Growing tomatoes is often the impetus to begin vegetable gardening. Let's take a look at some newer ideas and techniques for growing them.

Pop-up Tomato Accelerator

tomato accelerators

Pop-up accelerators create a warmer, more sheltered growing environment that protects transplants from cold temperatures and wind. This allows them to be set out several weeks earlier than usual and can accelerate growth up to 25%. Release the toggles, the accelerator pops open.

A zippered mesh top allows warm air to escape and prevents overheating. It also lets in water. As the weather warms, unzip the top and leave it open to provide increased ventilation. Loops at the base can be anchored to the ground for stability.

Get a pop up accelerator here.

Plant Directly In Bags

You can plant directly into a bag of soil or compost. Lay the bag on its side and use a trowel to make a hole. Carefully knock the tomato plant out of the pot and place it in the planting hole. Gently firm the soil around the plant. Water well. Or simply open the top of the bag and plant.

tomatoes growing in bags

Planting bags like the one pictured below are available commercially.

Tomatoes are heavy feeders so you will need to fertilize plants growing in bags at least once a week. Choose a fertilizer that has a balanced ratio of the three major elements, like a 10-10-10, or one having a phosphorus number larger than the nitrogen number, such as 2-3-1.

man planting in growing bags

Tomato Halos, Tube Waterers and DIY Dribblers

tomato halo

watering halo

tube waterer

DIY waterer made from jug

waterers made from plastic bottles

Mini Grow Houses

Grow houses are available in various sizes. Some have wheels that allow them to be easily moved.

small enclosed hoop ouse

plastic sheeting around plant shelf(Above photo mine)

Get a pop-up greenhouse here

small patio greenhouse

Have an Old Ladder?

Re-purpose it as a support for tomatoes.

old ladder as a tomato support

old ladder as a tomato cage

Upside-down Planters

You may have heard of the Topsy Turvy, which has been around for over a decade. It was the first tomato planter of its kind. Now there are numerous variations.

An upside-down planter lets gardeners grow tomatoes up off the ground, allowing for the added use of vertical planting space. You can buy a planter or make your own using buckets or pots.

Advantages

  1. Allows for excellent air circulation around the plant.
  2. No staking.
  3. Fewer weeds.
  4. Doesn't take up limited yard space.
  5. Allows you to stand while tending plants and harvesting.
  6. Birds are less likely to peck the fruit because it’s harder for them to perch.

Disadvantages

  1. Upside-down tomatoes need frequent watering, and it can be tricky to determine just how much and how often.
  2. Many gardeners experience lower yields.
  3. You generally need to install some kind of hardware to securely hang these types of planters.

topsy turvy tomato plant

(Above photo mine)

5 gallon buckets as upside down planters

homemade upside down planter

Plant Fresh Tomato Slices

Place slices of your favorite tomato variety on top of potting mix in a pot or other container. Cover with about an inch of soil and pat down. Cover the container with plastic wrap to provide warmth and retain moisture. Within a week, your tomato should start to sprout. Remove the plastic wrap.

When seedlings begin to grow, water the pot and place in a sunny location. After about 2 weeks, transplant to a larger pot or into your garden.

Fertilize twice a month and cut off suckers. Give plants about an inch of water a week, being careful not to water the leaves.

Tomato slice propagation is a new one to me, but really, there are seeds in there, so why not? Of course, there is one thing to keep in mind: your tomatoes might be sterile. So you might get plants by planting tomato slices, but they may never beget fruit. Still, if you have a couple of tomatoes that are going south, instead of throwing them out, a little experiment in tomato slice propagation should be order. How to Grow a Tomato from Sliced Tomato Fruit Growing tomatoes from a tomato slice is a really easy project, and the mystery of what may or may not come from it is part of the fun. You can use romas, beefsteaks, or even cherry tomatoes when planting tomato slices. To begin, fill a pot or container with potting soil, almost to the top of the container. Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. Lay the tomato slices cut sides down in a circle around the pot, and lightly cover them with more potting soil. Don’t put too many slices in. Three or four slices per gallon pot is enough. Trust me, you are going to get plenty of tomato starts. Water the pot of slicing tomatoes and keep it moist. The seeds should begin to germinate within 7-14 days. You will end up with upwards of 30-50 tomato seedlings. Select the strongest ones and transplant them to another pot in groups of four. After the four have grown a bit, select the 1 or 2 strongest and allow them to grow. Voila, you have tomato plants!

Read more at Gardening Know How: Planting Tomato Slices: Learn How To Grow A Tomato From Sliced Fruit https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/planting-tomato-slices.htm
Tomato slice propagation is a new one to me, but really, there are seeds in there, so why not? Of course, there is one thing to keep in mind: your tomatoes might be sterile. So you might get plants by planting tomato slices, but they may never beget fruit. Still, if you have a couple of tomatoes that are going south, instead of throwing them out, a little experiment in tomato slice propagation should be order. How to Grow a Tomato from Sliced Tomato Fruit Growing tomatoes from a tomato slice is a really easy project, and the mystery of what may or may not come from it is part of the fun. You can use romas, beefsteaks, or even cherry tomatoes when planting tomato slices. To begin, fill a pot or container with potting soil, almost to the top of the container. Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. Lay the tomato slices cut sides down in a circle around the pot, and lightly cover them with more potting soil. Don’t put too many slices in. Three or four slices per gallon pot is enough. Trust me, you are going to get plenty of tomato starts. Water the pot of slicing tomatoes and keep it moist. The seeds should begin to germinate within 7-14 days. You will end up with upwards of 30-50 tomato seedlings. Select the strongest ones and transplant them to another pot in groups of four. After the four have grown a bit, select the 1 or 2 strongest and allow them to grow. Voila, you have tomato plants!

