Container Tomato Gardening

Overview

Tomatoes are versatile vegetables that are popular to grow in containers or home gardens where space is limited. Choose tomato varieties that are dwarf or have a small maturity height to prevent the root ball from overgrowing in the container or creating a top-heavy plant that tips over easily. Container-grown plants require supplemental water to prevent them from drying out quickly, which decreases fruit production.

Step 1

Purchase a container that has bottom holes, is 12 inches tall and a minimum of 12 inches in diameter. Cut a piece of wire mesh to fit into the bottom of the container. This will prevent the soil from draining out through the holes when watering.

Step 2

Fill the container to several inches below the top with a well-draining potting soil mixed evenly with peat moss and perlite. Thoroughly mix a slow-release tomato fertilizer into the soil.

Step 3

Set the tomato plant in a hole 4- to 6-inches deep, so the first set of leaves on the stem are just above the soil level. This will force the plant to produce a strong root system for support.

Step 4

Water the soil well until it drains out through the bottom holes. Provide water to the tomato 3 to 4 times a week to keep the soil evenly moist. Monitor the soil moisture, as additional water applications may be required during the hot summer months or periods of drought.

Step 5

Place a tomato cage or stakes with twine around the plant to provide support to fruit-producing branches. Train the plant through the holes as it grows to prevent the branches from bending.

Step 6

Grow the container tomato in a full-sun location protected from wind. A patio, porch or area next to a building works well, as long as it receives at least eight hours of sunlight each day.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire mesh
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Slow-release tomato fertilizer
  • Tomato cage

References

  • Ohio State University: Growing Tomatoes in Containers
  • University of Illinois Extension: Tomato
  • How To Garden: Growing Tomatoes in Pots
Keywords: container tomato plants, grow tomato pot, plant container tomato

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.