Container Gardening for Tomatoes and Peppers

growing peppers and tomatoes in containers

There are many reasons to grow garden vegetables in containers, such as limited space in the yard, too many wild critters roaming unrestricted, and lack of sun where you need it.

Containers allow the gardener to put plants where the light, moisture, and protection from damage are optimum.  The question is, how do you begin container gardening?

Pepper and tomato plants are excellent choices for growing on patios and decks and in other unconventional places.  For these plants, there are some basic rules of thumb to show off your greenest thumb.

are tiny when they’re young, but they’ll grow large as they produce fruit, so the container has to support the weight of the mature plant. If planted directly in the ground, those plants would receive plenty of nutrients from the soil, and the roots would have ample room to spread. So, more soil in the pot means more freedom for the roots to develop into healthy feeding systems for their above-soil plants.

It’s best to plant one plant per pot, for tomatoes and peppers.  A 12- to 18-inch pot is optimum for tomatoes, and you can go a little smaller for peppers. If you try to grow multiple plants in one pot, it stresses the roots as they fight for limited moisture and nutrients. Square pots allow you to line several of them in a row, for space efficiency.

In pots, it’s best to feed at the start with a slow-release fertilizer, like Neptune’s Harvest. Container plants should be feed with this fish emulsion twice per week for the first 4 weeks. Then switch over to using a ¾ cup of Hyr-BRIX Tomato & Pepper Fertilizer. Do this every 3 weeks through the growing season. Make sure to mix the fertilizer into the soil after each application.

If using another fertilizer, it’s imperative to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for feeding plants, as too much fertilizer can burn up plants, and not enough can cause weak plants and non-yielding harvests.

Last, the most important ingredient of all: water. Young plants in pots require consistent moisture, meaning possibly daily watering. Potted plants can dry up outdoors much faster than those in the ground, so you’ll need to maintain an even moisture level in the soil. Be vigilant in extreme heat conditions, to make sure your plants don’t wilt from being too dry.

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1 Comment

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    March 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I tried my hand at growing tomatoes on my patio in containers a couple of years ago. The reason was simple–I simply wanted easy access and not a lot of work, like tilling and weeding. The idea of not going any further than my back patio in order to harvest fresh tomatoes was very attractive! But I never thought of doing peppers. Looks like I’ll be buying some new pots this year!

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