Saturday, September 27, 2008

4 Top tips to Grow tomatoes in containers and pots

I decided to have a go at growing tomatoes in pots this year and have been very pleased with them. I also have my beloved plot with tomatoes growing in the ground. I have always had success with tomatoes grown on the ground. But growing my tomatoes in containers is anew departure for me.

The comparison between the pot grown tomato and those in the ground.

I grew 2 varieties this year moneymaker and an Italian cherry tomato variety. I'm sure what variety they are - everything seems to grow easily enough to me. I started off the seeds indoors in march and let them grow on in my conservatory. I always have far to many plants and ended up giving most of them away to friends. Once the risk of frost had gone I set them out in the garder and in my containers and within a month I was picking tomatoes. My tomato plant still have plenty of tomatoes on them, it has been a good year. The plants grown in containers have had similar results but I have noticed 2 differences.

Firstly the moneymaker tomatoes were slightly smaller than the ones grown on my plot.

Secondly there were not quite as many cherry tomatoes in the containers.

Other than that the results were very similar. You may not know that the taste of home grown tomatoes is far superior to shop ones. For the container grown tomatoes

� I did treat them differently and with a bit more care.

  1. Make sure you put tomato plants in a really big pot.

I like the root systems to have plenty of room and not become pot bound. You also need a big container to have enough depth for the support canes. I used standard clay flower pots as I like the look of them but just use any large containers you have.

  1. Water your tomatoes even if it rains.

We have had a dreadful summer in the UK this year and it has rained constantly. I still found that the pot grown tomato plants were wilting a bit if I didn’t check them for watering. The plants grown in the ground do not need this. The pot is protected by the leaves of the tomato plant and the water cannot get through to it. Not all the water gets through to the plant roots. So I made sure to check them often.

  1. Be ruthless with pinching out side shoots on the tomato plants.

I only pinch out once or twice a season when growing tomatoes in the ground because they seem to do fine. I have tested this over a number of growing seasons. The moneymaker tomato plants in the pots were regularly pinched out throughout the season to make sure that I had a good large crop. You do not need to pinch out cherry tomatoes because they do not suffer from being left to run. They take care of themselves and always give plenty of harvest.

  1. Remove excess foliage once you have the tomato fruits.

I have always done this to tomatoes and do not know where I picked this tip up. Once you have all the tomatoes set on the plant remove any leaves that are hiding the fruit from the sun. You can ripen your tomatoes indoors but I like to leave them on the plant as long as possible to get ripe. Removing the leaves also gives you slightly bigger tomatoes.

If you have missed this tomato season then I encourage you to plan ahead for your tomato growing in 2009. Try growing tomatoes in containers this year instead of just in the ground. They are a lot of fun and be grown on any sunny spot you have.

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