Container gardening is a great way to have a big gardening impact in a small space. More and more people are growing flowers, shrubs, and vegetables in containers. If you want to grow tomatoes in pots, however, you need to avoid these common pitfalls:
1. Don't... Choose a pot that is too small
Tomatoes need a lot of space for their roots. If you are growing tomatoes in containers, you need to make sure the container is big enough. Five gallons will support most tomatoes, though tomato plants that stay small may survive in smaller pots. Bigger is better! If you have the right container, growing tomatoes in it will be much easier.
2. Don't... Choose the wrong tomato for your lifestyle!
Do your research here. A lot of people recommend determinate varieties for growing tomatoes in pots, but determinate varieties fruit all at once. If you want steady tomatoes over a month or more, indeterminate varieties may be better for you, although they will need more tying off of branches. If you don't want to wait until fall, choose an early-maturing variety, like Early Girl or Fireworks.
3. Don't... Water inconsistently!
Tomatoes are thirsty plants, but more than that, they do not handle periods of relative dryness well. Pots of soil dry out more quickly than soil in the ground, so when growing tomatoes in containers you have to be especially careful about watering regularly. If you miss a day or two, then soak the soil to make up for it, your tomatoes will crack or rot. If you're worried about missing days, set up an automatic watering system.
4. Don't... Put them in the shade!
Tomatoes need sun! Lots of sun. Make sure that your tomato pots are in the sunniest part of your yard. The heat and sunlight will help them thrive!
5. Don't... Wait too long to cage them!
Fitting cages around half-grown or fully grown tomatoes is incredibly difficult, and sometimes impossible. You should install the cages at the same time that you plant your seedlings in the container. The growing tomatoes will wrap themselves around the cages as they get larger.
If you don't make any of these mistakes, you will be well on your way to a harvest of delicious tomatoes!
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