Courtesy of Botanical Interests | www.bontanicalinterests.com
- Sow tomatoes indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date. Starting tomatoes indoors gives you a nice head start for faster fruiting by providing warm temperatures for fast germination (ideally 70°–90°F).
- Up-pot seedlings from small cell containers to 3”–4” containers once the true, scalloped leaves appear. This gives their roots plenty of room to steadily grow.
- Transplant seedlings when air temperature is above 45°F and after hardening them off to keep them growing strong.
Learn more about growing tomatoes in Botanical Interests’ Tomato: Sow and Grow Article.
Tomatoes for any Space
Short or bush tomatoes are usually determinate types that stop growing when their top growth produces flowers, and all of their fruit is produced around the same time. These types are ideal for containers, small spaces, and for harvesting a lot of fruit at once to can or freeze.
Tall or pole tomatoes are indeterminate types. Because they can reach 6’ or more, resembling more of a vine than a bush, some sort of support is ideal. Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing and producing flowers and fruit on their growing tips until freezing temperatures set in. Because of their height, growing these in containers can be a top-heavy challenge.
Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Containers
- Go big! Choose containers that are 4 gallons or larger to accommodate the large root system of a tomato plant.
- Stake or cage your bush tomatoes to prevent damage from wind and keep fruit off the soil, which can cause damage.
- Sow a few successions of bush/determinate tomatoes 3 weeks apart to keep the harvest coming!
Tips for Growing Tall Tomatoes
- Trellising saves space as compared to caging. You can plant tomatoes at almost half the spacing and they will be narrower on a trellis.
- Choose tall, sturdy cages and consider adding a stake to secure them in the ground. Remember, pole tomatoes can get 6’ tall or taller and that is a lot of weight.
- Harvest frequently to keep plants producing more fruit.