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Tomatoes are summer’s blessing, and nothing taste sweeter than a home grown tomato!

I’m so excited that my tomato plants are going to be bearing fruit soon!

Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants to grow in a container but there are a few things you will want to make sure you do to ensure you have a successful growing season. These delicious fruits need all of the TLC they can get! The more love, the sweeter the tomato I promise.

Most tomato plants need at least 15 gallon containers so that they can have plenty of room to establish their roots, take in moisture, and spread out. Smaller plants like cherry or grape tomatoes don’t need as much space. If possible it is always better to give your plant larger space when container gardening because the plants are already being confined to a small space (not in actual terrain).

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Tomatoes can also be grown upside down. I’ve actually never tried this method so I’m not 100% sure how that works but there are plenty of resources available on the internet if you want to try that out!

For those of you container gardening tomato plants that are right-side up, another tip is to buy some inexpensive stakes to help your plant grow up right. Tomato plants tend to be like awkward teenagers going through puberty sometimes. They can grow lanky and bend in ways that confuse you. That is what the stakes are for! The stakes are most effective when tied in a tee-pee formation that will allow you to gently tie support to your gangly growing tomato plant where it needs help most.

This plant was nearly twisted upside down. No, it isn’t tied and incarcerated in an evil bamboo trap I’ve created! I’m hoping that it wasn’t bent in an awkward way for too long and that it will bud flowers soon… 🙂

I’m no professional but those are my tips for you as a home gardener! Have you grown tomatoes in containers before? If you have any tips, share below!

-peas!-

Last container gardening post I wrote about affordable containers that will help you garden in small spaces. Once you have your containers, and your plants, you are ready to transplant! Aside from wanting to show you pretty pictures, here are some tips for planting your container garden.

I’d like to acknowledge that all of these tips I’ve taken note of are collectively from my internships and personal experiences working with farming and gardening as well as one of my favorite how-to books Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail. This book is a really simple resource that helps and small space gardener get started with the basics. Gayla also has a great website that you will see in my Blogroll, You Grow Girl

Tight squeezes are a no-no for most plants that yield edible parts.

Take these brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage family) for example. These four plants in this photo are in a 5 gallon bucket. Each brassica plant will grow to at least 12 inches in diameter if not double that. They are hardy plants and need plenty of room to establish strong roots. This is why cramming them in to a 5 gallon bucket would not be an ideal environment for them to reach their full potential.

Spring lettuce mix.

This is a perfect plant to grow in a smaller sized container. Spring lettuce mixes are very versatile and some people can even grow spring mix in small herb boxes! This photo is of some spring mix that is currently residing in a 5 gallon bucket. It took me way too long to transplant this mix from the six pack of seed sprouts that I originally bought them in so I think the plant went to seed or got confused about it’s growth cycle. That’s the reason why it may not really look like a lettuce mix. You want to have your spring mixes tightly packed because it makes it easy for harvest and they require a lot of moisture so by being densely planted the soil will get good shade coverage and be able to maintain moisture longer.

Solutions for space…

Taking baby plants from tiny homes and moving them to larger accommodations…

Here is my current garden set up! It’s not ideal but it works for me as far as simplicity and affordability goes! My Grow Bags came in the mail early last week (yay) so I quickly moved my plants to their new home. The bags are each 15 gallons and I willed them with an organic potting mix that I purchased at my local garden shop. The differences you want to look for when choosing a good organic potting mix, and written by Gayla Trail, include the following: compost, rice hulls, worm castings, wood chips, perlite, sand (to prevent compaction). Lucky for you most of these prime mixes are already pre-made for you in piles of bags sitting outside of your favorite local gardening shop! When filling your containers just remember to mulch the bottom of the container first (just a little) to make sure there is something that will prevent the soil from washing away with the weather and constant watering of your plants.

If you have any tips on choosing the right potting soil, questions about composting, or any comments about transplanting don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below! 🙂