Tomatoes Grown in Containers

Tomatoes, unknown variety, in containerTomato plants, in containersBelieve it or not, these are just 2 individual tomato plants grown from seed in large (perhaps 22 gallon) plastic pots. The one on the left is Speckled Roman tomato (oblong-shaped orange-colored fruit with yellow streaks) and an unknown tomato from last season. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but the fruit is deep red, and it’s delicious! I’ll have to keep track of these things more closely henceforth since discovering that inactive seeds may actually be waiting for the right conditions to activate. These are indeterminate tomatoes, and also have been referred to as vine tomatoes. It’s said that indeterminates die when killed by frost, but my area is temperate, so hopefully, that means very tall and productive plants with many tomatoes to enjoy and share!

TIP: I learned this the hard way last year in my first attempt to grow tomatoes, and in containers. You really must have a regular watering and feeding schedule for these plants. Because container gardens dry out much faster than gardens planted directly into the ground, you must make watering  priority. If you do not, you may end up with a situation that I experienced: blossom end rot. The fruit will look normal for the most part, but the bottom end of the fruit (not connected to the vine) will be discolored. That’s the start of the rotting process. The fruit is wasted.

I confess that last year, I would water irregularly, too many days without water or too much one day to make up for the day(s) that I missed. Apparently if you feed it too much plant food, that also places your tomatoes at risk. In other words, keep a balance: don’t over- or under-water and feed, as both will place stress on your plants. A very good, informative fact sheet on the topic of blossom end rot can be found here: http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/Factsheets/blossomrot/blossomrot.htm

SHOPPING TIP: If possible, get the largest container you can find when planting your tomato seeds. It may look odd to have a large container with potting soil, seeds, but not fruit. This strategy will pay off when the plant emerges and grows taller by the day. I’d recommend large plastic containers because they’re easy to haul to your car by yourself and are stackable. Mine are holding up well after two years and the price was under $20.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

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2 Responses

  1. Lots of good tomato growing information on this post. Regarding prevention of blossom end rot, it is important to have even watering and to have plenty of calcium available to plants. For container growing work in the recommended amount of bone meal when you plant. Save eggshells and blend them with water which you add to the container. It takes awhile for calcium to release so it should be added before you see a problem not after.

  2. Many thanks, Rose Marie, for your thoughtful and very helpful comments!

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