Cooking & Eating · Life & Adulting

How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers

I love having a garden! There is something very pleasing and rewarding about eating something you have grown. Summer is tomato season and I am beginning to get a lot of tomatoes, eventually I will have to freeze them or maybe try to can them if I have the time and to grow tomatoes in containersMy husband is a self-proclaimed lawn guy. He is very diligent about maintaining our yard year round, the only problem is he refuses to let me dig up our lawn or manicured flower beds for a garden. I grew up always having a vegetable garden in the summer and I figured growing plants in containers on my patio is still gardening!

My fabulous husband doing yard work!

How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers

Patio garden - tomatoes in pots

1. Get containers, pots, or barrels that are at least 15 inches tall. Tomatoes don’t have huge roots, but they need some room to grow.

2. Make sure your container can drain out excess water. You may need to drill a few holes in the bottom if you are using a barrel or other container.

3. Get good soil. Ideally, you would use composted soil, but if you don’t have any, buy the bagged soil at your home improvement store for gardening.

4. Start with tomato plants, you could use seeds, but that takes more work and time! I bought my plants at Costco. I love a variety of tomatoes – grape, cherry, Roma, heirloom, beef steak are all delicious.

Put wire cages or stakes around the plants. As the summer goes on, the tomatoes will weigh down the plant and it will need some support. The weather in many parts of the country has been so crazy this year, it really isn’t too late to plant your tomatoes. If you are going to do it, get going ASAP! I planted my tomatoes in early May.

5. Placement is key to successful tomato growing. You want your tomatoes to get morning sun or an eastern exposure for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. I have my tomatoes in my backyard, on my patio, next to my house. By 3pm they are out of the sun.

6. Do NOT over water your plants, yet don’t starve them of water. I water mine just a little every afternoon. If your tomatoes are getting too much or too little water you will be able to tell. Too much water causes the plant to yellow. Too little water causes the plant to droop and sag. I know people who swear by using “plant food” and other concoctions for plants. I don’t ever use this and mine grow great, but if you are so inclined, it probably won’t hurt.

7. Pick your tomatoes when they are ripe. Do not leave them on the plants, they will take away nutrients from the other tomatoes. If you aren’t sure when to pick your tomatoes, ask yourself, “would I eat that tomato?” if the answer is yes, pick it and enjoy!

Happy tomato season!

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