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Grow Tomatoes Anywhere

A garden is not necessary in order to grow tasty tomatoes this summer. All you need are a few large containers and some time devoted to tomato care.

While an old pot and a pair of nylons may not appear to be keys to growing great tomatoes, appearances can be deceiving. Any container that is at least twelve inches deep and five gallons in volume is a good vessel in which to plant tomatoes. Be sure the container has holes in the bottom for proper drainage. The nylons (or a plastic bag with a few holes) come in handy for lining the pot, keeping soil in its place and retaining the moisture that tomato plants love. This method of growing tomatoes is obviously useful for people without a yard or garden plot, but it is also a great way to decorate a patio for the summer.

Regular potting soil works well for tomatoes in small pots and planters. When using a large container, use a soil-less growing mix since it retains the moisture tomatoes love. You can use garden soil as long as you mix in some peat moss, vermiculite or Perlite to improve drainage. Tomatoes need six to eight hours of light, so be sure to put your containers in sunny locations, and if need be, move them as the sun changes position.

The dwarf variety of tomato plant is particularly well suited for container growing. Cherry tomatoes, such as the Tiny Tim or Pixie II varieties are good choices. Once a week mix a bit of soluble, balanced fertilizer in with your water. The tomato plants will thrive with regular small doses of fertilizer, as opposed to infrequent, larger doses. While tomatoes are generally attached to stakes, these tomatoes can simply hang over the side of the pot, if you prefer. When transplanting the tomato plants, place the plant in the pot so that the bottom set of leaves is just above the dirt. Be sure to water the plants often since the roots cannot reach for more water as they can in a garden plot. This means that you will probably be watering them once a day during the hottest part of the summer.

While container tomatoes may require a little extra care than their garden-variety cousins, that extra effort is rewarded tenfold when it comes time to make a salad with fresh summer tomatoes.

Sources include: National Gardening Association; The Virtual Gardener, .