Hanging Tomato Plants – ideal for small spaces

Glad to report my first tomatoes are ready to harvest.

I always like to have a few tomato plants, even if I have managed little else. They taste so much nicer picked off the plants and eaten minutes later, you gte that tomato aroma that only comes with vine ripened tomatoes.

I had a comment a few years back that my cherry tomatoes were the best tomatoes my brother in law had ever eaten and he just gobbled them down like cherries! That is why I grow my own and it seems I am not alone in needing a yearly tomato fix.

Tomato plants are very popular for deck or patio gardeners because they are always available early summer in containers at stores and garden centres. There is often a hanging basket version too, and I decided to try one this year. That said, as is often what happens, I had good intentions of actually hanging this under the porch, but did not actually get around to doing that (don’t worry the story ends well!).

Why not?

Well I bought the hook but I needed to drill a small hole first, to have something for the screw to start on, and never got the drill out. Any way, turns out I am glad I did not hang the basket for two reasons.

Firstly, where I would have hung it is in full sun, but rather out of sight and I might not have been able to keep an eye on it, which leads me onto reason 2 – plants in containers need watering daily or twice daily in hot weather and it seems that hanging baskets are smaller and have less soil so dry out even quicker. I usually put my tomatoes in the ground and had forgotten how quickly containers and pots dry out.  It ended up being a rather mobile plant and has been moved around on the patio according to sun and wind conditions. I can see it out of my kitchen window, and even in sight there have been a couple of times when it has started to look rather dry and I have rushed out with a jug of water to perk the plant back up. You can tell when a plant needs water as it starts to droop – see picture.

Take home message?

My biggest tip for growing tomatoes in pots or baskets, if you are new to patio or container vegetables, is keep them well watered. Secondly, and this also relates to the size of the pot and how much soil is in there, you will have to add fertilizer at some point as it will use up the nutrients quickly once the tomatoes start to grow. Use a fertilizer for vegetables, there are lots on the market. Just do that little and often so that it doesn’t get washed away and has a chance to be absorbed in to soil.

Nothing else needs to be done, except snapping off dead leaves or stems every now ad again.

Then you can enjoy fresh as you can get healthy, delicious tomatoes loaded with the antioxidants lycopene and Zea-xanthin, Vitamin C and A and very importantly, especially if you are trying to keep you blood pressure down, Potassium. Get watering!

Sarah Rush, RD

I am a Registered Dietitian. Living in different countries around the world with my husband and 3 children has shown how much of an impact, culture, advertising and food availability has on the way we eat.

I firmly believe the way forward must be a more sustainable food system with a holistic approach to eating and health.

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