Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Ideas for growing tomatoes in container gardens from the ThriftyFun community.
By Atascosa, TX
A great fertilizer for tomatoes is fish emulsion because it has a high nitrogen content. The down side of using it is that it stinks so much. I imagine that yellow pear tomatoes would do well in a container; they are incredibly hardy.
The main thing to remember about tomatoes is that they are very temperature sensitive, so they won't do well in cool weather. Even if you plan to put them in a pot, I would leave them outside during the day to harden them off before letting them stay outside for good.
My daughter planted one of the patio tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket last year. She put some corn cobs in the bottom and all soil was from our compost pile. The plant grew to about 8 feet tall, and so many tomatoes they out lasted the growning season. It was a cherry tomato plant, must have gotten thousands from one plant. A lot were still trying when the first frost came! Needless to say, we lost the rest.
By RosaI have planted some in 5 gallon paint bucket and flower pots, they turn out great. Tomatoes and mint were my very best plants.
By Vicky Hunt
I have been planting Tiny Tim cherry tomatoes in my patio planters for the last few years with much success. They are so delicious. I live in a short summer season area. If they grow well here, they will grow well anywhere. I plant them in balcony planters available at any department store.
"Square Foot Gardening" by Bartholemew is a very good resource.
Plant from sibling as early as possible in large flower pot. When the temperature is nice set the plant outside. Bring it in before evening. A week after blossoms appear, sprinkle with a little fertilizer (do not sprinkle close to the stem) and give a lot of water.
The new tomato plants were out today, and I couldn't resist, thinking surely, I had some large planters at my apartment. You guessed it, no planters, but I do have a cat.
Take an empty clear plastic water bottle, cut off the bottom, drill a hole or bang a nail hole thru the plastic cap, and screw the cap back on to the neck of the bottle.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
How do I stake up my tomato plants in this little kiddy pool?
If you don't have access to tomato cages, you can try making a teepee frame out of three yardsticks and twine. This works best for small plants such as determinate tomatoes. The trick is to make sure you have 8 inches depth for the sticks and a second pair of hands to help. Water the soil first, to make it firmer. Put in the sticks at 3 intervals along the edge. Bring them together at the top and have someone hold them. Now tie a tight knot in the twine and tie it tight to the top of one stick (or staple it), then wind the twine around each stick twice as you make 5 circles toward the bottom. Once there, cut off and tie the twine to a stick to secure it.
Gently place the stems along the twine in a fashion to best support the main stem.
I hope I'm not making it sound harder than it is! :-) Good luck.
How deep is your pool?
Did you put several drain holes in the bottom before you filled with soil?
It looks like your tomato plants are already too large for tomato cages, but you could still try.
If your pool is only 12 inches tall it will be difficult to make a cage sturdy enough to hold up a heavy tomato plant.
I'm not sure if you can make any kind of stake sturdy enough to hold large size tomato plants in a shallow kiddie pool as usually only small cherry tomato plants are recommended.
It is usually recommended that stakes/cages be driven into the ground at least 16" but preferably 24".
You can try using 4-5 foot wooden stakes or PVC and try placing the stakes close to the tomato stalk - maybe one on each side of the stalk and use twine to tie the stalk to the stakes at several intervals.
This will be tricky as there is just not enough soil to stabilize the plants and keep them upright.
A teepee might work, but I believe your plants may be too large and your pool too small to make this a successful project at this point. You may have to settle for vine tomatoes this year.
What will wick vertically 16", enough for a tomato grown in a 5 gal. pot in 100 degrees, and last 5+ years?
I am planning on planting in five gallon containers. Before planting my tomato plants in plastic containers should I cut holes in bottom for drainage?
Hardiness Zone: 6b
By elena sipkins from White Plains
Yes, you don't want the plants to sit in water, so you will want holes in the sides at the bottoms of the buckets. They don't need to be big holes; if they seem to clog, you can poke a wire (from a clotheshanger) in to open it back up. I use a power drill, but if you don't have one, you can heat a nail over a flame (you will need to hold it with pliers) and poke it through.
I read that to avoid your soil from escaping from your containers to place a Coffee Filter across the drainage holes. Just something I read so whether or not it works has to be experimental.
I made 'self watering' containers out of 5 gallon buckets. For me this has avoided 'rot'. I add a 'calcium tablet' and a few paper match heads to the hole where the tomatoes will go, cover them with an inch or so of soil and then insert the tomato plant. One plant per bucket. I have the best luck with cherry tomatoes for some reason. I also grow bell peppers, hot peppers, all in SWCs.
Elena, Hello! Yes you will have to drill or poke some holes in a plastic container, but may I offer something else to consider? We live in a number 7 (seven) hardiness zone and our experience with the plastic containers was that they got too hot in late summer, and eventually burned the roots of our plants. (Tomatoes and peppers, mostly.)
Over the years, we have found that five to ten gallon styrofoam containers (picnic coolers or bait containers if you are searching for them at a Wal Mart style store) actually caused less heat damage to the roots of the plants and increased the yield of each plant. We poked holes through the bottom of these containers, too, and added a very shallow layer of river rock or gravel before filling the bin with the appropriate soil/manure mix.
The only drawback with this approach was if an unsuspected virus or bacteria took hold in one of our porous, styrofoam containers we had to trash such, but truth be told, that's only happened a very few times (in single containers) in over ten years of using this method.
Hoping you find something that works well for you and yours, just wanted to alert you to the possible down side of using hard, plastic containers in the garden. Good luck and happy eats with the garden fresh foods!
The foal ice chests are a wonderful idea. You can also mix in styrofoam "peanuts" to make the weight less...
This is my first experience in growing tomato plants in a 5 gallon plastic container. Do I punch holes in the bottom for drainage? I need guidance on this project.
What size container and how much soil will I need?
By Wendy M.
Tomatoes grown in containers need the same amount of sunshine as those cultivated in the ground-at least 6-8 hours per day. They also need even amounts of water, so make sure to check the container's moisture levels daily, especially in hot weather. As for your plant getting spindly, all tomato plants benefit from regular pruning. Snap off the suckers (shoots that appear between the main stem of the plant and the petioles (stems of the leaves). Proper pruning will help channel the plants energy into producing fruit rather than leaves and improve the air circulation around the fruits. Fertilizing with too much nitrogen can also result in spindly plants.
Sounds like you need more nitrogen in the soil. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and expect supplementary fertilizer during the growing season. Be sure to provide lots of water in hot weather. Tomatoes use a lot of moisture.
Containers dry out quickly. Keep well watered and much top of container. Also fertilize often because if you are watering correctly (by watering till water is coming out of the bottom or side drain holes ). The fertilizer gets washed out. Also if you are growing a determinate variety (growth is pre determined ) you do not need to prune suckers or any other pruning other than removing dead leaves.
How often do you have to change the potting soil used to grow tomatoes in large pots on a patio?
Why are the tips of my plant leaves turning brown? I have my plants inside placed by a window. I have just noticed that all the leaves tips are turning brown? I do have a fan blowing on them to strengthen the stems. Could this be why the tips are turning brown or?