Tomatoes For Container Planting

Some tomatoes are more ideal for containers than others although you can put any tomato in a pot. Just be sure to make it a big pot. It will be constrained by the size of the pot. Determinates, meaning they grow 2-4 feet, are good choices. It will have plenty of room to grow and the pot won’t require as much watering due to it’s mass. A half wine barrel size is perfect. For those with small spaces that can’t accommodate a pot of that size, there are a few tomatoes that will grow quite nicely in a smaller pot than that just mentioned. Or you could try a hanging pot. One note: don’t expect to pick enough to put up 25 quarts of tomatoes. You will have enough to put into your salads and meals and if it’s a cherry tomato, enough to share with your friends. Below are few that I recommend:

 Better Bush Small, compact bush for patio, deck, or balcony containers; fruits to 8 ounces, with old-fashioned tomato flavor; from 3 to 4 feet tall; requires staking. Indeterminate, hybrid VFN, 68 days to harvest.

 Bush Early Girl Small, compact plants with top yield of 6- to 7-ounce fruits and very good flavor. Determinate, hybrid VFFNT, 54 days to harvest.

 Early Wonder Compact plant produces round, dark pink fruit to 6 ounces; full tomato flavor, great taste. Determinate, open-pollinated, 55 days to harvest.

 Patio Perfect for container gardening or limited space. Vines are extremely compact, yet produce medium-sized, deep oblate fruits that are smooth, firm and flavorful. This was a nice tomato and had surprisingly large fruits for a plant this size. Determinate, 70 days

 Mountain Princess  This early tomato from West Virginia has been grown for generations in the mountain climate of the state. Bright red and mildly  flavored, the 8 ounce fruit is round, smooth and solid.  A good short season variety that is also very productive. First introduced in the United States by Heirloom Seeds. Determinate, 68 days

 Season Starter Always grow the first tomato on the block with this super-fast determinate variety! It sets huge yields of juicy-sweet 6 oz fruits. Resistant to cracking, they hold on the plant very well after ripening. A great choice for northern climates, where the growing season is short. Determinate, 60 days

 Green Grape  – Personal Favorite These are the first, fully ripened green cherry tomato. You don’t expect them to be as yummy as they are when you bite into them. Fruits are delicious, juicy and sweet. They turn a lovely golden green when ripe and are wonderful straight from the vine. Mix with Sweet Million and Sungold cherry tomatoes for a rainbow  salad. Use in a large container planting on your deck. Determinate, 70 days

 Hundreds and Thousands  Hundreds Yes. Thousands? Not really, but you won’t go short of tomatoes with this variety. A single plant in a 13” basket produced a very impressive 504 fruits from the start of August until the end of September. The sweet, mini-cherry fruit measuring just 15 mm in diameter and are very flavorful. 

 Tumbler  Specially bred for hanging baskets. Bushy plants look fantastic mixed with lobelia and alyssum. Sweet, bright red fruits. Determinate, 45 days

 Polar Beauty  Developed in Alaska for colder climates, it bears small to medium-sized oblate tomatoes with a good, full tomato taste. Short, bushy plants are productive. Determinate, 63 days.

Siberia This might be the earliest tomato ever – only 7 weeks from transplanting to table. Capable of setting fruits at 38 F on sturdy dark green plants. The fruits are bright red, 3 to 5 oz. and bunch in clusters. Also good for a patio. Determinate, 48 day.

Bushtsteak This surprisingly compact (20-24”) plant is just loaded with large, flavorful tomatoes. Well-suited for a patio, small garden and containers, the dwarf plants offer big meaty fruit (8-12 oz.) and early maturity. Determinate, 65 days

Cougar Red  This is a new red tomato that has been grown and tested for cool summer temps with a short growing season. This meaty, medium sized fruit is good for home processing. The flavor is a good mixture of sugar and low acid. Plants of Cougar Red are vigorous and semi-determinate

Glacier Extremely early, cold-tolerant, high yielding special strain of tomato plant. Begins flowering when only 4” high. You can expect 2 to 3 oz. fruits with outstanding flavor for such an early tomato. Semi-determinate, 45 days

 

Pictured is a green grape cherry tomatoImage

 

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Sunday Night, April 28

Today was an extremely windy day. Not cold or rainy but the trees were flying high. After church, we opened at 1 pm. A slow day, customer wise which surprised us since it was a weekend. I need to change my website verbiage to reflect that all the varieties are ready to be rehomed with the exception of a couple of tomatoes. I love getting repeat customers, they are so excited to pick out new flavors and colors. I like to think of it like a theme park for tomato lovers! Tomorrows another day.

 

Green Grape Tomato

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Green Grape Tomato

What can green do for you? Don’t let the color fool you. this is very, very sweet cherry tomato and it bursts in your mouth with a satisfying juiciness. They are ping pong sized and turn a lovely golden green and give to the touch when they are fully ripe. Yum. They look beautiful in a salad with other colored cherry tomatoes such as black cherry, sungold, sweet million, italian ice and the pink sugary.

Whew! Tomato Transplants Are All Done, 6500!

Took me almost four days but they have been relocated to their own little patch of heaven, a 3.5 inch pot! Better yet, I got the website up and updated with all of my 2013 varieties, all 161 of them. My peppers have been updated too, 41 varieties. If you are interested in tomatoes and peppers, check it out. There is a lot of info on how to plant them and grow them to great heights. Plus, you will be amazed how many kinds and colors there are.

the website address is:   http://www.thetomatolady.com

Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

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Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

After an initial watering from the top, we bottom water so as not to encourage damping off. They will wick it up from the bottom getting right to where it needs to go – the roots.

Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

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Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

This is a shelving rack with ordinary fluorescent lights hovering just above flats full of tomato plants. The lights need to be close to provide light and warmth otherwise the plants will get leggy

Starting Tomatoes and Peppers From Seed

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Starting Tomatoes and Peppers From Seed

When growing for your home garden, start seeds 8 weeks prior to the last frost date. Always use sterile seed starting mix and sterile pots. Buy them new every year or sterilize used pots with a 10% bleach solution. Sometimes I run mine through the dishwasher on the top rack and toss a little bleach in before I start the wash cycle (damping off can be a real problem if you don’t.)

Place the seeds on top of the medium; cover with about 1/4” inch of mix and press down with your hands to smooth. Sprinkle with water from a “gentle” watering can to avoid washing the seeds away. I then fill my flats with hot water until they start floating, they will absorb this.

Put them in a warm place. Mine go under ordinary fluorescent lights, about an inch away from the flats, in the dining room. The heat from the lights keep it warm. (You can use bottom heat such as a heating mat or the top of refrigerator if you like.) Bottom water as needed, don’t let them dry out. In about a week you should start to see germination. Grow them under the lights until you see the first true leaves, a pair of true leaves. Transplant into larger pots.

Peppers seem to take forever to germinate, sometimes as much as 3 weeks. Tomatoes can be up as early as 4 days from planting.

Key points for maximum success:
sterile seed starting mix
sterile pots
warm location for germination
water from the bottom
good ventilation

These basic instructions work for just about every seed you want to start in pots to get a jump on the season. I will post more on starting different kinds of seeds and their needs in other posts so stay tuned.