Tomatoes: “Fruit” of Labor! 

I remember when, (back in the day on our farm), in a field filled with tomato plants, there was nothing better then to pick a sun-ripened tomato right off the plant and take a big juicy bite of it. Bursting with flavor, juice dripping down my chin, with the thought of eating a belly-filling bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich at the end of a hard day’s work!

If the taste of a juicy, crunchy BLT sandwich has been on your mind lately (and if it’s not, it will be now!), you’ll want to hurry on over to your nearest farmer’s market to get some of the best tasting home-grown tomatoes around, now that they’re in season. That’s only if you haven’t already joined the “grow your own” generation, Population: Many! And if you have joined by this time, both you and I have been savoring every bite of these lip-smacking beauties!

Unfortunately for some of you, since the window of opportunity is now past for growing your own, don’t feel too bad, there’s always next year to plan for!

Since I’m a stickler for planning ahead and being prepared, here’s a list and a few tips for growing your own tomatoes… and guess what? In containers! I’ve been doing it for years, ever since my garden was taken over by critters!

1. Large Container, Pot, or Planter (over 14″ diameter and 12+” deep with drainage holes at the bottom)                                                                                                   

Tip: You might want to check out self-watering containers for obvious reasons. See #5 for additional watering info. 

2. Organic Potting Soil (such as Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic  http://thd.co/1ORPZ02).

Tip: Choose organic for an edible crop that’s healthier for you. 

3. Organic Fertilizer (such as Espoma Organic Garden-tone Herb & Vegetable Food http://thd.co/1OEpPNs)

Tip: See Tip 2

4. Tomato Cage

Tip: Tomatoes require staking to anchor them. 

5. Watering Can

Tip: Keep soil moist but not soggy. Soggy will rot roots. Here is where you might want to look into self-watering containers if you’re not sure of yourself when it comes to how much and how often.

6. Sun: A sunny place that gets no less than 6 hours of sun but much more if possible

Tip: If the plant is in a lightweight container it can be easily moved into the sun throughout the day.

7. Tomato Seedlings (Bush or Vine): Cherry, Salad, Beefsteak or Plum

Tip: For those of you with less space, Bush Tomatoes are a perfect choice for containers since they’re more compact and require very little staking. Unfortunately, they only produce fruits for a few weeks. Vine tomatoes on the other hand, branch out more and grow taller, therefore needing more room with plenty of staking or a tomato cage. These tomatoes are workhorses; they’ll produce fruits all season long up until the time of the Fall frost when the weather becomes too cold.  

Now, while you’re savoring the taste of that fresh BLT sandwich, file this away under: Must Do!: Next Spring. Then, watch for my follow up article next spring taking you step by step through the planting process of these luscious plump fruits! (Yes, you’ve been reading it right… fruits!)

Until next time, be healthy, happy, and garden away!

Psalm 128:2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.