Growing Tomatoes in Pots or Grow Bags

Ruth Ann Reyes
Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 580 admin
edited April 2018 in Our Garden: Growing Food
Yes.  I grow half of our tomatoes in containers.  I find this gives some advantages over in ground tomatoes:

- I can cheat the weather and extend my growing season by one month on both sides.  I have had my early tomatoes planted for over a month.  For the couple of unusually late frosts this Spring, I simply moved them into my greenhouse and garage.   I do the same in the Fall.

- I can move them to wherever gets the best sun.

- This facilitates soil rotation to prevent tomato diseases.

 

Tomatoes work best in fairly large containers/pots/bags.  For smaller varieties, a 5 gallon pot can work... but larger is better.   Containers dry out faster than garden beds.  Depending on your weather and container size, you may need to water every other day.

 

M

Comments

  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 580 admin
    edited April 2018
    Thanks, Mike! My next question was going to be what size container/bag... So, thanking you for that information! It get's pretty hot and sunny here in Texas, so I think I'll need to water pretty often.
  • MikeF
    MikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Yeah, I am in the South-East.  Our summers are very hot and sunny too.  In July I used to need to water my container tomatoes at least every other day.

     

    Then I got some drip watering spikes that screw onto a 2 liter bottle, and slowly dispense the water over a day or two.  These gave me an extra day between waterings.

     

    M

     
  • H_D
    H_D Posts: 384 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Ruth,

    We used 5 gal pots last year (4 plants) that didnt get nearly enough attention they needed ..but we did manage about 4 dozen maters

    Heather
  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 580 admin
    edited April 2018
    Great advice Mike! Thanks heaps!

    Heather, hey...that's not bad!

     
  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 580 admin
    edited April 2018
    I'm curious about growing in containers or bags because I'm growing some heirloom seeds for Seed Savers Exchange this year....and I have to grow them 100 feet from my other tomatoes. So, my only option (at least at this point in time) is to grow them in grow bags! I hope this works out!!! Thanks for your help!
  • H_D
    H_D Posts: 384 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    We have used grow bags in the past with great success ...not tomatoes tho ;)
  • MikeF
    MikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Yes, containers (pots or bags) are great for the ability to relocate your plants as needed.  You can move them to better sun, or isolate a sick/infested plant, or isolate a plant for pure pollination.  If you have enough land, you can move your seed savers far away from your other tomatoes.  Or you could relocate them into a grow tent or popup greenhouse to isolate them.

     

    If you can't relocate your plants, another option is to simply block a few branches from pollinators.  I had some luck with putting a fine mesh bag over a few branches to keep the bees etc out, then removing the mesh a few times a week to manually pollinate with a Q-tip.

     

    Let me know if you have any other questions about container gardening.  I spent several years only container gardening before I began to move towards permaculture and sustainability.  I have container grown many things that people would say "will not grow in containers"...  including:  watermelon, corn, wheat, fruit trees, and a grape vine.  (wheat and corn in novelty quantity only)  :)    Tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc are much easier in containers!

     

    One more tip for your container tomatoes:  I found my container Toms sometimes more susceptible to Blossom End Rot (BER).  BER is most often caused by fluctuations in moisture and/or calcium deficiency.  I improved this by adding ground eggshells (finely ground, not crushed for better absorption) when planting, and working to keep the watering consistent.

     

     

    M

     

     

     

     
  • Shelli Haun
    Shelli Haun Posts: 3 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2018
    I agree with Mike, I've grown peppers & tomatoes in 5 gal pots, onions in 1-2 gal pots, and corn in a tall kitchen garbage can.  Squash I've done in big low storage containers up on a table and a kiddie pool. I love the ability to move them where and when I need to. Makes it easier to inspect them and isolate them if there are problems.
  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 580 admin
    edited April 2018
    Heather,

    What did you grow in bags?
  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 580 admin
    edited April 2018
    Shelli,

    Love these ideas!
  • Ruth Ann Reyes
    Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 580 admin
    edited April 2018
    Thanks Matt,

    You're a wealth of information!

    Our property is fairly large and I can easily keep them hundreds of feet away from the others.

    With that said, I am very interested in growing in containers as well...you see, I have Texas black land prairie clay and it's been a real challenge to amend. The local ag office recommends expanded shale, which we've added this year. Seems like plants with short roots grow great....as the soil is actually very fertile. But, anything with a deep root systems seems to literally be suffocating :(

    Have you ever grown in whiskey barrels? If so, tell me about that!

  • maryekitch
    maryekitch Posts: 1
    edited April 2018
    I have grown cherry tomatoes in my flower containers in my front house.  They grew find, had about 6 plants and they all gave me delicious red cherry tomatoes.  Each time I took some out more would grow had them all summer.

    Maryellen
  • H_D
    H_D Posts: 384 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2018
    Ruth,

    Cannabis .. it was a test.. we had one lonely seed that survived beyond all odds. We were actually gonna just toss her but decided to give her a chance to grow on her own with a little extra help using homeopathy, compost teas and some crystals for good measure lol ..the other plants (in a hydro system) were all at another stage of growth and we couldn't just add it to the system ..so we opted for a grow bag ..

    Heather

    Heather
  • MikeF
    MikeF Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2018
    I only have one half whiskey barrel, because I had not found an affordable source.  Paying $50 at the garden center is not worth the money.  :)   I have a ~5 year old lemon tree in it.    We need to keep our citrus in containers as they will not overwinter outside here.

     

    My other container citrus (lemon, lime, orange, mandarins)  seem to be just as happy in 20-30 gallon fabric pots, which cost $5 each.

     

    I like to use fabric pots for any "permanent" container plants.  The breathable fabric sides encourage better root growth, and get less root bound than hard containers.

     

    M