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Tomatoes are a great fruit to include in your container garden and when you’re choosing your varieties, look for ones that are labeled VFN because they are resistant to pests and diseases. V indicates resistance to verticillium wilt, F indicates resistance to fusarium wilt and N indicates resistance to nematodes.
There are two kinds of tomato plants: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes are the bush varieties and they grow to no more than 3 feet tall. Indeterminate tomatoes are a vine and they mature either mid or late season. Indeterminate types are also very common because they can last until the frost kills them and produces big round fruit.
A trellis or support is necessary for indeterminate varieties. Once the plant reaches the end of the trellis or cage you can start cutting back the main stem. Tomatoes will keep setting blossoms right into the fall; clip them as they will not have time to mature before the frost. This keeps the plant's attention on the fruit it’s already set.
How do I Grow Tomatoes?
Grow your tomatoes from seed indoors or transplants. The season is too short to grow them from seed outdoors. Start by sprinkling five seeds of each variety you want into individual cups of vermiculite, six weeks before last spring frost. Just barely cover your seeds with vermiculite and water. After 1-2 weeks at 70 F your tomato seeds will start to sprout, once that happens move them to a spot where they will get full sun. For early season tomatoes such as Oregon Spring and Siletz, plant as early as when the nights are above 7 C. Wait for the rest until night are reliably above 10 C.
As soon as your seedlings are large enough, pot them up in seedling trays and keep an eye on your young plants as any interruption in their growth will determine how much fruit they will bear. Plant them a bit deeper than their current soil level. Be sure to harden them off by putting them outside in the day and bringing them inside at night before planting outside.
Transplant your plants into their container when the danger of frost has passed and cover them to protect them from cold and wind. When your tomato plants are 18 inches tall remove the cover.
Regularly check your container’s reservoir and fill as needed so your tomatoes receive the water and nutrients they need.
1 cup: Vitamin A (25%), Vitamin C (32%), Vitamin K (15%), Potassium (10%), Folate (6%)
Check your tomatoes daily for firmness as that’s when they are ready to be harvested. Cut the stem off ripe tomatoes to remove them from the plant. If you leave your tomatoes on the vine for too long, they will get mushy and soft.
Preparing and using
Tomatoes can be used in a number of ways such as for cooking or canning.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Prune suckers back often to keep your tomato plant under control and producing fruit. If your tomato plant produces blossoms soon after transplanting clip them off to help the plant focus on establishing a root system.