For anyone who does not own an in-ground garden, the best place for growing tomatoes is in containers.
Even though most of the vegetables grow healthy in pots and containers, tomatoes are one of the easiest of them. However, it is essential to use the best soil for tomatoes in containers to make that happen.
A single tomato plant can earn you several fruits given the right soil, nourishment, water, and care. The process, though, is adventures. It will either land you with flat disappointment or red and juicy rewards. Though if you want to avoid the common mistakes, consider providing the best growing medium, enough light and adequate water to your tomato plants.
Step by step process of growing tomatoes in containers or pots
Planting is all about process and patience. Here is the step-by-step process of growing tomatoes in a container at home. Have a look:
Pick the right container
The first step for growing red, juicy, and healthy tomatoes is picking up a suitable container. Go with the thumb rule; bigger is always better. Because tomatoes have an extensive root system, they will require a large container to spread profoundly.
Take at least one 4-to-5-gallon container and drill holes at the base. Holes will help in providing good drainage. Anything from a clay pot to whiskey barrel halves or terracotta pot, choose as per the availability. Clay pots, though, are the best options, but they are a little too heavy to move.
Also Read: How Many Tomato Seeds per Hole?
Best Soil for Tomatoes in Container
Texture and type
Every plant needs the correct type of soil to grow the best crops. Though tomatoes grow best in all kinds of soil, avoid heavy clay. Instead, go for loam and sandy loam soils.
You must confirm that the soil is well-drained and loose. Tomatoes neither do well in dry soil, nor they would grow in excessively wet soil. If the soil you choose has clay components, you can add sawdust, peat moss, or other amendments. It will improve its texture and quality.
Soil fertility is one of the most important factors to focus upon. Because tomatoes need moderately fertile soil with a good amount of organic matter, be cautious about it.
Right before the plantation, prepare the soil by incorporating good quality compost. You can add fertilizers that contain phosphorous and potassium. However, avoid fertilizers that have high nitrogen content.
Nutrition content and pH value
Another essential thing to consider is the soil’s nutrition and pH. Its pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of any soil. Neutral pH of 7 is great, but higher can result in alkalinity and lower acidity. There are several soil testing kits available today that will reveal nutrient content and pH. You can get them online or in any garden store.
While testing if the pH comes acidic or alkaline, you will have to neutralize the soil. For best tomato growth, neutral or near-neutral soil is essential. For lowering the pH, add fertilizer or elements with ammonium sulfate to the soil. Whereas for increasing the pH, add ground agricultural lime into the soil.
TIP: While growing tomatoes, avoid using garden soil directly. Garden soil is marked as heavy and may contain fungi, pests, and pathogens harmful to plants.
Also, gardeners believe garden soil becomes more compact with every watering cycle. It further leads to a great decline in water-absorbing capacity and oxygen level in the soil.
Also Read: Do Tomato Plants Self Pollinate?
How to Make Potting Mix for Growing Tomatoes at Home?
Tomatoes are easy-going plants, and so is the preparation for them. You can even do it at home in a cost-effective way. Here’s the process for the same.
We have three different recipes. Here are the ingredients for the same. Have a look:
Potting Mix 1: Garden soil, sphagnum peat moss, Perlite, and vermiculite, or sand.
Potting Mix 2: Garden Soil, Crushed eggshells, Bone meal, and Compost
Potting Mix 3: Pre-soaked Coir Peat, Vermiculite, Compost, and Vermicast (humus)
Mix all of them (separately) and store them in a container.
Also Read: Why Are My Tomato Seedlings Wilting or Dying?
Difference between Tomato Seed and Sapling
While you are going to grow tomatoes in a container, there are two options to choose from, Seed and Sapling. If you have enough time in hand, you can go for Tomato seed. It will take approximately 2 to 3 weeks extra than a sapling. Or, if you are under time strain, choose to plant tomato saplings. You can easily get them in your nearby garden store.
Also, because there are several varieties of tomatoes around the world, choose the one that can grow in your climatic condition. Often while buying seed and saplings online, individuals tend to shop for the wrong ones. Instead, try visiting your local plant shops or meet local gardeners for more intelligent guidance.
Also Read: How to Increase Tomato Fruit Size?
Too much or Too Little Water
Too much, too little, inconsistency, more often, watering inappropriately can ruin your tomato plant. The key rule for growing healthy tomatoes is keeping the soil not wet, not dry, but consistently moist. Where too little water can cause blossom end rot, too much can make the plants drown.
The amount of water also depends upon heat, humidity, wind, kind of soil, size of the pot, etc.
