Any tips on growing good tomatoes?

We have tomatoes growing in containers seem to be taking forever to turn green. Any suggestions on how to make them turn red and yield more?


  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    My experience is that the container needs to be quite large.

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    Since containers are cut off from the soil biome, they usually need to be fertilized differently than plants in the ground. A fertilizer high in nitrogen will help the leaf growth and greening up of a plant in need, while fertilizers high in potassium and phosphorous help with fruit set and quantity.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2019

    Hi - wondering why limit these poor friends to a pot? -- After successfully fleeing more intentional medical butchers a few years ago to save my life, here's what I did : Started with a 3-feet wide thin-skinned row of black plastic a couple of feet from South-side of house on even ground... Next day sparingly mixed some plain dead dirt in with free well-aged 100% horse-pooh in cardboard box, & pulled the little wagon right over to this garden-arena for not just 4 kinds of tomatoes (both Determinate as well as Indeterminate varieties), also 4 ft. sweet Snap peas, & 2 ft.Yellow Bell peppers, & 4 feet of Soyu-long cucumbers, and of course Parsley & Chives etc to keep each other company. Then at just the right time would plant each kind of veggie out to thrive...

    Others insist "must have 4, or 6, or 8, or even 10 inches soil for great Produce harvests", but not true.

    As you can also prove, as did I in post#4 in this discussion Adventures in High Performance Gardening 1. Tomatoes are a one-season plant, & while they like to spread... their roots, who says it has to be down??)) - Blessed with enough of God's Love, & warm sunshine & lots of Compost-tea plus your thankful companionship, your garden as well can flourish... want more proof ? Look at these profuse clusters

    And the best part ? -> Open window while they continually... grow & ripen & pluck their goodness for any meal -> how Blessed is this...

    We're on the other side of Wa, but no matter: you @angelaclay509 can succeed with tomatoes. Have fun ! 😀

  • MissPatricia
    MissPatricia Posts: 318 ✭✭✭

    My tomatoes (Mountain Princess, a slicer) all got spots of disease. What is my problem? The taste is wonderful, but I have to cut out bad spots. My San Marzano did much better. Does it sound like a soil deficiency or what?

  • Leediafastje
    Leediafastje Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    We have tomatoes in pots too. We found that making sure the soil is rich in nutrients before planting helps but, feeding and watering often takes our green tomatoes to red. Sun, sun, sun!

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Amazing plants!

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ah, tomatoes...

    I have grown some of the most fun and beautiful tomatoes and every season is like waiting for heaven for a variety of reasons for me. Some of the things I do to make it the best experience and harvest are:

    I transplant deep, all the way up to an amount of crown that is easily able to take care of photosenthesis, and then slightly slant the soil at the base so water will not stand at the base of the stalk. I always mulch and mostly with straw. I always prune the bottom at least 6 inches of stems off the stalk to prevent disease from water splash at the base of the plant as possible. I always spray a solution of about 1 to 2 TBS of epsom salt in about a gallon of water that is warm enough to dissolve the salt then pour into the quart size spray bottles then spray the leaves with the solution. I do this about once every week and a half.

    I always plant cherry or grape tomatoes to have a continual crop even when the others don't set fruit in the hottest part of summer. I try to boost the foliar growth to be able to withstand pests balancing that with not too much nitrogen to take away from fruiting. I have found that by the time the temps start to cool down and the pests start to diminish I have enough of a healthy plant left to set another couple of fruitings. This is because I do not use pesticide and so they naturally take a fairly hard hit from the bugs, and the other thing I do to help mitigate is to always plant basil and borage in the same big round pots.

    For support I use cattle panels between my heavy laden with soil pots, forming an arch and so trellising is easy and very sturdy.

    Last summer was the first time I grew tastless tomatoes and early this spring I finally figured out why. I was over watering them in the heat last summer. I have not done that this year and thus my maters have been pretty tasty.

    One last thought on tomatoes. Last year I grew the following tomatoes: black elephant, paul rob, pink berkely tie dye, large barred boar and some other familiar heirloom maters. The black elephant was one of the most fun to watch grow and very different. The pink Berkeley and the large barred were beautifully striped with metallic green. The best tasting ones in spite of the problem with diminished flavor of that crop was:

    Paul Rob, Pink Berkely Tie Dye, and Black Elephant. These were bred by Brad from I think it's name is 'Wild Boar Farms', in California, seed from Baker Creek.

