If a picture paints a thousand words, I can probably say a few words about the tomato plants growing in this picture.
It’s a good example of how to grow tomatoes in containers and there are a number of points to make.
The wall is painted white
This helps maximize light on the leaves and it’s easier to see what’s going on behind and keep a look-out for aphids etc. Professional growers use white plastic sheeting in their greenhouses to reflect light upwards.
The leaves and leaf branches are removed up to the trusses with mature fruit. This aids air circulation but still leaves plenty of leaves for photosynthesis and foliar feeding.
Tomatoes growing to full size before they ripen
For me, this season has been a season of two halves. My lowest trusses that struggled through the months of rain and dull weather have tomatoes ripening before they reach full size.
When plants are stressed, they sometimes ripen their fruit early – before reaching the size of their variety.
Surprisingly, some of my bush varieties are producing a second batch/flush of tomatoes that are of better size than the first flush.
Trusses have tomatoes of consistent size
As the weather has improved, the upper trusses are now behaving as they should and the tomatoes are all around the same size.
The fact that the plants in the photos are displaying such good results is a credit to the growing conditions and grower of course!
Each plant variety is clearly labelled
Every season I end up with one or two tomato plants that escape labels and remain anonymous. Doesn’t matter too much until you grow a variety that does really well and you don’t know what it’s called!
The whole area is clean and weed-free which reduces the chance of air-borne fungal attack and aphids.
There are some diseases that are spread by weeds and aphids. A weed carries a virus which is passed on to an aphid when the aphid feeds on the weed. The aphid then feeds on a tomato plant.
Curly-Top is one such virus which stunts growth and displays very tightly curled leaves at the growing tip – there is no cure.
Growing on gravel
Growing large pots on gravel means that roots are able to grow out of the pot bottoms and absorb more moisture when necessary. Plants get less stressed if they know that there is more water available should they need it. Growing pots on grow bags is also a good idea.
Selection of Varieties
Some seasons, certain varieties will excel while others will produce poor results. Growing a number of different varieties is the surest way to get a good crop.
However, in the picture you can see that every tomato variety is growing well and is a credit to the tomato grower.
Thank you to the person who sent me the photos!
More information about growing in containers here.