Ingredients

The Type of Plant

When you have a choice, you want to be sure to plant a determinate type of plant. This means that the height and overall size is determined before it is even planted, saving you the trouble of having to control a plant that might become too big for the pot. For tomatoes the determinate varieties will grow to 3 or 4 feet and stay there.

Another consideration is the length of time that it takes for the plants to mature. The time that it takes for tomatoes to reach maturity can vary by as much as two weeks, which is a lot of growing time in New England’s relatively short growing season. I have chosen a variety to plant called Quick Pick, which gives me a couple of extra weeks to harvest some of the delicious home grown tomatoes.

A little tip about buying plants for patio gardening is to wait a few weeks and buy them then. They may be on sale by that time and they will also be larger and more mature, so that when you do plant them you will not have to wait as long.

Type of Container

You can use almost any type of pot or container as long as it is fairly large. Old baskets, old 5-gallon plastic buckets and virtually anything will work, but you or someone else in your home may not like the appearance. The only requirement is that it has holes in the bottom to allow water to escape should it become too moist. Without proper drainage the roots can rot and kill the plant.

Not all pots are the same and some are better than others for the purposes of growing vegetables. First of all, if you like clay pots then you have to watch them more carefully because they are not as good as plastic when it comes to retaining water. The clay tends to retain more heat, drying out the soil more quickly and it also can seep water or moisture out through the clay. So, unfortunately to some, plastic pots are better than clay.

Planting

To start planting you need some potting soil. You can get soil that has slow release fertilizer already added and this is what I prefer. I know it has the right amount added and do not have to concern myself with it.

Just before planting take the lower leaves off of the stem so that you can bury that stem area with the soil. The plant will actually grow more roots directly from the stem and make a healthier plant giving you more tomatoes.

You can add the soil first, create a hole and put the root ball into the soil or you can just add the soil around the root ball after you put it into the pot. Either way, be sure to pat the soil down firmly until it is fairly compact so that the roots make firm contact.

Water the plant immediately with a solution of plant fertilizer dissolved in the water. Make sure that you water daily from this point on.

When the plant gets to its’ mature height you will want to support it either with a wire tomato gage or a simple bamboo stake that you can tie it to.

A final bit of advice is to put the plant label back into the new pot you have planted the tomato plant into. You may not remember which variety is which. I always do this so I will not forget which plants that I want to plant again and which ones I want to avoid based on the results I get from year to year.

Directions

There is really nothing that difficult about planting vegetables in containers instead of in the garden. Except for having to water almost every day, the main considerations for planting and maintenance are the same – buy a healthy plant, use good potting soil, add some slow release nutrient giving fertilizer, and proper and consistent watering and pruning. If you follow these basic principals you will have healthier plants that provide maximum crop yields.

When buying plants make sure that you examine them carefully. You want to see a strong stem, no drooping leaves (this shows whether it has been watered consistently), and no yellow or spotting leaves. I recommend that you also lift the root ball out of the pot and examine it closely to see that the roots are all white and healthy which means it is ready to provide a good spurt of growth once it is planted. Avoid any plants with brown roots or too even few roots.Now let’s look at some of the items that deserve some special recognition and attention.

The Type of Plant

When you have a choice, you want to be sure to plant a determinate type of plant. This means that the height and overall size is determined before it is even planted, saving you the trouble of having to control a plant that might become too big for the pot. For tomatoes the determinate varieties will grow to 3 or 4 feet and stay there.

Another consideration is the length of time that it takes for the plants to mature. The time that it takes for tomatoes to reach maturity can vary by as much as two weeks, which is a lot of growing time in New England’s relatively short growing season. I have chosen a variety to plant called Quick Pick, which gives me a couple of extra weeks to harvest some of the delicious home grown tomatoes.

A little tip about buying plants for patio gardening is to wait a few weeks and buy them then. They may be on sale by that time and they will also be larger and more mature, so that when you do plant them you will not have to wait as long.

Container Planting
Categories :