Tomatoes are one of those great plants that everyone loves to grow. They are the perfect beginner plant for that reason. You can start them relatively early, and they are incredibly difficult to kill.
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These resilient plants can last for months giving you the potential for delicious tomatoes right in your own home. On more than one occasion I have thrown what I thought was a completely dead tomato plant in my plant matter bin, and it has found a way to regrow. I can remember the first summer I got my cat as a young kitten, she decided to take a nap in a well-established tomato planter, and actually snapped the main stem of the plant. I had to cut that top portion off, but I was able to stick it in water, and it rerooted and continued to grow. So did the bottom portion after some trimming. So technically, I wound up with an extra plant. It just took some extra time.
What You Need to Grow Tomatoes
The main things you will need for your tomatoes are pretty obvious. You are going to want to get a 3-5 gallon (11-19 Litres) planter or bucket. Some really great options are food safe buckets that restaurants order. You can go into most restaurants and ask the manager if they happen to have some empty buckets. I’ve received several free ones in the past when I have done this. You can also get large planters at most dollar stores as well. Although, they usually also have garbage bins that work beautifully as well. I personally bought myself a 63L tote, and I am not only able to grow 4 successful tomato plants in it, but it also helps me store my potting soil over the cold months as well!
Potting soil is very VERY important. You can’t just take some dirt out of the ground. Due to the density of it, it would compact way too hard. Making it impossible for your plants to grow good root systems. Not to mention, in pots and containers, you need extra nutrients like calcium, magnesium and potassium…among other things. This being said, watering in containers does leeches these minerals out of the soil, which would cause nutrient deficiencies in the soil which would hinder plant growth. So I do recommend amending your soil every time you plant something new. Either with compost or new potting soil. I like to do a 50/50 split personally.
Your top priority when growing tomatoes is space and potting soil. Some great potting soil options are:
Once you have your seedling growing nice and strong in its new spacious home with lots of yummy nutrients for it to grow up and out with. Then you have to focus on its support structure. Otherwise, it will grow and vine across whatever you plant it on. So, your balcony/patio/room etc. You definitely don’t want that. So you can get 2-3 large sticks and some twine to keep them on the straight and arrow to the sky, or you can buy a tomato cage at the dollar store. It’s really up to you! You also want to make sure that you do it right away. If you wait until the plant “needs” its supports, then you run the risk of damaging the root system that has already grown. So definitely install your cage or supports as soon as you have planted your seedlings.
When you do plant your seedling, you want to plant it buried up to its first true leaves. This will give plenty of rooting options that will strengthen your plant. You will start to see larger leaves and a thicker main stem in just a couple weeks. But just remember, the soil needs to kept moist. Not soaked, your plants aren’t in the ground so to much water will sit on the root system and potentially cause it to rot and the plant to die. You can tell WHEN to water your tomatoes if you stick your finger down to the second knuckle. If it feels to dry, then water. If it still feels moist and the leaves look good, then leave it be for another day or two. When you start to see an abundance of big thick bushy leaves, thats when you know you are doing right by your tomato plant(s)
Lastly, but never least. When it comes to watering your plants. The best time to do it (especially in the summer) is when it’s coolest. So in the early mornings or late evenings. Your plants, your choice.
A few Recommendations:
12pk of 5 Gallon Woven fabric Pots (cheap and reusable)
5pk of 7 Gallon Nursery Pots (Usually used with small trees)
If you’re looking for more gardening tips, I’ve got you covered:
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