The Q&A Archives: Tomatoe Planting

Question: I will be growing my tomatoe plants in clay pots. What size pots should I use and how many plants should I plant in each container? I live in Northern California however the soil in my yard is to sandy to plant. Any help would be appreciated since this is the first time I am growing tomatoes.

Answer: If you're growing determinate type tomatoes (plants that produce one main crop), you can use a smaller container - about 5-gallons. Indeterminate tomato plants keep growing and producing all season long. These plants can max out at 6'-8' so you'll need at least a 10-gallon container. You'll need one container for each plant for maximum growth and fruit production. If you crowd the plants together in a single container they'll compete for moisture and nutrients and fail to produce as well as they otherwise could. Use commercial potting soil in your containers and water as often as necessary to completely moisten the soil. Clay pots will wick moisture from the soil to the sides of the pot, where it will evaporate. This is good from the standpoint that the soil will hold just the right amount of moisture around the roots of your plants. But, because of this wicking action, clay pots require more frequent watering. Check the soil daily and water as needed. Be sure to situate your tomato plants in a sunny site and provide enough space around each plant for good air circulation. Hope you have a wonderful harvest!

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