|I have just been given two cherry tomato plants. But I do not have any soil in my backyard it is all concrete and wood. Can I plant them in a planter box? If so, how deep does the box need to be and how do I take care of them?
|Your cherry tomato plants will be quite happy growing in containers. The main consideration when gardening in containers is good drainage from the pots, and good soil in the pots. Use a commercial potting soil rather than regular garden soil to fill your containers. Use pots large enough to accommodate the root mass of the plant you intend to grow. To keep mature plants from toppling over, the pot should be about 1/3 as deep as the plant is high. A five-gallon container is just about right for a full grown tomato plant; smaller containers will support 'patio' or 'cherry' sized tomato plants. Your containerized garden will rely upon you to provide adequate moisture and nutrition. Plan to water daily in hot weather, less if the weather is cool. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer about every third time you water, to provide a constant supply of nutrients to the roots of your plants. It's wise to flush the salts out of the containers every month or so to prevent a build up and subsequent burning of roots and leaves.
Some keys to successful container gardening are:
1. Use large containers--small containers dry out quickly. Be sure the containers have drainage holes.
2. Use a commercial potting mix, preferably one containing some vermiculite or perlite to keep it light.
3. Choose compact varieties, such as bush beans or cukes, or determinate tomatoes. (Or you'll need to rig up a system so vines can climb.)
4. Be diligent about watering; keep soil moist but not soggy. Also, be sure to feed regularly with a balanced fertilizer. (If possible, use some compost in the mix at planting time.)
5. Be sure to place the containers in a place that receives adequate sun. Most garden vegetables need full sun.