If you like the tomato variety you’re growing, you have a great opportunity to grow duplicates. All you’ll need is a large container (5 gallons or bigger), compost, peat moss, perlite. You can of course grow the plant directly in the ground too, just make sure you amend the soil.
This is the easiest way to grow tomatoes, you don’t go through the hassle of planting seeds.
The main rule is to clip of the branches on the sucker’s stem, and to bury it until its very top leaves. Water generously the first time, but don’t drown the plant or else the roots will rot.
The most important thing to remember with tomatoes is that they are heavy feeding monsters when it comes to soil nutrition and water, so the need lots of room and really good compost. Never plant them in anything smaller than a 5 gallon container, and always keep feeding with compost.
You can grow anything in containers, its the soil quality that will determine the strength of the plants. I found that the plants in my small containers are doing better than those in my big boxes, this is because I put my own homemade compost in them.
Here is a closer look :
You can mix and match your favorite leafy greens and herbs, you can forget about the spacing rules like I have here, because we have a short winter, I won’t wait for the plants to reach their full size to harvest, instead I will harvest individual leaves. This has been working really well. The plants don’t mind being crammed in a small space.
This vigorously growing tomato plant was grown from cutting, meaning I inserted a pruned stem from another plant into the container, and watered it until it developed its own root system. Its growing exceptionally well, I didn’t even get to stake it yet, and its sprawling on the wall and on the ground.
Seeing my container plants’ progress and success in my homemade compost encourages me to make as much as I can for my future plantings.
My soil components are again 1/3 homemade compost + 1/3 peat moss + 1/3 perlite
You can place the containers anywhere that’s in full sun, and enjoy the fresh vegetables all season!
Catfacing usually happens to large tomato varieties like Beefsteak, Big Beef, Brandywine, and Cherokee Purple. Although catfacing can cause a tomato to be rather unsightly, most times it is harmless and the tomato can still be used. The larger one in my photo can not be used, as it is also developing blossom end rot.
Catfacing is caused by a drop in temperature when the tomato plant blooms, or begins to set fruit. It can be very difficult to control tomato catfacing since it is dealing with temperature. Brandywine tomatoes are one of the most difficult tomato varieties to grow, and catfacing is one of the most common problems. All I can do to prevent this is pick the catfaced fruit, and hope that I’ll get regular ones now that the weather has settled a little.
“Potting-up” is just the term for moving seedlings out of the seedling tray or small container and into a larger container–usually a 4″ pot.
Start by taking a look at the stems of your tomato seedlings. The fine “hairs” lining the stem develop into roots when they come into contact with soil, and so burying a large portion of the stem at planting time effectively doubles the size of the plant’s root system and encourages productive plants.
In this post, you will learn how to create Mel’s Mix on a very small scale. You can do the exact same mix for your containers, whatever their sizes. Just make sure each ingredient is 1/3 by volume.
What you will need:
-Organic Vermiculite and Peat moss, both by Espoma, found in Truevalue for under 3 KD per 8.8L bag.
-Organic compost. This time I’m using my own homemade compost. You can use organic compost from Almashatel, which will include manure and will have a strong unpleasant odor.
-Pots, you can use plastic pots,recycle milk cartons, anything really that will hold the soil and plant, as long as it has drainage holes at the bottom, its fine. I am using these very cheap pots from True value that were on sale at the time.
-Water. (watering can above from Ace hardware)
The way these ingredients will be divided is 1/3 each. This is called Mel’s Mix, created by the genius behind the Square Foot Gardening Method: Mel Barthalomew.
And this is the same formula I will be using to fill my raised beds soon, which will be the final location for my plants.
*Make sure you wear a mask for protection, as the compost and vermiculite dust particles can get in your lungs.
*Make sure you work in an area that is easy to clean, place plastic under your work area if it isn’t.
*Always wear gloves.
Steps to pot up tomato seedlings:
Start by filling the pots with 1/3 compost. The compost will provide all the nutrients, in this method we will not add fertilizer, so don’t skimp on the compost, its there to feed.
Add 1/3 peat moss which will keep the mix nice and fluffy.
Vermiculite is a natural mineral. It starts off sort of like a flaky rock. When heat is applied, it expands and becomes a light, fluffy, fire-resistant material. There are numerous uses for this product (like insulation), but here we’re using it as a soil conditioner for our garden beds. It helps keep soil light, allows for good airflow, and absorbs and retains water. See how dusty it gets?
Make sure you mix it together really well.
Next, carefully take the seedling out of its container, Make sure to handle plants by the root ball or leaves, taking care to protect the fragile stem. Massage the roots gently to loosen them up. and place it on a small layer of your mix. Water gently and add some more mix lightly around the plant, until its stem is completely covered in soil. Snip off any leaves that will be covered by soil.
Water lightly enough to moisten the soil, don’t drown the plant.
Make sure you label the containers, keep them in the shade for a few days. You will notice drooping for a while, which is entirely normal, and called transplant shock. Tomato plants are one of the most resilient plants and will bounce back all the time, unless seriously damaged. Just take a look at the way they managed to survive in the tiny peat pots I had them in for more than a month.