Container Gardening at its Best!

August 19, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

container gardening

My San Marzano tomato plant

Have you ever been interested in growing your own food if only you lived in a pastoral country setting or had lots of suburban lawn to turn into a vegetable garden? Well, it’s time to wake up from those daydreams and get growing now! Container gardening is the answer, and it’s not just for growing flowers. Even with limited space or just a sunny apartment balcony, you can grow food in containers – even tomatoes. Containers don’t take up much space, they’re portable, and you control the quality of the soil from start to finish.

This year, in addition to the tomatoes I’m growing in my raised beds, I’m also growing some in containers. The kind folks at employee-owned Gardeners Supply Company granted me Christmas in May when they provided me with two of their Organic Tomato Success Kits to try*. Yep – these are the same folks who are supplying the GRAND PRIZE for my annual “Guess my Harvest” contest. Have you entered yet?!

The Organic Tomato Success Kit comes with everything you need to grow great tomatoes anywhere including the soil, fertilizer, container, and cage for support. You can purchase casters for the bottom so the whole thing becomes easily movable and an extension for the support cage in case you’re growing taller, indeterminate tomatoes.

container gardening

These sturdy brackets hold the cage firmly in place

Here’s what I love about the Organic Tomato Success Kit:

  • The container itself is attractive and comes in a choice of three colors that have the look of a clay pot, but the durable plastic is much lighter and will last forever. I’m growing these right on our deck next to where Mr. President and I dine al fresco, so it’s important to me that they look nice.
  • There are these cool brackets that firmly attach the support cage to the edge of the pot. Even with my unruly and heavy plants, the cage hasn’t toppled over.
  • In my raised beds, I use ladder supports for my tomatoes. But, the cage that comes with the kit is good for patios and decks because it sort of corrals the vines and helps keep the plant contained to some degree.
  • I found the instructions for assembling the cage and container to be easy to follow and intuitive. Both kits were ready to plant in 30 minutes.
  • Because of the self-watering reservoir, you never water the tomato plants from above. When you limit overhead watering, you limit disease potential for healthier foliage and more tomatoes.
container gardening

Assembling the cage

I had a problem with blossom end rot on one plant that I’ve hopefully corrected with an application of calcium spray. In my raised beds, I add a small handful of garden gypsum to the planting hole for my tomatoes to prevent blossom end rot. Because the Organic Tomato Success Kit already had a fertilizer mix, I wanted to see how that would work on its own. Now I know that even with the fertilizer mix, I will need to add a bit of the gypsum before planting.

You will need to fill the water reservoir almost daily, especially when you have mature tomato plants. Sometimes, self-watering pots need only to be filled every week or so, but these are not the type that can be left unattended. I think the main benefit of the reservoir isn’t that you won’t need to water, it’s that the plant is never watered from above.

It’s best to grow plants that are known to be on the smaller side or a determinate variety. Some of the plants in my raised beds are more than 8 feet tall and would never work in a container.

container gardening

Ready to plant!

Overall, I love the Organic Tomato Success Kit  – it makes container gardening so easy. I have a Sungold tomato plant in one of them and a San Marzano plant in the other. Both plants are doing very well, and I look forward to using the kits for many, many years.

*Even though I was provided these products and agreed to try and review them here on Tomato Envy, I never recommend a product to my readers that I have not had firsthand success with.

 

 

 

 

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Category: General, Home and Garden, Kitchen Garden

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