container tomatoes

augiedog55November 12, 2011

I live in kcmo. I'm thinking about growing tomatoes on my deck. I have access to 5 gal.buckets and i have 6 plastic containers that are 65 qt. The 65Qt are 12 inches heigh 18 wide x 24 long. Will these work? If so what varities would you growing them? Maybe heirloom determinates? What soil mixture would you use in them?

Thanks in advance


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The best source of info will be the Container Gardening forum here but I have linked many of the previous discussions on your questions below. I think you'll find they cover your questions and the related details well.

Keep in mind that 5 gallon containers are the smallest recommended size for tomatoes and there are consistent water and nutrient problems associated with using containers that small. If possible plan to use larger containers for best results.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing tomatoes in containers discussions

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 3:53PM
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Hi folks,
I'd say that if you can afford it, just pick a few varieties that look interesting to you and try them out. At worst, you'll have some foliage and maybe a little fruit, and at best you'll have yummy tomatoes to enjoy! From what I've been reading, the dwarf varieties are the latest and greatest for containers. There's a large variety of fruit to be had, and there is a new breeding project going on that I just read about and of course can't remember the name now. A lot of the cherry tomato varieties are also fairly good for containers, and determinate types are probably going to fare better than indeterminates, which tend to grow huge. Make sure you have a good trellis or cage system that will fit in or around the containers, and that the area you intend to plant is not terribly windy--if a container's bottom is narrow and the cage tall, you'll be picking it up an awful lot!

I'm just discovering this process myself, and at one point just decided to buy a bunch of seeds and test them out. I've turned on to heirloom varieties because they look interesting, have fun histories to read about, and by nature have to be pretty sturdy if they've stood the test of time. I'm still waiting for the plants to mature, but I'll keep you posted on any results!

If you'd like, I'd be up to trade so you can test out a variety of seeds. Please let me know if there are any that are of specific interest to you--the odds are pretty good I'll either have it or know where to get it. :-)

Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:38AM
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Garden mom, what kind of Heirlooms are you growing? What kind of conatiners and soil mixture are you using? I've done some rearch and I'm thinking about using 25 gal. smart pots. I've been reading alot about heirlooms and think it would be great to grow "Old Time " tomatoes that aren't hybreds.I'm thinking groing in potswill help with soil borne problems I've heard the flavor is unbelievable.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 2:58PM
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Your 65 qt. containers sound better.

Patio Hyb.
Window Box Roma Hyb.
Bush Early Girl Hyb.
Better Bush Hyb.
Golden Girl Hyb.
Container Choice Hyb.
Stupice (O.P.)

I have not had good success with most "heirlooms" in Earth Boxes or other containers. (Mostly cracking issues.) Hence the majority recommendations for hybrids. If you want to try you luck with heirlooms in containers, you might check out the "Container/dwarf tomato" section of the tomatobase.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tatianas Tomatobase

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 7:04PM
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augiedog, I've been growing all of my tomatoes in homemade 18-gallon self-watering containers for many years now. Those are roughly equivalent to your larger containers. I have successfully grown any type of tomato I wanted to try, although most have been heirlooms. There is no reason to restrict yourself to determinates or dwarfs. You just have to use a well-draining potting mix, and water and feed them regularly. As for your 5 gallon buckets, one of the new dwarf releases, or an old favorite of mine, New Big Dwarf, would be great in those. I'm including a link where you can start reading about the dwarf project. It's really fascinating. BTW, my favorite full-size tomato plant is Stump of the World, so I highly recommend you try one of those (in your biggest container). Good luck, and have fun browsing on-line catalogs and picking varieties to grow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dwarf Tomato Project

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 10:01PM
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I grew tomatoes for the first time this past summer and had great success with containers. I am really space limited so I bought two 56qt planters (27x12x10) and hung them on the outside of the stairs coming up to my apartment. In each planter I had one cherry tomato (sunsugar and another red variety that I can't remember right now)with a pepper, a few basil and parsley/cilantro. They did great!! I couldn't believe how well they did. I think the key was I stayed on top of watering them and I fertilized more than I would have thought they needed. I was so sad when we had our first freeze and I had to toss them.
So to respond to your post these were both indeterminate cherry tomatoes. I got a generic bag of vegetable potting soil from home depot and did nothing special to it. I used cages for support and they got about 5 feet tall (I had to look up at them when I finally took them off the railing). I pinched off alot of the suckers at the beginning of the summer but got lazy and stopped after about a month. Just make sure to to have drainage in the pots, water regularly and fertilize :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Thank you all for your responses. I appreciate each and everyone.Its funny how people can do things different and still have great results.
I've got the bug way to early this I went out and go some perlite and have talked to some people about getting horse and cow manure for free. So i'll build my own compost and hope for the best.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:24PM
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Try the Tumbling Toms! But make sure you only put one plant in each large pot. They come in red and yellow varieties.They are very vigorous bush cherries with an umbrella-shaped branching habit. They are actually rather ornamental! I'm trying to grow some in a greenhouse for winter.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 3:06PM
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Using manure in your pots is probably not a good idea. You need a mix that is light and drains well.I hope someone who knows for sure about this will chime in here.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 5:45AM
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