Convinced of the value of container gardening for the rural people living in the drylands on all continents, I have been promoting lately the gardening in plastic bottles or bags. It goes without saying that the right choice of vegetable varieties, adapted to the local situation, is very important too.
Here is an article on container gardening with some information on varieties chosen for Ohio (USA). May it invite interested people in sharing ideas and information on “the best container varieties” for the different regions.
I am looking forward to read about Columbus Foodie’s results.
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Columbus Foodie (Eating my way through Ohio one day at a time)
This year, instead of planting anything into the ground, we’re trying our hand at container gardening – about 6 varieties of tomatoes (Brandywine, Black Prince, Romas, Cherry 100s, Roman Candles, and I can’t remember the last variety offhand), 2 varieties of peppers (Anaheim and Fajita Bell), and some herbs (parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro, and catnip) – just to see if we fare better than we did trying to plant it directly into the clay-heavy Ohio soil the past few years. While our previous attempts were OK, we had trouble getting enough compost and organic matter into the mix.
I’m amazed at how prolific these tomato plants are – these were tiny seedlings just three weeks ago when I bought them at the North Market. No fruit set yet, but soon.
Here’s the Black Prince:
and the Brandywine:
I’ll keep you all posted as the growing season continues.
ETA: By the way, if you want to try your hand at growing tomatoes, it’s not too late, especially if you choose early varieties – check out these wonderful tips for growing tomatoes from Veggie Gardening Tips :
The theme of the latest issue of the Gardening Secrets Newsletter centered on Homegrown Tomatoes so I thought I’d post a brief summary here of some of the tips for growing tomatoes that were covered in the newsletter:
- Starting Tomato Seedlings Indoors – Growing tomatoes from seed will enable you to get a jump on the growing season and also choose from the hundreds of unique tomato varieties that are available to the home gardener.
- Transplanting Tomato Plants – Don’t rush your seedlings into the garden before the weather warms up. Also, plant tomato transplants deeply or slightly horizontally placing more of the stem underground to promote root development.
- Fertilizing Tomatoes – Go easy on the nitrogen-rich fertilizer sources; instead provide extra phosphorous and potassium which will encourage the production and ripening fruit, rather than the development of overly lush vines with few tomatoes.
- Tomato Mulches – Plastic mulches, while not biodegradable, will help to raise soil temperatures. If you use organic mulches such as straw or shredded leaves, don’t apply them until after the soil has thoroughly warmed up.
- Train Up a Tomato – Tomatoes are like kids in that they just love to climb. So give them a tall support in the form of cages, trellises, stakes, Florida Tomato Weave, or your own improvised support system that will enable the plants to stretch towards the sky.
- Pruning Tomato Vines – Pinch out some of the sucker and side shoot growth to help keep the plant size manageable and to open the tomato plants up to more sunlight and air flow which will improve both plant health and fruit production.
- Watering Tomato Plants – Provide consistent moisture to help reduce tomato blossom end rot, but try to avoid saturating the tomato foliage at night, and limit the amount of handling or harvesting of the plants when they are wet.
- Favorite Tomato Varieties – I’m a big fan of heirloom tomatoes, the varieties that our great grandparents raised. You may sacrifice some productivity and disease resistance but you’ll be rewarded with incredible flavor and amazingly attractive fruits.
- Harvesting Tomatoes – There’s no secret here, just allow the fruits to fully ripen on the vine, then pick and enjoy them at their best. Grow a cherry tomato plant and there will always be a delicious sun-baked snack waiting for you in the midst of the garden.
If you enjoyed these tips for growing tomatoes you won’t want to miss the next entry where I’ll share an assortment of tomato gardening ideas that have been provided by other gardeners that visit this site or subscribe to my Gardening Newsletter.