Container Gardening Tomatoes
Container gardening tomatoes is an easy way to enjoy fresh, delicious tomatoes any time you want. You can just step out your door, you don't have to go to the store. You don't need a lot of space if you are growing potted tomatoes. You don't even need a yard. Would you like to grow tomatoes without the pot? Sounds impossible but I can show you an easy way to do it that works really well. If you live in some of the southern states growing potted tomatoes can also give you some defense against pests, growing the right variety can give you some natural pest control especially if you live in Florida. A lot of people would like to grow their own vegetables either to save money, or because they want to eat organic vegetables, or just enjoy food that tastes really good.
Juicy Tasty Tomatoes
Tomato Pots - Ugly but Functional
Where to Get Cheap Tomato Growing Pots
I like to use empty cat litter buckets for tomato growing pots. They're just the right size and pretty much the right price (free). I have (my wife has, really) three cats and there's an endless supply of buckets. Granted, they aren't technically free but I have to buy the litter anyway. Before I was married I had friends of mine with cats give me the buckets. They'll be more than happy to I'm sure. They're useful for a lot of things, but after awhile you have more than you can use. Using them for tomato growing pots is another use for them.
Here's What You Need to Do.
You simply need to put a hole in the bottom of your bucket. I use my cordless drill with a half inch spade bit, you can use a smaller bit and drill more holes. Just make sure that it adds up to a half inch worth of holes. You can make your holes a little bigger, it's not rocket science, you just want enough to let the water drain out so the roots don't get soggy. They can rot and mildew if they do, and the plant will die. Think about a typical clay pot, it has about a half inch hole in the middle. Just replicate that with your cat litter bucket.
But They Make Ugly Tomato Planters...
True, they do make ugly tomato pots, but that's pretty easy to fix. Get some spray paint specifically for plastic and paint them. You can use most any color except black so your pots don't get too hot. If you live up north, you could get away with it, but in the south, espically Florida you'd be making an oven. I've never lived in the midwest but I'd imagine it would be even worse there.
Make Your Container Gardening Easier
Grow Tomatoes in a Bag - You Don't Need a Pot!
Growing tomatoes in a bag of potting soil is the easiest way to grow tomatoes or other vegetables. You only need a large bag of potting soil for 2 plants, a small bag for one plant. Here's what you need to do. Poke 3 or 4 holes in the bottom of the bag to let the water drain out. Sort of like the hole in bucket idea - you don't want a bag of mud. Use a small hand trowel, a knife, scissors, whatever. Be careful and don't cut your self. Turn the side with holes down. Make sure you put the bag in a place where you want it, because you won't be able to move it later. If you put it in the grass, the grass will die because the bag will be there a long time.
If you're using a large bag poke a 4-6 inch hole about six inches from diagonal corners. Then poke a hole in the middle. Plant the tomatoes in the corners and water them from the middle hole. Take a look at the images below.
How to Grow Tomatoes in a Bag
Tomato Growing Tips Video
Tomato Growing Tips | Growing Tomatoes in Florida
Growing tomatoes in Florida has it's own set of challenges, especially in south Florida. You will definitely need a tomato that is resistant to nematodes as well as wilts and viruses. Nematodes are tiny parasitic eelworms that can cause plants to become stunted and wilted and eventually die. Wilts and viruses are diseases that can also cause the plants to wither and die. I've had a lot of problems with them and I live south of Orlando. My father who lives north of Orlando, also has problems but not to the same extent. The way to avoid (or diminish) nematode and disease problems is to plant your tomatoes in containers and/or use a hybrid tomato variety.
If you have a problems with nematodes and decide to grow your tomatoes in pots, use fresh soil every season. You should also use new pots every season or clean your pots with a sterilizing bleach solution. The back of a bleach bottle can tell you how to do it. The sterilizing will kill off the viruses and other diseases that can cause your tomato to die. I've had several plants die even when using new pots and soil, I haven't been able to determine why. So far I've had good luck with growing tomatoes in a bag. The tomatoes in the pictures above are doing well at this point.
Hybrid tomatoes are not some "frankenfood", they're two varieties of tomatoes that have been crossed through pollination. Big Boy and Better Boy are two types of popular hybrid tomatoes. Better Boy is a U.S. favorite that does will in Florida. The University of Florida has a web page specifically on growing tomatoes in Florida. They do suggest that you water tomatoes well, once a week instead of smaller waterings. I haven't had much luck with that when I grow my tomatoes in containers, it's just too hot here in the summer. Even tomatoes in the ground need more water than that in my area. There are tomatoes grown ever further south than my area though, Ruskin, Florida is still a large tomato producing area. So, don't let my experience scare you off though, I have had more successes than failures at container gardening tomatoes in Florida.
Cherry Tomatoes From My Container Garden
Juicy Green Tomatoes
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- University of Florida Gardening Exchange.
UF/IFAS Extension: Solutions for Your Life. Great resource if you live in Florida, what to plant, and when to plant it.
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