I have been growing tomatoes in patio containers and pots this year with some success. I also have my beloved plot with tomatoes growing in the ground. Over thirty years I have successfully grown tomatoes in my garden plot. 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 germinated them indoors in march and grew them on under glass in the warm. 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. I have had a succesion of healthy and tasty tomatoes all season. I did notice two slight differences between the containers grown tomatoes and those in the ground.
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. The taste is uniformly excellent and the texture and color very appetizing. For the container grown tomatoes
I did treat them differently and with a bit more care.
- 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. Make sure you use a very large pot to allow full root growth. I used standard clay flower pots as I like the look of them but just use any large containers you have.
- Water your tomatoes even if it rains.
We have had a dreadful summer in the UK this year and it has rained constantly. I checked the pots grown tomatoes more regularly as they sometimes seem to be underwatered. The plants grown in the ground do not need this. I think what happens is that the leaves do not let the water get to the pot. They almost protect the pot from getting wet. Very little water gets to the root of the plants. I always checked them morning and evening.
- 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. With cherry tomatoes there is no need to pinch them out as they provide plenty of fruit naturally. You can leave them alone safe in the knowledge that with regular watering they will give a good harvest.
- 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 next year. Grow some in pots and containers as well as in the ground. You will love the sense of achievement from finding a sunny spot and growing these tomatoes.