May 06, 2024

Planting your own garden is a great way to get delicious fresh grown food right in your own backyard which can be convenient and cost-effective. Even if you don’t have a big yard or garden area, you can still grow tomatoes in a container on a deck or patio. All you need is a large planter and a spot with lots of sun!


Pick Your Tomatoes

First you need to determine what type of tomatoes are best for you to grow. Typically, determinate tomatoes (also known as bush tomatoes) tend to be more compact and suitable for growing in planters. If you have room or a vining tomato, you can also choose an indeterminate tomato variety. Once you determine what type of tomato you want to plant you will be ready to start!


Choose a Big Container

Tomatoes have deep roots and need a lot of room to grow. Keep this in mind when picking out the right container for them to grow in. Depending on the variety of tomato you choose, you might need a different size pot so be sure to check what size you need. Typically tomato plants need a 5-gallon to 10-gallon container but some could benefit from a 15- to 20-gallon container. You want to make sure the container is big enough that the tomato plant has room to grow and won’t be stunted, but if the container is too big, it may lead to overwatering. Make sure your planter has good drainage to prevent excess water from harming your tomatoes. It’s better to get a plastic container that will not hold in heat from the sun throughout the day. Too much retained heat may dry out the soil and cause your plant to wither or be stunted in growth. Get a lightweight, plastic pot that will not dry out as quickly. If you’re looking to find a great planter option, Tusco Planters have a variety of options to choose from with a wide range of sizes that will be perfect to accommodate your tomato plants.


Pick a Sunny Spot

Tomato plants need lots of sunlight so be sure you have a spot that can accommodate their need. Tomatoes need six to eight hours of sun per day. Find a spot that gets lots of sunlight so your tomatoes can grow.


Use Good Potting Soil and Fertilizer

The garden soil from your yard may be too dense and heavy for your containers. It may also carry diseases or pests with it that could harm your tomatoes. You should get a good potting soil mixed with nutrients. Make sure the soil is light and fluffy so the roots can grow freely. Tomatoes will need constant nutrition as they grow. Feed them fertilizer on a regular schedule or mix in a slow-release fertilizer with the soil.


Plant Tomatoes Properly and Add Support

When you plant your tomatoes, be sure to plant them deeply enough to encourage root growth. Put in some potting soil, about 3-5 inches. Then add the tomato plant. You’ll want the tomato plant stem to be about half to two-thirds of the way covered with the remaining soil. Remove any leaves from the area of the plant that will be covered in soil. Once planted properly, you can add mulch to the top to help retain moisture. Add a support structure like a stake, trellis, or cage to give your plant something to hold onto as they grow. Once tomatoes begin growing, they may break the stems with their weight. A support structure will help to prevent this.


Water Regularly

Tomatoes are thirsty plants and need to be watered on a regular basis. You’ll want to water your plants in the morning to provide hydration all day. On especially hot days, you’ll want to water them in the afternoon as well so they don’t dry out. On heavy rainy days, you can skip the watering, so they don’t get overwatered. If you aren’t sure if your tomatoes need more water you can push your finger into the top inch of soil to see if it’s dry. If it is dry, then your plant needs a drink. Having a tray under your planter will help to catch excess water that runs through the soil. The tray will help to protect your patio or deck and help provide extra moisture throughout the hot day. Be sure to monitor how your tomato plants are doing and if they need more or less water. If you give them too much water, they could drown, if they get too little water, they could develop blossom end rot. Avoid getting water on the leaves of the plant to prevent blights and fungus. Be consistent with your watering schedule to keep your tomatoes happy and healthy.



Each variety of tomatoes has different growth rates and harvesting schedules. Picking tomatoes after they ripen on the plant will provide the best flavor. Ripe tomatoes will have a deep and uniform color, give slightly when gently squeezed, give off a strong fragrance, and release from the stem with a gentle tug.


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