Pot to Plate: Insider Tips to Luscious Tomatoes in Containers

04/26/2024 | Ken Davis Tomatoes, Vegetable Gardening

by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

Audio by Cast11
Tips to Luscious TTomato in Containers

Readers Digest Condensed Version of this Article

  • Big pots is better: Tomato plants prefer 1-2 square feet of soil per plant. Bury most of your tomato seedling stem when transplanting exposing only the top foliage.
  • Aqua Boost Crystals added to the soil regulates summer moisture for juicier fruits.
  • Water early in the morning until water seeps through the pot and fills the saucer.
  • Feed 2X monthly with Flower Power
  • Tomatoes require 6+ hours of sun each day.

Tomatoes, a summertime staple, thrive in sprawling gardens and in convenient containers on your balcony or patio! Here are 5 essential factors to ensure your potted tomato plants flourish this spring.

Think Big When Choosing Containers – Unlike in-ground counterparts, containerized tomatoes have limited access to nutrients and water. To compensate, provide ample space for their roots. Opt for containers at least 1 square foot per plant, ideally 2 square feet. Five-gallon black growers buckets are perfect for this purpose. Ensuring the pots have excellent drainage, with multiple holes at the bottom, is crucial to prevent root rot.

Deep Planting for Stronger Plants – While most seedlings prefer shallow planting, tomatoes are the exception. Dig deep enough to bury most of the stem when transplanting your tomato seedling, exposing only the top foliage. This encourages additional root growth along the buried stem, leading to a sturdier, healthier plant.

The Art of Watering—Consistent moisture is vital for containerized tomatoes. Since potting soil dries out faster than in-ground soil, closely monitor your garden’s water content. Watters Aqua Boost Crystals mixed in the soil retain water, releasing it back to plants during the heat of the day.

Insider Container Tip: Fill your container with Watters Potting Soil top to bottom. Mix Aqua Boost Crystals in the soil around the tomato roots. Plant the container on a water-holding saucer. When irrigating your tomato, run water until it flows through the soil and fills the saucer. You just created a self-watering container garden. As your tomato needs more water during the heat of the day, it will naturally wick water from the saucer. Easy Peasy.

Water deeply in the mornings, directly at the base of the plant, to avoid fungal issues. During hot or windy spells, you might need to water twice daily. Signs of underwatering include wilting plants and blossom end rot (fruit with sunken black spots). Overwatering manifests as yellowing leaves and mushy stems.

Feed Tomatoes 2X Monthly with Flower Power. Tomatoes need a lot of food to grow, from seedlings to plants that can be taller than the average gardener. A quality food includes nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Check your potting mix – some pre-mixed options already contain these nutrients. Tomato Plants fruit better when fed every other month with Watters Flower Power. This food grows amazing tomatoes dipped in the taste of summer.

Sun! Glorious Sun! Tomatoes are sun-worshippers, requiring at least 6+ hours of sunlight daily, ideally more. Use a sun calculator or simply observe your chosen location throughout the day to ensure it receives adequate sunlight. As the sun’s position changes over the growing season, monitor your pots and adjust their placement to maintain optimal sun exposure. Tomatoes love warmth and protect young seedlings from harsh sun and wind to prevent scorching. Avoid placing them outdoors when temperatures dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, extended periods exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit can hinder flower and fruit production.

Following these tips and providing a little TLC, you will enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious, homegrown tomatoes ripe from your balcony or patio!

Garden Alert Pinion Pine Scale is bad this spring. Symptoms of a sick tree are brown needles dropping from a thin and whispy tree. Take a close look at the needles; it looks like garden fairies grew multiple black dots on each needle that drops. These black dots are an insect sucking the lift out of your tree and at high risk of death. Treat ASAP with Watters Tree & Shrub Drench, a year-long protection cure. Feed with 7-4-4 All Purpose Plant Food to encourage new solid needles this spring.

Until next week, I’ll be helping gardeners grow big bold tomatoes here at Watters Garden Center.

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