I am growing tomatoes in planters. The containers are 2 1/2 to 3 gallons. I just transplanted the plants. They are about 8-10 inches tall. Are these containers big enough to grow healthy tomatoes? Or should I transplant them into something bigger, like five gallon buckets?
By Rob from Santa Cruz, CA
I planted tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets once and they got only so high then died. It's my understanding that tomato roots go as deep as the plant is tall so I just figured there wasn't enough room in the bucket for all the roots. I'm sure others know more but that was my experience. (03/23/2009)
I am in North Florida and I have been very successful growing tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets for years. We have a small yard and I don't have room for a traditional garden. From what I have read on various gardening sites, you need to use 5 gallon or larger containers. It is my experience that tomatoes have shallow roots. My plants always get over 5 feet high (includes the bucket). Last year I only set out 2 plants and we still had plenty of tomatoes through the whole season. This year I've added cucumbers and squash. Good luck!
Tracey in Jacksonville FL (03/23/2009)
I also vote for the five gallon buckets. They are adequate for one tomato plant each. As with any containers, they heat up and dry out more quickly than plants in the ground. So be sure to watch how often you have to water them. You might add some of the crystals that hold water to the soil mix. Also, because they're in containers, be sure to use a good quality soil mixture (not soil from the yard alone). My in-laws are moving to an apt. for the first time in fifty years this spring, so I am expecting to get them a five-gallon container and a tomato plant! (03/23/2009)
Five gallon is better. The best place I get mine is at, the larger Food market, where they sale fresh decorated cakes. They will give you one or sale at low cost. I make a gallon of plant food ahead. put 3 small holes on the lid, fill half with liquid food mix, the other half filled with water. Take bottom leaves off. replant 1/2 way up to end.
Put two plants together in the center. They will cross- pollinate. Place one little bottle of food on each side. Shove them in the dirt. Refill once every 2and 1/2 weeks. Another tip I freeze plastic soda pop bottles 2/3's the way up and leave lid off, shove in the dirt for a cont. drink of water. Do not put close to plant. I hope this helps (03/24/2009)
Auto Zone sells the 5 gallon buckets for I think $5 or $7 each with lids, as advertisement for their business. You will see them all stacked up against the front window inside. (03/24/2009)
Five gallon buckets with drainage holes, and completely change the soil from year to year (you can recycle that soil by re potting your flowers). If you're growing "Big Boy" type tomatoes you maybe should use a bit larger bucket, but the five gallons work well for my cherries and Romas. I receive a great harvest :-) (03/26/2009)
Try home depot for 5 gallon buckets. My local HD sells for $2.98 ea. They are bright orange and have a HD ad on them though. (03/27/2009)
I've used a 20" container for the past 3 years. I had baby toms the first year and they did great. Last year I grew romas and didn't get much of a crop. This year I'm trying regular size toms. I'm sure the 5 gallon buckets are probably better, but I used what I had. I'm in San Jose, CA. (03/27/2009)
I used small pots last year [not sure of the size] and grew cherry tomatoes but they were spindly and not much fruit. This year I'm buying 50 gallon black plastic garbage cans for each tomato! Growing many varieties too. Lots of dirt, lots of room. Hopefully an abundant crop! (03/28/2009)
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