The Q&A Archives: vegetable garden

Question: I don't seem to have much luck with tomatoes plants. It's not that they don't get tomatoes but not many and the plant itself never looks healthy. I plant in a pot on near the porch area. The pepper I plant seem to do OK, not great but OK. Is there a difference in the type and size of planter? Does planting anything like merigolds around the plant keep insects away?

Answer: Tomato plants have deep roots so your container might not be large enough to accommodate healthy root growth. Use a 5-gallon container for each plant and fill it with potting soil or a 50/50 mixture of garden soil and potting soil. The container should have lots of drainage holes so excess water can freely escape. Some tomato varieties are more adaptable to growing in containers. I've had good luck with `Floradel', `Walter', `Big Boy', and `Stakeless' so you might want to try those this year. Aside from lots of sunshine, adequate water and occasional feeding, your tomatoes won't need much attention. Marigolds repel some insects but healthy plants typically won't suffer too much damage from insects, especially if you monitor them on a daily basis. If you spy an insect pest, just pick it off the plant. This way the pests won't have a chance to multiply and overtake your plants. Good luck with your tomatoes this year!

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