Growing tomatoes in containers can be quite rewarding but for newbie gardeners it almost always is a disaster. Tomatoes are inevitably always struck by the dreaded tomato blight disease, which is sometimes out of our control, but there are other simple, yet silly mistakes that we tend to make that often leads to a disastrous crop. If you can avoid making these mistakes, you can increase your chances of growing tomatoes successfully in containers.
Common Mistakes in Growing Tomatoes in Containers
Using Small Containers
When it comes to growing tomatoes in containers, the bigger the container you have the better. A bigger container holds more soil and therefore more nutrients and water holding capacity, which are highly essential for a healthy tomato crop.
Watering your tomato plants properly is another very important aspect for growing tomatoes successfully. If you pour too much water, your plant roots will rot. If you pour too little water, your tomatoes will end up with blossom end rot. If you water inconsistently, that is pour too much and then compensate for it by pouring too little or vice versa, you will end up with split tomatoes.
So here’s what is critical for tomato plants to grow successfully in containers : keep the soil moist and damp, not wet. Before you water the pour water, check if the soil is moist. Put your finger into the soil until your second knuckle goes in. Now remove and touch your fingertip. If the soil feels dry to the touch, add water.
Also make sure your soil has good drainage. Make sure your tomato container has large holes at the bottom and the water drains out well. If you’ve got a lot of money to splash on a self watering container, even better. Use it to have more control over the water supply to the plant.
Keep in mind the wind, heat, humidity, size of your pot and the potting soil you use when watering the plant. Sometimes you can water the plant once a day, at other times you may need to water them twice.
Also, when you water, make sure to give the plant a real good soaking. Don’t just give a few sips of water to wet the top soil. Finally, water the soil directly. Don’t water the leaves, because wet leaves can lead to fungus.
Too Many Plants
Avoid planting more than one tomato plant per pot. Unless you have a seriously big container you should avoid planting more than one plant per pot.
Not Enough Sunshine
Tomatoes are sun loving plants so place them in a spot where they can get full sun. That’s about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, no compromises whatsoever. If a change in the season shifts the sunlight in your terrace or where the pot is located, move your plant to a new location where there is full sun with no obstructions.
Not Enough Fertilizers
Tomato plants are heavy feeders and require frequent fertilization. Most potting mixtures have little or no nutrients that are needed for plants to grow healthy. Therefore you need to add nutrients to the soil. There are many organic fertilizers specifically sold for tomato plants that you can add to your potting soil. In addition, you can use a diluted fish emulsion/seaweed liquid, once every week or two. I also spray a liquid solution of Epsom salts every two weeks for my plants.
What problems have you encountered with your tomato plants? Have you found a good solution to getting a good yield of tomatoes in containers? We’d love to hear your thoughts.