount of water but excess water will drain through, which will allow for proper air circulation that is good for soil microbes also absorbing and holding fertilizer for plant use.
3. Another key factor in growing a successful container garden is to ensure that there are drain holes in the container because even though plants love a cool drink of water that excess water has to find a way to run off or move away from your plants because if this excess water has no way to escape what is going to happen is the soil will become saturated causing fungus to develop.
When this happens your plant roots will be affected by this fungus which will cause root rot to set in if the proper measures are not taken your plant will die.
There is nothing so disappointing than to have a plant that was growing so healthy and then for something like this to happen but no need to worry because following these steps will ensure that you have garden success.
4. A sunny location is so important in the life of a plant. Some plant requires shade and then there are others that love the partial shade and still there are those that thrive best in bright sunny locations.
Containers for your tomato plant should be in a sunny location to give your plants the best chance for survival and to perform at their best. The good news about having a container garden is you can always move them around to meet their lighting requirements.
If containers get too heavy to lift then seek additional help. The last thing you want to do is pull a muscle. So get help when needed.
5. There are many tomato varieties to choose from. But choose those that can easily be grown in containers. For more information on this, your nurseryman or garden rep. is a good source of information.
6. When planting your tomatoes, plant them deeply because doing so will encourage your tomatoes to develop a strong root system, also make sure to bury a few inches of the stems.
7. Give your tomatoes a good drink of water. Soil should be somewhat moist and not waterlogged because this would make a perfect condition for soil fungus to develop.
8. Use a trellis or reinforcing wire to support your tomatoes.
Tomatoes varieties that are best grown in containers
1. Early girl bush tomatoes.
2. Sun gold.
4. Cherry tomatoes.
5. Better bush hybrid.
6. Patio F1 hybrid.
7. Clear pink early.
9. Gardner’s delight.
How to grow tomatoes in containers
Tomato insects pest
One of the challenges that gardeners face is an uninvited guess. There is nothing like watching your tomatoes grow so healthy and then out of nowhere, your healthy plant is attacked by insect pests seeking to make a meal out of your hard work.
The good news is you can counterattack to reap a good harvest by eliminating these insect pests. Here are some insects to watch out for.
- Flea beetle
- Tomato fruitworm
- Colorado beetles
- Blister beetles
Control these insects pest by using BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) for worms, For beetles-Diatomaceous earth, yellow sticky tape, incorporating beneficial nematodes in the soil which will feed on the larvae and pupae.
For aphid control, the use of botanical insecticides, and insecticidal soaps have proven to be effective. For the control of whiteflies botanical insecticides, horticultural oils, insecticidal soap, or yellow sticky tape.
Control stink bugs by using sevin, encourage or purchase beneficial insects from your garden center and release them on your plant, treating plants with kaolin clay or applying neem sprays offers good results.
Controlling disease of tomatoes
Apart from insect pests, your tomatoes may face issues with these diseases.
- Blossom end rot
- Southern blight
- Late blight
- Early blight
- Septoria leaf spot
- Grey leaf spot
- Verticillium wilt
- Bacterial speck
- Leaf mold
These are just a few of the many diseases of the tomato plant.
How to grow tomatoes in containers
1. Blossom end rot is a water-soaked spot at the end of the tomato plant. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. To avoid blossom end rot soil ph should be maintained at 6.5 also use fertilizers that are high in phosphorous and low in nitrogen and applying tomato rot stop can offer some help.
2. Southern blight is caused by a fungus during warm rainfall and hot dry weather. Southern blight shows up as yellow leaves and wilting of the plant. White fungus is easily spotted at the soil line.
Proper spacing of plants for good air circulation is key, sterilizing garden tools along with containers that are being reused and planting resistant varieties can offer help against this disease.
3. Late blight occurs late in the growing season by a fungus. Late blight appears as water-soaked- gray spots on the lower older leaves. As the disease progress, dark spots appear, and on inspecting the underside of the leaves you will discover a white fungus.
Some treatments involve watering early in the morning to allow the leaves of the plant to dry, planting resistance cultivars, spraying with a liquid copper fungicide, and giving the proper spacing of plants for air circulation.
4. Early blight is a fungal disease that appears as irregular dark spots on the older leaves. As this disease progress, the spots enlargest, and the area turns yellow. The entire leaf may die, and fruits crack at the stem.
Control measures include the use of fungicides such as chlorothalonil, maneb, and copper, watering plants in the morning so they can dry out because water too late in the evening will encourage this disease because of moisture, keeping leaves dry, the use of mancozeb, and so on will eliminate this disease.
5. Septoria leaf spot appears as water-soaked round and yellow spots on the lower leaves also the tips of leaves turn brown to black. As the disease progress, the leaves will turn yellow then brown, and fall from the plant.
Treatment includes using copper fungicides, removing and destroying infected leaves, the use of chlorothalonil is good and when watering, water in the morning so leaves can dry out also proper spacing of plants for air circulation will help.
6. Grey leaf spot appears on the older leaves as brown to black specks. The newer leaves are also affected, the spots then take on a grey appearance surrounded by a yellow halo.
The leaves turn yellow then brown and fall from plants. The fruit may also be affected by not maturing fully. To control this disease the use of a copper spray, chlorothalonil, and proper air circulation by spacing plants are some of the measures that can be taken.
7. Anthracnose appears on ripen fruits as circular spots that are small and sunken, also the center of the older spot becomes black. To control this disease, use fungicides, avoid overwatering your plant, and as soon as fruits ripen harvest them.
8. Verticillium wilt causes the leaves to curl up when it gets really hot and as it gets cooler the leaves tend to reopen. As this disease progress, yellow patches appear on the leaves. The leaves then turn brown and soon after the entire branch is lost.
Control this disease by removing the entire plant and properly disposing of it. Proper spacing of plants for good air circulation is also helpful in preventing this disease. Sterilize garden tools to avoid the spread of this disease.
9. Bacterial speck appears as small spots on the leaves, These spots have a yellow ring and a brown center. In severe cases, the spots will spread to the tomato fruit.
This disease is hard to control once it is in the severe stages, therefore, the earlier this disease can be spotted and treated is a plus. Treating it in the early stages with copper fungicides sprays may offer some help. To avoid this disease it is good to purchase quality seeds. When spraying with copper fungicides spray at seven days intervals.
10. Leaf mold first shows up in the older leaves as yellow to green spots, and moles that are brown to green appear on the lower leaf.
Fruits that are infected have the appearance of a smooth black irregular area on the stem end of the fruit. The infected area then becomes dry and sunken.
Control measures include the use of fungicides such as copper and mancozeb. Starting with disease-free seeds, avoid wetting the leaves, and do not overwater.
How to grow tomatoes in containers
Time to harvest
When tomatoes are firm and turn red or give that rich color depending on the variety your tomatoes are ready to harvest.
The final word
There you have it your very own homegrown tomatoes from your containers, it is that simple. So don’t let that limited space stop you from growing tomatoes. These are healthy fruits that have so many benefits.
I love cooking with tomatoes or using them in my salad recipes. So utilize that small space and get a container garden going trust me you will be glad that you did. Container gardens, making good use of limited space.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.