How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers

How to Grow Tomatoes in Containers
12 October، 2017 Mashtal Team
In Growing Vegetables

Every tomato lover dreams of growing the ultimate tomato. Firm, but juicy. Sweet, but tangy. Aromatic and blemish free. Perfection. The trick to growing great tasting tomatoes is to choose the best varieties, start the plants off right, and control problems before they happen. Start here with some time tested tomato growing tips, to ensure your tomato bragging rights this year.

  • If you are starting tomatoes from seed, be sure to give the seedlings plenty of room to branch out. Crowded conditions inhibit their growth and lead to disease later on.
  • Tomato seedlings need strong, direct light. Days are short during winter, so even placing them near a very sunny window may not provide them with sufficient natural light. Unless you are growing them in a greenhouse, your best option is to use some type of artificial plant lighting, for 14-18 hours every day.
  • It seems tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze, to develop strong stems. That happens naturally outdoors, but if you are growing your seedlings inside, you will need to provide the air circulation. Create a breeze by turning a fan on them for 5-10 minutes, twice a day.
  • Tomatoes love heat. Cover the planting area with black or red plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. Those extra degrees of soil warmth will translate into earlier tomatoes.
  • Plant your tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to the top few leaves. When planted this way, tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. And more roots will make for a stronger plant.
  • If you are not going to leave plastic mulch on the soil , hold off on putting down mulch until after the ground has had a chance to warm up. While mulching does conserve water and prevents the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on the plants, if you put it down too early it will also shade, and therefore cool, the soil. Tomatoes love heat.
  • Once your tomato plants reach about 3 ft. tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1 ft. of ​stem. These are the oldest leaves and they are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems.
  • Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant.
  • Water deeply and regularly while the fruits are developing. Irregular watering – missing a week and trying to make up for it – leads to blossom end rot and cracking. The rule of thumb is to ensure your plants get at least 1 inch of water per week, but during hot, dry spells, they may need more. If your plants start to look wilted for most of the day, give them a drink.
  • A lot of vegetable gardening is at the mercy of the weather, but sometimes we can help things along. There are two types of tomato plants. Determinate tomatoes reach a certain height and then set and ripen their fruit all at one time, making a large quantity available when you’re ready to make sauce. These tend to start flowering fairly early in the season and it shouldn’t be a problem getting them to set fruit, ​unless weather conditions are unfavorable and cause a condition aptly named “blossom drop”. Those big, juicy beefsteak tomatoes we all crave grow on indeterminate plants. Indeterminate means the plants just keep growing. Tomatoes are vines, after all, and indeterminate tomatoes reach for the sun. They like to grow tall before they start setting fruits. So don’t be alarmed if you tomato plants look healthy and lush, but aren’t flowering for their first month or two in the garden. If you’re impatient, pinching off the tips of the main stems in early summer will encourage indeterminate tomatoes to start putting their energy into flowering. This is also a handy trick toward the end of the summer when you want the last tomatoes to hurry up and ripen.

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