    The best were old time heirloom fav's: Brandy wine pink and Cherokee purple. All time favorite cherry was and still is: The ever prolific and smoky sweet Black Cherry, cherry mater.

    New species this year, never before grown but will be in every mater garden I grow as long as I am able to garden: Early girl. It has has been the most prolific producer with certainly pleasant taste.



    [email protected] Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    I live in a small area tightly packed so there isn’t any yard space. So I decided to give it an gardening a try! Lol I know they would flourish if I let them free but I don’t have that luxury.

    [email protected] Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    Give urban gardening a try *

    [email protected] Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    Wow your plants are looking great. I am going to keep pushing this winter I am going to study on plants (book knowledge) lol and be ready to go for 2020 Gardening season.

  • cre8tiv369
    cre8tiv369 Posts: 67 ✭✭✭

    "We have tomatoes growing in containers seem to be taking forever to turn green. Any suggestions on how to make them turn red and yield more?"

    Different varieties perform differently under various conditions and unlocking the best variety for your location, environment , and personal desire is all you have to do (it can be as simple or as complex as you desire). I recommend a few years of as much variety as you can stand. Always try to start with the best soil and consistent regular watering to begin your tomato plants. I prefer to dry farm tomatoes, the dry farming method has delivered the best flavor (but not size or yield), so once I get big bushes/vines I cut all water and let nature take over. So play around and figure out what you want, flavor or yield/size. Most commercial farmers go for yield and size don't care about flavor. The best soil is rich volcanic soil extremely high in silica, which is why some of the best tomatoes are grown at the bases of volcanos as is the case in Italy. (horsetail and nettles are very high in silica and having them in the compost you use on tomatoes can make magical things happen). A lot of gardners throughout time have run into seasons or times where they had trouble getting tomatoes to turn ripe. Cutting water usually triggers most plants to focus on ripening fruit, sometimes in colder climates tenting your plants in plastic to bump up the heat can trigger ripening. Sometimes a gentle pruning or a mild stress on the plant can trigger it to ripen. Sometimes adding a little extra shade for a couple days will do it. A little bit of that depends on variety and overall health, but usually playing with them a little will do it. I dry farm them so I never run into slow ripening issues and I love fried green tomatoes (I have to plant a few late in the spring/summer because I actually want to get some green ones for frying). So lots of variety and experimenting and pay attention to your successes so you can duplicate them again.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    When I was still growing in containers and even when growing in a raised bed I would typically add crushed egg shells (to help provide Calcium), crushed peanut shells, banana peels (for Potassium) and cover up everything before adding seeds. It's meant for a slow decomposition so that as everything breaks down it continues to add nutrients to the soil and therefore the roots and the tomatoes.

  • ArleneWoods
    ArleneWoods Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Tomato's love basil. I do plant some in the garden, but for a potted tomato I put 5 drops of basil essential oil in a small spray bottle with water and spritz it! The plant doesn't know the difference and gets all the benefits as if a basil plant were right beside it.

    [email protected] Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    @ArleneWoods thank you so much that is a great idea! I have some Basil EO... I wonder if I can start doing that now? 😁

    [email protected] Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    @cre8tiv369 wow... I am keeping this comment! Thanks for such detailed info... if anything this is great info for me to keep in mind for next year. Thank you so much.

    [email protected] Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    @Obiora E thank you so much! Next year I am going to have some yummy tomatoes based on all these great tips. My mom has been the main gardener I got a little busy this summer. But I wanted to just heal from some emotional things that had happened in the last two years and a friend suggested I grow a garden. lol

  • Foodgardenguy
    Foodgardenguy Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    We've found that warmth (the tomatoes really explode in warmth) and lots of sunshine speeds up the ripening.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @angelaclay509 Growing food/gardening is definitely a spiritual practice/journey that can lead to heal. i recommend it also to single mothers as a means of getting themselves and their children healthier, understanding where their food comes from, and more.

    [email protected] Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    @Obiora E I am watching a lot of documentaries online about growing food it is so eye opening. No I have to love winter... since the plants need to but it is not my favorite season.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @angelaclay509 Sounds righteous! The plants yes can use the rest but not the is the most active during the Wintertime and it's a good time to put out seeds in preparation for the Spring.