Some Tips on Watering your Tomato Plant the Right Way:
- Avoid watering the leaves as it will lead to fungus production. For a similar reason, avoid watering during the night hours as well.
- Check the moisture level by pushing your finger one to two-inch inches on the soil layer. If soil sticks to your finger, you can skip a day of watering. Though if it feels dry, your tomato plant requires immediate watering.
- Another tip is to hold the pot and feel the weight. If it feels too heavy for its size, the soil has enough water. Though if it feels light, the soil lacks water.
- Also, make sure your container has enough holes in the bottom, ensuring drainage.
- Ensure you use fertilizers at the right time and of the right quantity.
- Apart from the best soil for container gardening tomatoes, fertilizer is another important thing to look out for.
- Tomato plants require high nutrition and, thus, at the time of plantation, time-released fertilizer.
- Further, use soluble fertilizer once a week, right after two weeks of the plantation.
- Make sure there is enough support for the Tomato plant to stand strongly
- Once the tomato plant grows, it, instead of getting straight, will surely bend. Further, with fruits increasing on them, they will begin touching the ground. Thus, either some mind of wall support or create one manually. Confirm the support you are reliable upon can hold the weight of multiple heavy tomatoes right before the time of harvesting.
Also Read: How Long After Flowering Do Tomatoes Appear?
All the above efforts some fruitful at the time of harvesting. Depending on the variety, pick tomatoes when completely red, yellow, orange, or green. Though at times, the tomatoes that seem red from outside can still be raw from inside. Thus, consider pressing it a little to check the ripeness.
Also, pluck tomatoes only near/ right at the pedicel. Do not destroy the stem and other parts in the process.
How to Plant Tomatoes at Home?
- Take a big enough container and ensure it has enough holes on the bottom.
- Now fill the best soil for growing tomatoes in pots/ containers. Fill it lightly and do leave about 5 to 6 inches of space from above. Make sure you fill the pot light and fluffy and avoid stuffing it tightly.
- Now dig a hole, 1 to 2 inches maximum. Fill tomato seeds and cover it will soil. If you are using saplings, make sure the hole has good enough space to let the roots sit finely.
- Moisturize the soil lightly. Refrain from overwatering. Water at least once a day to ensure enough moisture in the soil. Use a garden hose instead of other pressure objects.
- Provide your tomato plant at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day. You can either place it in the desired position or move them daily.
- Things to keep in mind while parenting tomato plants in containers
- Avoid planting too many seeds or saplings in one single pot. It can prove counterproductive. Depending upon the pot’s size, leave a good enough gap between two plants. Remember, as they will begin growing both above and under the soil, parts will require more space.
- If you have grown too many plants in one single pot, consider moving them once they start growing. Do this process before fruits begin to sprout.
- Tomatoes grow quickly; thus, waiting too long to cage them can end with adverse results. It is advisable to cage them before they grow large.
- Use fertilizers at the right time. Over and underuse of fertilizers will never help you in growing the best tomatoes.
- Always look for the right quality and fine quantity of soil. Water and soil are two main components that can make or break your plantation efforts.
- In order to develop strong stems, the tomato plant needs to move and sway. If there isn’t enough wind in your area, you can use a fan instead.
- A tomato plant starts showing fruits, especially when the temperature is between 55 to 58 degrees.
- Tomatoes are prone to bugs and diseases; thus, check for their health regularly. You can also do netting to prevent the same.
Also Read: How far Apart to Plant Tomatoes in a Raised Bed?
Frequently Asked Question
Is potting soil good for tomatoes in containers?
For growing tomatoes in containers, potting soil is the way to go. Also, if you aren’t looking for extra efforts to prepare soil from starch, choose potting soil mix.
Where do tomatoes grow better, ground or containers?
Tomatoes have an extensive root system; thus, the ground is the best place for them to grow. However, if you are looking to grow tomato plants in a container, you can go for it. Just make sure the container is at least 5 gallons to hold well a full-grown plant.
Should you mist tomato plants?
No, avoid misting tomato plants, or it can lead to fungus and other plant infections. Misting can lead to an excess of moisture that is not good for tomato plants.
Which is the best time to grow tomatoes?
Summers are the best time for tomatoes. Begin plantation process in late spring or early summer weeks, though avoid Zone 10.
This was all for the best soil for growing tomatoes in pots. In the end, we hope that all the information and guidance above will help you. Growing tomato in pots and containers is an easy task. Tomatoes is an easy growing fruit and require minimal care and maintenance. However, a little care here and there is required.