Monday, May 10, 2010

Growing Tomatoes in Containers

Tomato Fest V in August 2009 in Kingsport, TN
Apartment renters and townhouse and condominium owners till the soil in containers on their patio and deck. For containers the shorter growing determinate type tomatoes are a better choice. Spread out the harvest interval, by not planting all your tomatoes at one time. Start your last tomatoes from seed for June planting and harvest beginning in late September and October.
Container grown tomatoes need a deep container- at least 16 to 18 inches tall. A 5- gallon (or larger) pail or pot works well. Drill out several 1- inch wide drainage holes and add a few rocks in the bottom for ballast. Plant in a good growing media and add some inorganic fertilizer or organic bone and blood meal to increase fertility. Container-grown plants require more frequent fertilization than field-grown, as there’s less soil from which to obtain nutrients. For water soluble fertilizers, apply every two weeks.

Here are some good varieties to try. The yield will vary with the variety:
• Slicers
– Bush Early Girl
– Bushsteak Hybrid
– Spring Giant
– Better Boy
– Jetstar
– Bush Celebrity
– Mountain Fresh Plus VFFN
– Super Bush
– Saladette (Roma type)

• Cherry
– Golden Nugget
– Sweet 100 Patio
– Tiny Tim
– Patio
– Supersweet 100
– Sun Gold


  1. We tried a new cultivar, 'Red Robin' this year, and have ripe-red fruit on an 8" determinate tomato on May 27th. Since the plant is a dwarf, topping out in the 6'-12' range, production of fruit will be limited, but it easily matures in a gallon pot. Yes, it's "only" a cherry tomato, but it sure is a conversation piece!

  2. Thank you for the tip. Planted bush type in 4 gallon bucket and currently demands a 1 gallon drink daily. I will try cherry type next year...Hugh