Even if you do not have a big back yard and space for a big vegetable garden you can still grow vegetables such as tomatoes. Tomatoes are a great first vegetable to try in a container garden. Container gardens can be cultivated on balconies, patios, outdoor window sills, along the driveway or even on a roof top. There are a few essential tips to container gardening that you should keep in mind.
First of all, when starting your container garden, whether it is from seed or from a young plant from your local garden center, the soil is essential. Many plants are very sensitive to the soil they are planted in. Unlike weeds, fruit and vegetable bearing plants do not grow everywhere and even if they grow on some minor soils, they might not bring they crop they would on a good soil. So get your pots clean and ready with a good soil recommended for gardening. Also keep in mind, that the container needs to be at least 5 gallons or more to properly support the growth of the plant.
Your second important choice is the plant itself. Tomatoes come in a great variety of sizes, colors and tastes. From cherry and olive tomatoes over plum tomatoes to big size sandwich tomatoes (such as fat boy), it is all available. Besides the size and taste of the tomato the size of the plant falls within this size. Some tomato plant get to a full grown height of only a few feet while others might grow up to 5 feet tall. If your space or height is limited where you are planning to cultivate your container garden, make sure that you pick one of the smaller varieties. A friendly employee at your local garden center should be able to direct you to a good variety such as the bushy types for container gardening.
Even in a container garden it is important to support tomatoes properly. The tomato fruit actually is very heavy for the weak branches of the plant; therefore it is necessary to attach the tomato plant to some kind of a support such as planting stakes, tomatoes cages or small trellises.
Tomatoes generally need 5-6 hours minimum of sun so pick your spot for the container garden appropriately. Do not pick the shade side of the house, too little sun will not ripen your tomatoes in time and also minimizes the chance of a good crop. The more sun the better will your tomato plants grow and most likely the more tomatoes you will harvest.
Tomatoes need to be watered on a daily bases in hot or dry climates. Generally it is better for tomatoes if they are not watered from above, but rather from below. This should be easier achievable in a container garden, since you will generally water fewer plants than in a big backyard vegetable garden. Also keep in mind containers, planting pots and hanging baskets dry out much faster than regular soil in a big garden.
Very important for container gardens besides the regular watering is fertilizing. Container gardens have a small amount of soil compared to the big surrounding of a vegetable garden in the back yard and therefore the amount of food for the plants contained within the container is much smaller. Regular fertilizing is necessary to provide the tomato plant with the essential nutrients to support a big crop and grow properly.
Tomato container gardening is a very possible undertaking for many different occasions. Tomatoes are such a versatile ingredient and can be used in salads, as snack, in soups, salsas, chili’s and much more.