Growing Big Tomatoes
Is it Possible to Grow Big Tomatoes In Containers?
It is a great idea to grow tomatoes in containers, but growing big tomatoes is a little more difficult to do. Growing tomatoes in containers offers a far easier introduction to growing your own vegetables than trying to grow them in your garden. If growing big tomatoes is what you really want to do then doing so using containers is not the best option, because in order to grow really big tomatoes you will need to plant outdoors. However, that doesn't mean that you can't produce really great tasting big varieties in containers, it just means that you won't be able to grow them to their full potential. In contradiction to what expert tomato growers will tell you, tomatoes can be grown equally as successfully and produce excellent fruit in good quantity when grown in containers.
Choosing the variety of tomato will dictate how big a container you will need. The smallest of the tomato family, the popular cherry tomato will easily grow well in a hanging basket but varieties that produce larger fruit will in turn require a larger container...which I presume...goes without saying! This is especially true if you are intent on growing big tomatoes! If you are new to growing tomatoes in containers, it's much easier to begin with tomato plants that have been bought from a nursery or garden center rather than attempting to grow from seed.
When choosing a tomato plant there are two types to choose from, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes are plants that grow to a specific size and then cease growing, this means that it is far simpler to choose a suitable container, but if you really want to try growing big tomatoes, then choosing a suitable container can be a little more difficult as most of the big varieties are 'indeterminate' and will continue to grow and grow, not just above the soil but the root system too.
Right...you've chosen your tomato plant now...how do you plant it? Before you start planting you need to make sure your container isn't only big enough but strong enough also, tomatoes can become very top heavy and a light-weight container will easily fall over under a heavily fruit-laden plant. You should also check that there are enough drainage holes in the bottom of your chosen container, if there isn't your plant will let you know very quickly! Once you are happy with your container's size,weight and drainage you should turn your attention to providing your plant with the best possible soil mix, for the best mix for your specific plant you should ask the nursery where you bought it from for their recommendation, otherwise play it safe with a half and half mix of good growing peat and natural compost high in nitrogen which will help your plant flourish if you are growing big tomatoes this is the most important step!
Planting your tomatoes is a relatively easy process, just remove the lower leaves and insert the young tomato into the soil mix deep enough so that only the top quarter is showing, this increases root growth which helps your plant absorb the necessary nutrients that will go a long way towards producing great tasting tomatoes. Insert your support stake at this point to avoid damaging the roots later on.
The one thing that will produce a healthy crop above all others is sunshine and plenty of it, 6-8 hours a day is ideal, unfortunately, it is impossible to guarantee this so when there is a shortfall use a grow light to compensate, this is especially true when your plants are very young. As well as sunshine regular watering is important and you should water at least once a day and to help your plant further combine a good liquid fertilizer with the water once a week...follow these simple steps and within 50 to 80 days, depending on the variety of tomato you're growing, you will have a nice crop of tasty tomatoes...and who knows, if you have been really brave and chosen to try growing big tomatoes you might have some tomatoes that weigh up to 4lb or more!
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