All Things Gardening forum: Growing Cherry Tomatoes in a Container

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Name: KadieD
Oceania, Mariana Islands (Zone 11b)
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Rainbow
Feb 22, 2016 12:56 PM CST
Hi All!

I would like to grow cherry tomatoes in a 10-15 gal. container and would appreciate tips.
What media mix?
Kind of fertilizer to incorporate into media?
Should I plant seeds direct or transplant seedlings?
How many plants per container?
Growing care?

My climate is warm and humid.
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
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jimard8
Feb 24, 2016 1:10 PM CST
The years I did Patio , A tomato plant rather small They did better in an a 8 to 10 inch pot , Compost about half in the bottom of the pot . The Starter type mixes (more Sphagnum the top half , They did well ,
I will try Tiny Tim That way this season shortly , Usually Only one Plant to a pot ,

I would imagine a larger Bucket size or such ,would hold more than one plant , Only I never did that ,,
In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Feb 24, 2016 1:19 PM CST
I always use those bagged container mixes. Not potting soil, that is pretty heavy but the container mixes are light.

I don't have containers anywhere near as big as yours. But have tried tomatoes in containers many times. Many Cherry types grow into big plants. So one or two only in a container. I always use transplants. If starting from seed you really need to start tomatoes in a very small container. Like a yogurt cup or a paper cup. Later transplant it to your big container that it will be growing in.
Name: Eric
North Georgia, USA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Garden Ideas: Level 1
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CommonCents
Feb 24, 2016 4:32 PM CST
Rainbow said:Hi All!

I would like to grow cherry tomatoes in a 10-15 gal. container and would appreciate tips.
What media mix?

I just use "potting mix" from wherever it's on sale. Sometimes Miracle Gro or Vigoro Organic, sometimes off brands.
Rainbow said:Kind of fertilizer to incorporate into media?

If the mix lists NPK numbers, I generally don't add anything when transplanting. If the mix has no fertilizer or nutrients listed, I apply some balanced fertilizer or "tomato and vegetable" type fertilizer. You could also put some compost in with the mix if it lacks nutrients.
Rainbow said:Should I plant seeds direct or transplant seedlings?

I transplant plants that are garden ready (about 6 weeks old, grown in big "solo cups" or in nursery containers), and I bury about 2/3rds of the plant in the container, leaving just the top shoots exposed. I find I get stronger plants because roots develop along the buried stem(s).
Rainbow said:How many plants per container?

I use 16" diameter plastic planter pots, and I plant one tomato plant per pot, but I often plant a companion basil or cilantro plant opposite the tomato, and sometimes chives or oregano along the edge of the pot between (two chives or oregano starts).
Rainbow said:Growing care?

My container tomatoes are in some hanging tomato planters that I make. I also make these to sell at local farmers markets and crafts markets. Here's a picture of one of the shorter ones I make.
Thumb of 2016-02-24/CommonCents/52f7dc
That one is about 54 inches high. It's made to fit in the space above the porch railing where the railing is 3 feet and the header beam at the top is 8 feet from the deck/floor.
I also make them about 66 inches high (5' 6"), and about 78 inches high (6' 6"). Those have a metal ring at the top that is identical to the ring the pot is sitting in, and more cylindrical nets.
Oh, and almost any 'determinate variety will work well in a large (7.5 gallon or larger) planter pot. I grow "gold nugget" cherry tomatoes, romas in my hanging pots every year. I've also grown Rutgers tomatoes in the past. I've also tried some larger varieties that were determinate types.

PS. If anyone wants the hanging planter in the picture, It's available, along with another one that is pink. I guess I should take more pics and list those in the classifieds here.
[Last edited by CommonCents - Feb 24, 2016 4:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Eric
North Georgia, USA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Garden Ideas: Level 1
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CommonCents
Feb 25, 2016 1:11 AM CST
Newyorkrita said:Many Cherry types grow into big plants

That's worth repeating. The biggest single tomato plant I've ever had was a "black cherry" variety. The plant grew up over a 5 foot cage and I wired another smaller 3 foot cage on top of that. It grew over than, and then it jumped over and grew onto the front porch railing. It grew and filled in 3 sections of the porch railing (about 24 feet x 3 feet of railing area), and it also grew up two of the roof support poles and out onto the porch roof, covering about 100 square feet of the porch roof. That plant was huge and a prolific producer. I still have a few bags of frozen dried tomatoes from that plant from 2012.
Generally, "determinate" varieties grow smaller plants, and do better in containers. "Indeterminate" varieties, even if the tomatoes are small, will outgrow a container fairly quickly.
[Last edited by CommonCents - Feb 25, 2016 1:12 AM (+)]
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Name: KadieD
Oceania, Mariana Islands (Zone 11b)
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Rainbow
Feb 25, 2016 1:25 AM CST
Thank you Rita, Jim, and Eric for your advice. Much appreciated!

Oooh! Eric, you're scaring me with your indeterminate black cherry tomato! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
[Last edited by Rainbow - Feb 25, 2016 1:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Feb 25, 2016 3:18 PM CST
Personally I like to stick to Determinate Tomatoes for planters. Or those Indeterminates created for container growing. Yes, you can grow just about any tomato in a contain, many people do. But I have really good luck with the Determinates.

The cherry types often have sprawling plants that seem to want to take over the entire garden. Hilarious!
Name: KadieD
Oceania, Mariana Islands (Zone 11b)
Wet Tropical AHS Zone 12
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Rainbow
Mar 15, 2016 2:07 PM CST
Question: What herb could I plant around tomatoes to keep pests at bay?
Name: Mika
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cliftoncat
Mar 15, 2016 2:11 PM CST
Marigolds discourage slugs and snails - my grandfather used to swear by them, as did my mother. I always add some marigolds around our tomato plants, partly because they do seem to work, partly for sentimental reasons. Smiling
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Mar 15, 2016 4:09 PM CST
Rainbow said:Question: What herb could I plant around tomatoes to keep pests at bay?


I don't know if it discourages pests but basil goes well with tomatoes.
Name: KadieD
Oceania, Mariana Islands (Zone 11b)
Wet Tropical AHS Zone 12
Adeniums Tropicals Morning Glories Container Gardener Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Rainbow
Mar 15, 2016 4:17 PM CST
Thanks Mika, about the marigolds...I knew that they do help defend against pests, but don't have any seeds.

Rita, thanks...I happen to have some Thai Basil seeds as well as Indian Dhannat Cilantro and Chervil. Hmm?
Name: Mika
Oxfordshire, England and Mento
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cliftoncat
Mar 15, 2016 4:22 PM CST
I don't know if basil plants will deter pests, but tomatoes and mozzarella cheese (both thinly sliced) and basil, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, is a classic - totally to-die-for delicious! Big Grin
Name: KadieD
Oceania, Mariana Islands (Zone 11b)
Wet Tropical AHS Zone 12
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Rainbow
Mar 15, 2016 4:23 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Thumbs up
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Mar 15, 2016 8:43 PM CST
I completely agree with growing determinate types in pots... Totem and Patio are two that I've had good luck with, but there are lots of others...

I would do marigolds -- can't be that hard to come by seeds... ?

And definitely use a container potting mix (and adding in some perlite won't hurt, either).
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Mar 16, 2016 2:10 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:I completely agree with growing determinate types in pots... Totem and Patio are two that I've had good luck with, but there are lots of others...

I would do marigolds -- can't be that hard to come by seeds... ?

And definitely use a container potting mix (and adding in some perlite won't hurt, either).


I agree Good advice here. I grew the patio tomatoes myself in pots last year and they did really, really well. About my earliest producers as far as fruit is concerned.

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