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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).


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!



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! 🙂

More often than not, I hear people say “I’d like to have my own garden..but I just don’t have the room!” Gardening can be intimidating enough as it is. When you include the issue of space and uncertainty it can make a person just toss the idea of growing their own food out the window. My advice? Don’t lose hope! Get creative, think outside the bed that you dream of having.

I want to prove to all of the non-believers that container gardening can be easy and will give you good results as long as you give your plants enough room to grow, keep them in a place where they will receive sunshine, and give them plenty of water.

Container gardening does not have to be expensive. These projects costs pennies when you compare it to the cost of heavy-duty planters at home improvement stores or gardening centers. Those will run you anywhere from $20-$40! Here are some economically-friendly ideas to get you started..

Affordable idea #1

Visit your local thrift stores for large baskets or other large containers that can withstand the drilling of some holes on the bottom for proper irrigation. I found these two baskets at my local Goodwill for $3.25 each. If you go with this route, all you need to to is line your baskets with a trash bag, making sure that you’ve punctures some holes for ventilation. Extra benefit of being thrifty: you can make your container garden as unique and quirky as you’d like. The eclectic look of mixed antiques looks very charming and fun.

Affordable idea #2

Grow bags! While searching the internet for affordable container gardening ideas I was so hung up on the fact that I wanted a structured container for my plants. I was shopping around on Craigslist for cheap wine barrels and found that were was no such thing. Just when I wanted to give up I came across these little gems. Grow bags are awesome because they are reusable, inexpensive, and collapsible. They come in different sizes too, so you can pick and choose which bags work for your gardening needs.

Affordable idea #3


If all else fails, ask around and keep your eyes peeled for buckets and planters that people leave at recycling centers. I found some of my buckets (not pictured) sitting next to a near by recycling bin. They are not big enough to accommodate a tomato plant but they are just the right size for growing kitchen herbs. I also called some local gardening centers to see if they recycled or dispose of any of their planters and found that many of them do. Other places to consider when searching for free buckets or planters: bakeries, breweries, grocery stores, construction businesses, Craigslist, Freecycle.

Cooking a friend dinner as a trade-off for a planter they are not using could be an option too 🙂

If you have any other ideas that you have been successful with please share below!


The season to garden that is!

Summertime is gardening season pretty much everywhere you go. The weather is warm and the sunshine is plentiful..most plants thrive in these types of climates. Even though I don’t have a lot of room to work with, I am trying my hand at gardening with the space I do have so that I can grow some of my own food from the comfort of my front patio. Homegrown tomatoes taste so much better than store-bought ones, and how much more real can you get than being the grower of your own salad?

This summer will be my first try at container gardening. Last year I gardened from home where I had plenty of space to put plants in the soil, 2 acres worth! Since moving, my space has become pretty limited…Feast your eyes on exhibit A

Last fall, I attempted a small garden in our little back patio. I planted kale, lettuce, snow peas, and garlic. I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell from the photo, right? This part of our patio doesn’t get enough sunlight… and during the school year I became so busy I ended up neglecting much of the garden! Also, something ate my snow peas so they were never able to climb the trellis I made for them. Sad day. Look at the weeds that have taken over! :-X Now that I have some more time this summer I can figure out what to plant there. I’m thinking some creeping thyme? Any suggestions out there?

As you probably noticed from the first photo, the containers I have right now for my plants are pretty small. Next post I will discuss affordable container ideas!