an Abundant Tomato Harvest in a Pot
By Melinda Myers
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[April 17, 2017]
and enjoy the garden-fresh flavor of tomatoes right outside your
kitchen. Grow them in containers set on your patio, balcony, deck or
stairs. You’ll enjoy the convenience of harvesting fresh tomatoes
just a few feet away from where you prepare your meals. And your
guests will enjoy harvesting fresh tomatoes to add to their salad or
Tomatoes need warm air and soil to thrive.
Containers give you the ability to jump start the season. Plant
tomatoes in containers earlier than in the garden and leave them
outdoors when it’s warm (but bring them inside whenever there’s a
danger of frost.) Protect your plants with the help of
season-extending products like cloches, red tomato teepees or garden
fabrics. These will help warm the soil and air around the plants,
reducing the number of days to your first harvest.
Select flavorful and disease-resistant varieties for your container
gardens. Consider ‘determinate’ tomatoes that are more compact and
generally less than four feet tall. But don’t eliminate your
favorite indeterminate tomato. Just provide a strong tall support
for these plants that continue to grow six feet and taller
throughout the season.
Grow your tomatoes in a sunny spot that receives at least eight
hours of direct sunlight. You’ll grow the biggest harvest and reduce
the risk of disease.
Fill your container with a quality well-drained potting mix. Add a
slow release organic fertilizer to your potting mix if needed. This
type of fertilizer feeds the plants for several months. Give the
plants an additional feeding midseason or as directed on the
Check soil moisture daily, water thoroughly and often enough to keep
the soil slightly moist. Maintaining consistent soil moisture means
healthier plants and fewer problems with blossom end rot. This
disorder is not a deadly disease, but it causes the bottom of the
first set of fruit to turn black.
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Reduce your workload by using self-watering pots like the
Gardener’s Revolution® Classic Tomato Planter (gardeners.com). These pots have a
5-gallon reservoir for holding water that moves up into the soil to the plant
roots as needed. This means you’ll be filling the reservoir less often than you
would normally water other planters.
Stake or tower your plants to save space, increase air circulation around and
light penetration into the plant. You’ll further reduce the risk of disease and
increase productivity by growing vertically.
So start gathering your favorite tomato recipes now, as soon you’ll be
harvesting armloads of tomatoes to use in salsas, salads, sauces and of course
[Photo provided by Gardener’s Supply
has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space
Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food
Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated
Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist
and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was
commissioned by Gardener’s Supply Company for her expertise to write
this article. Myers’ web site is www.melindamyers.com.