“I have a deep garden box with soil and fertilizer. I plant tomatoes and they never do well. I am getting frustrated. This year will be my 3rd try!” Question from Janis of North Attleboro, Massachusetts
Answer: There are several reasons why your potted tomatoes may not be succeeding. I will list several potential reasons, and then provide some suggestions for this year’s container tomatoes.
Potential reasons for container tomato failure:
The garden box is not draining well.
The box is not big enough.
You are watering too often or not often enough.
You are growing indeterminate, or vining, tomatoes.
Your tomatoes are diseased.
For your third try, follow these tips for success.
Make sure your container is draining very well and its soil is fast-draining and porous. Also, consider planting your tomatoes in a larger pot. Watch the video below to see what size containers work for me.
Feed with a fertilizer formulated for tomato growing.
Choose a determinate, or bush, tomato that is certain to grow well in your Massachusetts climate. ‘Celebrity’ is an award-winning red slicer that always performs well in containers. ‘Glacier‘ is a flavorful cocktail tomato that grows well up North. ‘Sunrise’ sauce tomato is a super sweet, golden sauce tomato that is perfect for pots.
Place pots in full sun and keep them evenly moist but not wet. Water most frequently in hot, summer weather.
Cage your tomatoes.
I hope that these tips help!
Happy tomato growing,
Black Gold Horticulturist
About Jessie Keith
Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.
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