Many people want to know if it is possible to grow tomatoes in a container rather than in a garden. There may be many reasons for this, but most often it is a concern of people who live in cities in apartments without access to outside planting soil.
These apartment dwellers, and those who may live in colder climates, don’t want to be left out of the benefits of growing their own tomato plants and enjoying the superior taste of fresh organic tomatoes.
In fact, it iis quite easy to grow tomato plants indoors in containers that produce healthy, delicious tomatoes, but there are several factors you must bear in mind:
Tomato plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, so growth in outdoor gardens must be limited to relatively sunny areas. There may actually be an advantage here when growing tomatoes in containers. You can move the pots containing the tomato plants from window to window to follow the sunlight, or they can be moved to appropriate sunny locations in patios and window sills.
Size of the Tomato Plants
Stick with determinate tomatoes since these varieties typically will grow to no more than 1 to 2 feet. Smaller tomato plants will generally do better in containers for obvious reasons – you don’t want the roots to be stunted by the size of the pot. One little known fact about growing these kinds of tomato plants is that the tomatoes will all tend to ripen at once. Since they are smaller in size, you will generally not be stuck with more tomatoes than you can easily consume at one time.
Tomato plants require about one inch of water per week to keep the soil adequately moist. Since your tomato plants are growing in pots, you should consider growing a variety of tomatoes that have a lower water demand. You should also allow adequate drainage to prevent root rot. Make sure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom and add a layer of rocks at the bottom.
Soil and Fertilizer
Speaking of keeping the soil moist, tomato plants grown in a container do better in a soil-less mixture. Use sphagnum peat, perlite and vermiculite. Since tomato plants tend to be heavy feeders, you should add a slow acting fertizer roughly every 2 to 4 weeks. Add a scoop of organic fertilizer to the soil mixture and place some in the center of the container as well.
A definite advantage to growing tomatoes in containers as opposed to outdoor gardens is that potted plants don’t have weeds. Weeding is a major concern for outdoor tomato plants.
A standard terra cotta pot is fine. Make sure the pot is large enought for the roots of your tomato plant to grow properly.
Growing your own tomatoes is a wonderful activity, and there is no reason that city dwellers should be shut out of the opportunity to grow organic tomatoes that taste much better than can be bought in stores. Growing container tomatoes is the perfect solution for people in this situation.