Tips for growing tomato plants in a container
Three problems you should avoid:
1. Too small of a pot
2. overheated soil
3. fluctuating moisture
Choose the largest container available (eg. whiskey barrel) to allow plenty of room for root development. Make sure you use good, well-drained potting soil. The soil mix should retain some water but allow excess water to drain freely. Don’t use garden soil. If your container does not have a drainage hole, add coarse gravel to the bottom of the pot. This also helps to weight down the pot so it doesn’t get knocked over on a windy day.
Container plants will dry out faster and will require more frequent watering on hot days. Water mature plants when the top inch of soil is dry and then water until it drains from the bottom.
Some afternoon shade from the hot sun will help keep the soil from getting too hot. Overheated soil will stress the plant causing poor growth of leaves and fruit production. Fluctuating moisture(too much, then to little) can cause problems such as blossom-end rot. To avoid blossom-end rot and cracking maintain even moisture and place a layer of mulch around the plant.
For optimim success grow special varieties of tomatoes that are designed for container gardening such as a Patio Hybrid, Totem Hybrid (70 days). Both have compact vines that produce medium sized tomatoes. Tomatoes need at least 6-8 hrs of sun. They are heavy feeders and frequent watering will leach the nutrients down the drain hole. Therefore, fertilize regularily (10-14 days) with a 10-10-10. You can also add a time-release fertilizer to the soil as a suppplemental fertilizer.
Since most vegetables that can be grown in containers, you can grow a varietable garden on your patio. Some of the easier container vegetables to grow are; snap beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, and radishes.