Containers and Self-Watering Containers

The most important factors when growing in containers will be container size and using great potting soil/ potting Mix. Size of container. For typical varieties of tomato plants use a minimum of 15 gallon containers; 20 gallon is better and 25 gallon is ideal. 1 tomato plant per container. With more soil you will have bigger root systems. Bigger root systems produce bigger tops and bigger tops produce lots of tomatoes. If you are into growing dwarf and Bonsai tomato plants it’s easy to do. Use small containers so you have a little root system.

The second part is using great potting soil/potting mix. This is covered in a separate article: What soil should you use for your tomatoes and vegetables. You reuse last year’s potting soil. I reuse mine. At season’s end gently pull the old tomato plant. Discard along with the soil sticking to the roots. Refill it back up with some new potting soil/mix along with some composted steer manure with compost. … plant 1 new plant. This great potting soil/potting mix holds a lot of water. Remember, one pound of sphagnum peat moss or peat moss can hold 20-25 gallons of water.  And with this great potting soil/potting mix, you cannot overwater.  Water your tomato plant until the water comes out the bottom of your container. 

I experienced much less “blossom end rot” (leathery brown spot on bottoms of tomatoes) This  happens in containers more often than raised beds or regular backyard planting…..you can read more about it in our Blossom End Rot post.  

Self-Watering Containers are something I make. They are discussed more in detail in separate articles. A Self-Watering Container has a water reservoir at the bottom of the container holding about 4 gallons of water. Typical mature tomato plants use 2-3 gallons of water every day. You keep your reservoir full and your plant does not run out of water. With SelfWatering Containers, your tomato plant always gets the right amount of water…not too little, not too much.  This conserves, saves water usage. The water moves up through the soil like a wick in a lamp and the roots of the tomato grow down into the moist environment.