Quick Answer: A To Z Guide To Grow Tomatoes In Small Spaces
Tomato plants grow well and yield juicy tomatoes even in small spaces. You may start with transplants in containers, boost the soil, provide support, use hanging baskets, plant tomatoes upside down, and grow them indoors. The different tomato varieties that grow well in small spaces include bush beefsteak, Tiny Tim, Tumbling Tom, Better Bush, and Patio Hybrid.
Are you interested in growing tomatoes in small spaces? If yes, this is THE Right guide for you!
Written using my own experience of growing tomatoes in a garden at home, insights from books, research papers, and tips from other gardeners, this guide will for sure help you.
Read on to know more!
- Quick Answer: A To Z Guide To Grow Tomatoes In Small Spaces
- How to Grow Tomatoes In Small Spaces -Step by Step
- Best Tomato Varieties For Small Spaces
How to Grow Tomatoes In Small Spaces -Step by Step
It is a delight to grow and taste home-grown tomatoes. But, if you feel you don’t have enough space, then you are mistaken.
You will be happy to know, that tomatoes may grow in even the smallest of gardens or patios!
It may be challenging to grow tomatoes in a small space, but you may follow these steps to have a better yield.
1. Start With Transplants In Containers
You may grow tomatoes in containers if you have space constraints. Place the plants in a location with lots of sunlight. It is preferable to start with transplants than seeds.
If you don’t have any access to the background garden, you may grow tomatoes in containers. It may be placed on a balcony, patio, or deck.
The advantage of growing tomatoes in containers is the flexibility to move. It requires a location with ample sunlight and feeding about every two weeks. Also, make sure the pot has good quality soil and drainage.
You may start with six to ten-week transplants. It will be easy to establish a seedling than to start from seeds.
Also, you may harvest the fruits early.
Here is the video on how to grow tomatoes in containers:
2. Boost The Soil
You may require loamy and well-drained soil to grow tomatoes in a small area. It is important to add compost or other organic matter to the planting hole for better yield.
Soil is a key component to growing tomatoes in a small area with healthy fruits.
You may add rich and loamy, well-drained soil to the growing space.
I prefer sprinkling some compost mixed with manure in the planting hole. It also adds some beneficial microorganisms that may help in fighting diseases.
3. Provide Supports
You may provide a stake or cage for assisting the tomato plants in growing upright. It will take up less space and increase the exposure of plants to the sun. It helps to ripen the fruits faster.
When the plant is growing on the ground, it may take a lot of space. It may potentially damage the leaves and fruits.
You may provide support, including cage, ladder, trellis, or a vertical frame for the growing plants. It helps in producing large quantities of tomatoes when grown above the ground.
It will increase the exposure to sun and air on the plant surfaces, which will help to ripen the fruits faster.
I don’t prefer cages as it takes more space. I recommend using stakes to assist the plants in growing vertical.
You may check this video on how to grow tomatoes vertically:
4. Use Hanging Baskets
Another idea for growing tomatoes in small spaces is making use of a hanging basket. You may plant the seedlings in the pot with liner and potting mix. The cherry and grape tomatoes grow well.
One of the interesting methods of growing tomatoes that I came across while researching is growing them in hanging baskets. It sounds weird, but it has been tested by many gardeners.
Tomatoes have an extensive root system. Select a pot that may hold 5 gallons of soil and is 12-14 inches in diameter.
You may line the basket, add potting mix, and slow-release fertilizer. It is preferable to use transplant seedlings for best results.
The best tomato varieties for hanging plants are cherry and grape tomatoes. Take care to provide an area with long hours of direct sunlight.
If you are interested in growing tomatoes in hanging baskets, you may check this video:
5. Grow Tomatoes Upside Down
Growing tomatoes upside down is a popular solution to save space. It is flexible, does not require stakes, and eliminates the incidence of diseases.
Another novel approach that I came across is growing tomatoes upside down in buckets or special bags. It helps to save space and is more accessible.
You may drill a hole 3-4 inches in the bottom of a bucket. Choose sturdy, healthy plants and push the root ball through the hole. Fill the upside-down planter with potting soil.
Hang the upside-down tomatoes in a spot where you will receive six or more hours of sun.
It reduces the incidence of soil-borne diseases and pests. It allows better air circulation and pollination.
You may check this video for a few tips on growing tomatoes upside down:
6. Grow Tomatoes Indoors
If you don’t have outdoor space for growing tomatoes, you may plant them indoors by following certain conditions. The plants require a sunny spot with adequate air circulation and more nutrients.
Tomatoes are often grown outdoors with a lot of sunlight. But, they may also be grown inside under specific conditions.
