In small spaces, tomatoes are best grown in 9-inch pots or even in stone circles with a plastic base. Lay a piece of plastic to protect your terrace or balcony, make a circle of stones around the edge and pile soil in the middle of the circle. Plant the tomato plant in the pile of soil. As you water, you may need to shore up the sides of the pile with more stones. It’s best to situate the soil pile near a deck or balcony railing, and tie the tomato plant to the slats for support.
Tips for growing tomatoes in pots:
- When buying young plants, choose ones with straight, sturdy stems with at least 4 to 6 leaves and no flowers or buds.
- When transplanting into your containers, if the roots do not seem abundant, set the plant extra deep in the planting hole. It will form roots along the underground portion of stem.
- Insert stakes early to avoid disturbing or damaging the roots later.
- Prune the plant to a single or double stem by removing any branches that grow from the leaf axils, leaving just the main stem. Tie the stem loosely to the stake every few inches.
- When fertilizing, be careful not to use a feed with high nitrogen, which will result in lush foliage at the expense of fruit production. Nitrogen content is the first number in a fertilizer’s 3-number code. For instance, in a 5-10-10 fertilizer, nitrogen is the 5. This would be a good choice for tomatoes.
- To ward off pests, plant marigolds in pots near the pots of tomatoes, or even try planting all together in one container (shown).
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