3 Best Kitchen Garden Tomato Varieties and How To Grow From A Seed
If you have limited gardening space, using buckets, pots and containers to grow tomatoes is a great alternative. Thanks to their small footprint, pots and other containers offer an ideal and creative way to get your gardening fix no matter where you live.
Container gardening offers other advantages to become an All Year Gardening gardener.
Growing a few plants in containers is a lot less intimidating to novice gardeners than trying to plan and care for a large vegetable garden.
It is a lot easier to care for and maintain a small container garden than a large outdoor area. For one thing, this more portable set up allows you to move your tomato plants around so they get the recommended 10+ hours of sunlight each day.
With just a little bit of planning and minimal effort, container gardening makes it easy to enjoy delicious fresh tomatoes throughout the growing season.
However, not all tomato varieties are perfect for container gardens. If you want to ensure great tasting tomatoes – and the biggest possible yield for your small space – be sure to check out the three tomato varieties listed below.
All Year Gardening with Container Tomatoes – Here are the Best Varieties
Japanese Black Trifele
Although the Japanese Black Trifele is considered a great container tomato, before buying, you’ll want to make sure the ones you are considering are the more compact variety.
The pear-shaped fruits of the Japanese Black Trifele will develop a deep mahogany color as a sign that it is ripe.
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As far as flavor goes, expect a sweet and smoky, multi-layered taste. For hands-off tomato growing this is a fan favorite thanks to its hardy nature and stunning good looks.
This highly popular cherry tomato can be found just about everywhere and since they are not overly sprawling plants, they are perfect for container gardens.
The Sungold’s fruit has a tropical, fruity flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious warm off the vine. This plant is known to be very strong and requires very little tender loving care. Also, a single Sungold plant can keep your entire family in cherry tomatoes all summer long.
Gardening Tip: Start one or two extra plants about three weeks after your first plant for fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes all season long.
The charming Brandywine variety has earned the title of “my favorite tomato” by gardeners everywhere thanks to its delicious flavor. In fact, it consistently wins first place in tomato taste tests everywhere.
The highly versatile Brandywine tomato is perfect for container growth. Be forewarned, however… this particular variety can grow rather large, but a couple of sturdy stakes and consistent and regular pruning can control it. Alternately, you may prefer to place your container along your balcony or deck railing to help support its growth.
So there you have it – three great varieties of tomatoes to grow in containers. Of course, this list is far from comprehensive. A couple of examples include the Wapsipinicon Peach with its delicious and fuzzy fruit or the intriguing Black Krim heirloom variety which yields large purple and red fruits. These varieties, along with the three described above, are sure to be welcome and productive additions to your container garden this season.
With thousands of tomato varieties to choose from, you are sure to find many other great options for your container garden once you start looking.
All Year Gardening Tomato Sauce
When and How to Grow Tomatoes from Seed
Growing tomatoes from seed isn’t too difficult, but it does take a little know how. For starters, you have to start with the right kind of seeds. You won’t get great results with hybrid tomato varieties. They just don’t grow true to the parent plant the way a good, old-fashioned heirloom will.
So do yourself a favor and start with seeds from your favorite heirloom varieties and follow the steps outlined below. Soon, you’ll be growing the healthiest and most beautiful tomatoes you can imagine.
You’ll want to start this process indoors roughly 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost in your area. If you aren’t sure when to start, use the “First and Last Frosts Date Calendar” that should do the trick. Then, just work backwards from that estimated date and sow your seeds 6 to 8 weeks before that time.
To get started, purchase several containers of sterile seed growing mix. Moisten your containers, and make very shallow rows with a pen or pencil about 1/4 inch deep.
Drop the seeds into those furloughs roughly 1/2 inch apart. With your thumb and forefinger, tenderly pinch together the soil to cover each furlough, placing 1/4 inch of soil over each seed.
Water very gently, and then place these containers in an area which consistently reaches and holds 75 to 80-degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures.
As soon as you see the seeds begin to sprout, immediately add a strong light source from either florescent grow bulbs or natural sunlight. After about a month you will notice the first “true” and identifiable tomato leaves begin to appear. This tells you that it is time to transplant your seedlings to bigger containers. This is known as “pricking out” your seedlings.
With a spoon or fork, scoop out each individual tomato seedling. Transplant individual seedlings into containers at least 3 to 4 inches in diameter filled with moistened potting mix.
Gently water in the seedling after planting. When spring weather reaches and holds 55-degree temperatures at nights, move your plants out into the sun for a few hours at a time to harden them off. Gradually increase sunlight exposure daily over a week, until they can sit outside all day.
Before transplanting your seedlings, be sure to check the pH level of your soil to ensure it is not too acidic or alkaline. You’ll want your soil pH to be between 6.0 to 6.8 for tomatoes.
To test your soil, go to “This Spring Beware of Toxic Mulch” for a straightforward video using kitchen ingredients, or you can buy a tester kit here or from your garden store.
When you are ready to transplant your plants, remove the bottom branches and plant up to just below the bottom leaves to ensure healthy growth and a strong root system. Add tomato support in the form of cages or stakes and water gently. As your tomato plants grow, simply water soil when dry and enjoy your harvest!
If you can’t eat, cook or give away your tomato harvest, here are “8 Ways To Preserve Your Harvest and Enjoy Your Produce All Year.”