It requires a warm, sunny spot with sufficient air circulation. It may help in preventing fungal infections. If you don’t have sunny windows, you may use artificial lights above the tomato plant containers to simulate sunlight.
You may use a quarter cup of half-strength all-purpose fertilizer per plant every week. Regular feeding will help in flowering.
You may follow hand-pollination using a paintbrush, cotton swab to help with the fruiting of the tomato plants.
Also, turn the plants occasionally so that all parts of the plants receive light. It helps in preventing leggy, bent plants.
The different tomato varieties ideal for growing indoors are Red Robin, Tiny Tim, Toy Boy, and Florida Petite.
Check this video on how to grow tomatoes indoors:
7. Select Dwarf Varieties
There are many determinate and dwarf varieties suitable for small spaces. They still produce full-sized fruits. You may start small and select the appropriate variety.
Over the years, plant breeders have developed tomato varieties that produce full-sized tomatoes in limited space. These tomatoes are called dwarf tomatoes.
The educator Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Patrina Nuske Small of Australia started Dwarf Tomato Project and produced 67 dwarf varieties.
The dwarf varieties have a height of 2-41/2 feet and require minimal pruning. They are available in all sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors.
Some of the examples of dwarf varieties are mentioned below –
Table: Examples of Dwarf Tomato Varieties
|Variety||Color||Days to maturity|
Some of these dwarf varieties can be grown in hanging baskets or containers for space constraints.
Few gardeners prefer bush varieties to start.
It may grow to a certain height, produce fruits only once, and stop growing. It doesn’t require any staking.
You may choose a variety depending on the availability in your area. You may get good results by providing ideal growing conditions.
Best Tomato Varieties For Small Spaces
Many tomato varieties are ideal for small spaces. I have discussed some of such varieties below.
1. Bush Beefsteak
Bush Beefsteak is a determinate heirloom variety with a meaty texture. It grows well in small spaces. It may work for sandwiches and hamburgers.
Beefsteak tomatoes are flattened globe-shaped determinate variety.
It works perfectly for BLT sandwiches and hamburgers. It is juicy with a meaty texture and classic tomato taste.
It is an heirloom variety that requires an average of 62 days to harvest. It may grow up to 3 feet and is ideal for small spaces.
2. Tiny Tim
A dwarf variety that survives in little sunlight is Tiny Tim. It is resistant to certain diseases with a balanced flavor.
Another dwarf variety that grows well in small containers, window boxes, hanging baskets, and garden spaces are Tiny Tim cherry tomatoes.
It may survive in less sunlight. It is resistant to tomato diseases, including Alternaria Stem cancer and Stemphylium.
It grows to 20-40cm tall. It matures in 60 days and has a balanced sweet-tart flavor.
3. Tumbling Tom
A variety of cherry tomatoes that grows well in hanging baskets and containers is Tumbling Tom. Its red and yellow colored fruits add a pop of color to the garden.
One of the cherry bush varieties that is my favorite is Tumbling Tom.
Grow it in containers and hanging baskets. It grows to about 20-24 inches and yields large quantities of 1 to 2-inch fruits. It produces red or yellow fruits in 70-80 days.
One drawback is that it is susceptible to tomato hornworms that may be easily picked off by hand.
4. Better Bush
Better Bush is a determinate variety producing fruits within a short time. It is resistant to fungal diseases and less susceptible to sunburn.
Better Bush is a hybrid determinate tomato variety with short vines. Its 4-inch red fruits may ripen within a short time, allowing you to taste the tomatoes earlier than other varieties.
It is resistant to Fusarium, Verticillium wilt, and root-knot nematodes that may affect the tomato plants. It is less susceptible to sunburn due to its heavy foliage.
I use its medium-sized tomatoes for slicing and sandwiches.
5. Patio Hybrid
Patio Hybrid tomatoes are oblate, red-colored fruits that work well for small spaces. It may require stake and is resistant to a few fungal diseases.
Patio hybrid is a determinate variety that grows to only two feet tall and is excellent for small gardens.
You may add a stake, especially when loaded with fruit.
It is resistant to fusarium wilt, Alternaria stem canker, and gray leaf spot.
It produces compact, oblate, dark red-colored fruits ideal for sandwiches.
If you grow tomatoes upside down, it may require more water, fruits may shade out, and stem become stressed. Another downside is that upside-down planters may not hold the weight of the planting mix and plants with fruits.
Hydroponic tomatoes grow in a nutrient non-soil solution that may support the root system of tomatoes. It helps in growing tomatoes indoors in a controlled environment. These fruits have less susceptibility to plant diseases.
If you are living under a space constraint and wish to grow tomatoes, I hope this ultimate guide has provided you with how to manage it well.
You may contact me for any queries or suggestions. Also, let me know your experiences in growing tomatoes in small spaces.
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