Wether you’ve grown tomatoes before or not, its easy to grow tomatoes in pots with these helpful tips on choosing the perfect varieties for your summer container gardening.
If you have limited gardening space, using buckets, pots and containers to grow tomatoes is a great alternative. Thanks to their small footprint, pots and other containers offer an ideal and creative way to get your gardening fix no matter where you live.
Container gardening offers other advantages, as well. For starters, growing a few plants in containers is a lot less intimidating to beginning gardeners than trying to plan and care for a large vegetable garden.
Obviously, it is a lot easier to care for and maintain a small container garden than a large outdoor area. For one thing, this more portable set up allows you to move your tomato plants around so they get the recommended 10+ hours of sunlight each day.
With just a little bit of planning and minimal effort, container gardening makes it easy to enjoy delicious fresh tomatoes throughout the growing season.
However, not all tomato varieties are perfect for container gardens. If you want to ensure great tasting tomatoes – and the biggest possible yield for your small space – be sure to check out the three tomato varieties listed below.
How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots
Choose the Best Tomato Seeds and Starter Plants
With soo many types of tomatoes out there to choose from, vegetable gardeners like us love the variety and endless possibilities that come from growing our own tomatoes.
To grow tomatoes in pots, you’ll first have to think about the purpose of the tomatoes you’d like to grow. Will they be for canning, eating fresh, or cherry tomatoes for snacking?
Once you’ve thought about what you’ll do with your yield it’s time to choose which type of tomato plant and variety you’ll choose.
Be aware that your local nursery may not have all the varieties that you choose. Do some research and order your seeds early by making a free catalogue request from my favourite seed company.
You’ll also want to consider if you’re going to start from seed or starter plants. Starting tomatoes from seed isn’t as hard as it might seem. Learn more about growing tomatoes from seed to transplant in this post.
Indeterminate vs. Determinate Tomatoes – Which One Is Right for Container Gardening?
If you are just getting into tomato gardening, you may not know that there are a couple of different kinds of tomato plants available. While there are thousands of individual varieties to choose from, all tomatoes can be classified as either determinate or indeterminate.
What is the difference between these two classifications and which type should you choose for your garden? Let’s take a quick look at the differences between them and then you can decide which is perfect for your garden or growing area.
One of the biggest difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants is how they bear their crops. Determinate tomatoes yield their entire crop all at once, while indeterminate varieties parcel out their harvest over the course of an entire season.
If you are the kind of person who wants to do all of your harvesting and processing at one time, determinate varieties may be ideal. However, if you want to enjoy fresh fruit all season long, you might want to select indeterminate plants.
Determinate tomatoes are also more compact. In fact, they are often referred to as “bush” tomatoes because of their growth habit. Indeterminate tomatoes usually grow longer vines and need stronger stakes, cages or fencing to support their stems.
In most cases, determinate tomatoes are the better choice if you have limited space or want to grow tomatoes in containers.
So, if you are short on space or want to harvest all of your tomatoes at once, you’ll want to look for word “determinate” (or the abbreviation “DET”) in plant catalogs or on the plant’s label before purchasing.
Then you want to find out when you can expect your tomato plants to produce fruit. This should be listed as a number of days. Knowing this information will allow you to space out your determinate tomatoes so that you can receive early, middle and late season yields, unless you want to do a lot of work at one time.
Gardening tip: if you love to make sauce and can tomatoes, you may prefer determinate tomatoes spaced out at different times throughout the season. This way you can make big batches at different times throughout the growing season.
RELATED: BEST TOMATO VARIETIES FOR PASTA SAUCES
On the other hand, you have the prolific indeterminate tomato varieties. In many cases, just one or two indeterminate plants will take care of your entire family’s needs.
When shopping look for the word “indeterminate,” with the abbreviations “IND” or “INDET.” Indeterminate varieties are an ideal choice for fresh food lovers who want to enjoy bright and succulent tomatoes directly off the vine throughout the season.
When it comes to deciding between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants, there really is no correct answer.
Instead, you’ll want to consider your own preferences and circumstances to determine which is right for you. If space allows, you may find the best solution is to incorporate both determinate and indeterminate varieties into your garden so you can experience the best of both worlds.
Best Pots for Growing Tomatoes
Large Black Pots such as these are great for heat loving plants like Tomatoes.
Best Tomato Varieties for Pots
Japanese Black Trifele
Although the Japanese Black Trifele is considered a great container tomato, be advised that it can be found in both indeterminate and determinate varieties.
Before buying a particular plant, you’ll want to make sure the ones you are considering are the more compact variety. The pear-shaped fruits of the Japanese Black Trifele will develop a deep mahogany color as a sign that it is ripe.
This beautiful fruit is as visually appealing as it is delicious, so this variety performs double duty as an ornamental. As far as flavor goes, expect a sweet and smoky, multi-layered taste. For hands-off tomato growing this is a fan favorite thanks to its hardy nature and stunning good looks.
Sun Gold Pole Cherry Tomato Seeds
This highly popular cherry tomato can be found just about everywhere and since they are not overly sprawling plants, they are perfect for container gardens.
The Sungold’s fruit has a tropical, fruity flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious warm off the vine. This plant is known to be very strong and requires very little tender loving care.
Also, a single Sungold plant can keep your entire family in cherry tomatoes all summer long.
Gardening Tip: Start one or two extra plants about three weeks after your first plant for fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes all season long.
Brandywine Red & Yellow Blend Pole Tomato Seeds
The charming Brandywine variety has earned the title of “my favorite tomato” by gardeners everywhere thanks to its delicious flavor. In fact, it consistently wins first place in tomato taste tests in the United States and abroad.
The highly versatile Brandywine tomato is perfect for container growth. Be forewarned, however… This particular variety can grow rather large, but a couple of sturdy stakes accompanied by consistent and regular pruning can keep it in line.
Alternately, you may prefer to place your container along your balcony or deck railing to help support its growth.
THREE BEST TOMATO VARIETIES FOR POTS
So there you have it – three great varieties of tomatoes to grow in containers. Of course, this list is far from comprehensive. With thousands of tomato varieties to choose from, you are sure to find many other great options for your container garden once you start looking.
A couple of examples include the Wapsipinicon Peach with its delicious and fuzzy fruit or the intriguing Black Krim heirloom variety which yields large purple and red fruits. These varieties, along with the three described above, are sure to be welcome and productive additions to your container garden this season.
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