Read more at Gardening Know How: Planting Tomato Slices: Learn How To Grow A Tomato From Sliced Fruit https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/planting-tomato-slices.htm

tomato slices planted in a pot

Cordon Tomatoes

Tomato plants have two primary growth habits. Determinate varieties grow to a specific height (usually 2-3 feet), set fruit, then put their energy into ripening the fruit. Indeterminate varieties keep growing taller, producing fruit until they're killed by frost. Left alone, vine tomatoes will produce masses of leafy growth with few flowers and fruits. But with regular attention, plants can continue to produce tomatoes into autumn.

The cordon growing method refers to training the plant on a single stem tied to a stake and removing all the side shoots as they start to grow. Ample light and regular feeding will promote flowering soon after the 10th true leaf has formed and will continue to produce bloom trusses up the stem. In a greenhouse, you can have as many as six trusses of fruit per plant by September.

Remove the growing tip back to a leaf joint just above the uppermost truss so all the plant’s energy goes into fruit production. In the proper outdoor location, you should get at least three trusses to ripen fully.

tomato plant showing true leaves

tomato trusses ripening

Straw Bales

strawbale garden

Tomato slice propagation is a new one to me, but really, there are seeds in there, so why not? Of course, there is one thing to keep in mind: your tomatoes might be sterile. So you might get plants by planting tomato slices, but they may never beget fruit. Still, if you have a couple of tomatoes that are going south, instead of throwing them out, a little experiment in tomato slice propagation should be order. How to Grow a Tomato from Sliced Tomato Fruit Growing tomatoes from a tomato slice is a really easy project, and the mystery of what may or may not come from it is part of the fun. You can use romas, beefsteaks, or even cherry tomatoes when planting tomato slices. To begin, fill a pot or container with potting soil, almost to the top of the container. Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. Lay the tomato slices cut sides down in a circle around the pot, and lightly cover them with more potting soil. Don’t put too many slices in. Three or four slices per gallon pot is enough. Trust me, you are going to get plenty of tomato starts. Water the pot of slicing tomatoes and keep it moist. The seeds should begin to germinate within 7-14 days. You will end up with upwards of 30-50 tomato seedlings. Select the strongest ones and transplant them to another pot in groups of four. After the four have grown a bit, select the 1 or 2 strongest and allow them to grow.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Planting Tomato Slices: Learn How To Grow A Tomato From Sliced Fruit https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/planting-tomato-slices.htm

Grow Bags

Grow bags are relatively new to the container market. The bags are often made of felt or non-woven, pressed fabrics with small holes in them to allow air to circulate freely. This free air circulation benefits the roots by allowing them to more efficiently absorb nutrients and water.

5-gallon grow bags work well for almost anything, particularly tomatoes, but peppers, flowers, herbs, potatoes, dwarf fruit trees, and the sugar substitute stevia, will grow well in them also. 10-gallon grow bags are quite large and can accommodate a small garden in one bag.

tomato plant in grow bag

tomatoes in large grow bag

Tomato Cylinders And Compost Towers

Place a wire cylinder over each tomato plant soon after transplanting and keep all the tomato branches inside the wire framework. The plants will eventually grow over the top of the cylinders and down the outside to make a vine length of about 10 feet. Do not prune any branches. Self-fertilizing cylinders utilize a smaller inside cylinder filled with compost.

tomato cylinders

tomato cylinder

Just Outside Your Window

window boxes

Bring the harvest to you. Plant window boxes that hold at least 1.5 gallons of soil. Make sure they have small holes along the sides or bottom for drainage. Notice what's located directly beneath the boxes before you choose this method.

Advantages

Simply open your window and pick tomatoes.

Plant care is easy and convenient.

The higher above ground level plants are located, the fewer insect pests tend to find them.

Considerations

Weight is the primary concern. Cultivate cherry tomatoes (either dwarf bush or vines) since the fruit is light and small.

Window boxes always require proper attachment. Don't just sit them on a windowsill. Strong winds can dislodge plants and boxes if they aren’t anchored properly.

mistakes in growing container tomatoes

Tomato Plants Need Lots of Water

Tomatoes are some of the thirstiest plants you can grow. Water deeply and regularly, especially when the fruits are developing. Irregular watering schedules can lead to rotting, cracking, and splitting so make sure to stay on a schedule.

As a general rule, give your plants an inch or two of water every week. But you may need to provide more during hot, dry times of the year. As the fruits ripen, slowly reduce watering to produce better flavor. However, too little water will damage the plant. Use your best judgment.

When tomato plants take in too much water, especially late in fruit development, fruits grow rapidly and their flavor becomes diluted.

Upcycle And Repurpose Your Old Tomato Cages

Cousin It made from a tomato cage

tomato cage holding a birdbath

tomato cage leaf composters

tomato cage vine tower

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