This is a good time to start thinking about final position planting and containers for tomatoes to grow your plants to maturity.
Here are a few options:
- Standard Pots
- Air Pots
- Fabric Pots
- Grow Bags (with or without grow pots)
- Hanging Baskets and Topsy Turvy Planters
- Oasesbox – see below
- Quadgrow Planter
- Autopot System
- Hozelock Waterer
Another important consideration is the way the containers will be watered.
Watering, auto watering and holiday watering
Perhaps a good place to start is by stating what we are trying to avoid:
- Saturated soil without enough air.
- Soil that doesn’t hold enough moisture and dries out too quickly.
Containers for tomatoes stood in trays require a wet/dry cycle or a reservoir. The good thing about these methods is that plants can drink any time they like without saturated soil or other growing medium.
One of the issues when keeping water in trays is algae growth and the many uninvited little critters who appear. If a tray can be made light-proof, algae and other unwanted growth will be prevented.
Containers that drain freely, including hanging baskets, require watering at least twice daily in hot conditions – the best method is a timer. Plants can only absorb moisture while it is available
Option 1 – Top Watering
Hozelock Timer + Watering Kit
This is one of the simplest methods but can take some time to set up.
Great for holidays but doesn’t water and feed at the same time.
Option 2 – Plants in Trays
Water Container + Aqua Valve or Smart Valve + Tray
This is one of my preferred methods because feed can be added to the water container. The valve creates a wet/dry cycle which is ideal.
Open trays are best made light-proof to avoid algae growth.
A variation on this method is a deep tray full of gravel or perlite which can also hold water.
Option 3 – Autopot System (easy2grow)
Similar to the above and comes as a kit.
I’ve had great results from this system.
Option 4 – The Quadgrow Planter
Also very good and uses a reservoir system
Probably the simplest to set up!
Option 5 – Hozelock Grow Bag Waterer
An effective way to water grow bags using a reservoir system.
If plants are in fruit on a warm day, the modest size of the reservoir will need a regular top-up. This could be done with the hozelock timer.
Option 6 – Manual Labour or the Neighbour!
If you have a lot of plants, watering can be very time consuming so it’s best to have a backup plan for holidays and emergencies. Reservoir containers for tomatoes. also called self watering planter are very good.
The only job I’m not too fond of is cleaning the large pots!
A good first pot for your seedlings is a polystyrene thermal cup – the kind you have coffee in without burning your hand! It’s easy to make holes in the bottom, the white surface reflects light and they are less prone to temperature changes. Thanks to a newsletter member Kaldip for the tip.
In a dull cloudy summer, white reflective surfaces make a difference. All professional growers are very aware of the need to maximise light.