Tomatoes are the perfect crop for small spaces: rewarding, productive and delicious.
Few people know more about growing tomatoes in containers than Nick Chenhall, tomato enthusiast and the man behind the excellent Tomato Growing website.
In the video below, Nick shares his six top tips to get a big crop of tasty tomatoes. Watch the video till the very end to discover that tomato growing is not Nick’s only talent!
In a nutshell Nick’s six top tips are:
1. Choose the right size container for the variety
- At least a six litre (1.5 gallon) for dwarf, bush types or vining cherry tomatoes.
- At least a ten litre (2 gallon) for a larger beefsteak tomato.
2. Grow cherry tomatoes rather than big beefsteak tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes grow and ripen more easily, and will usually give you a better crop. Dwarf, bush cherry tomatoes (perfect for small pots and hanging baskets) recommended by Nick include
- Tom Thumb
- Balconi Red
- Balconi Yellow
And vine cherry tomatoes varieties Nick recommends include
- Black cherry
- Gardeners delight
- Sungold (F1)
- Sun Cherry Premium (F1)
Chose a non F1 variety if you want to save your own seeds – it’s easy to do with tomatoes (here’s how).
3. Ensure the roots of your tomatoes receive a good supply of air.
- Add 10 – 20% perlite to your growing mix
- Use an Airpot or drill lots of small holes in the side of your pot for the roots to breathe.
- Or, insert a tube with holes drilled in it, into the growing mix.
4. Support your tomatoes with stakes or strings.
- Bush tomatoes also benefit from support.
5. When watering, it’s important the whole soil area is saturated with water.
- Add a cup of used washing up water to your watering can once every couple of weeks. This acts as a wetting agent, and helps re-wet areas that have dried out.
6. Feed little and often
- Nick recommends using a tomato feed, diluted more than on the instructions and used more often.
- For example, you might feed half the recommended dose twice as often.
What’s your favourite tomato variety or tomato growing tip? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
More tomato growing tips from Nick in the Vertical Veg Club – including the best organic feeds, how to train tomatoes, and the benefits of transplanting baby tomato plants into transparent plastic beer mugs!