Tomatoes – Grow Bags, Vegetable Beds or Pots?

Potting on Tomatoes

It’s that time again. Time to plunge my well nurtured tomato plants into their final growing position – or should that be resting place? I get nervous now because I don’t seem to have much luck with tomatoes once they leave the safety of my sunny window. My young  plants have been hardening off, dodging the rain and need to be planted out. I don’t have the luxury of a greenhouse so I chose outdoor varieties and cross my fingers tightly.

Last year our tomatoes did OK, I wasn’t over the moon with the taste and then blight got them. They were in pots and managed to do a little better than the plants grown in grow bags the year before that. I have never tried growing them amongst other vegetables in the ground. I’m wondering as I nervously tip my lovely specimens out of their pots – which method should I choose this year?

Where do you grow your outdoor tomatoes? Any tips?

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8 comments

  1. Last year we grew our tomatoes in a big pot but this was only semi-successful. We did get a reasonable crop but quite a few split due to excess water (thanks to all that rain!) so this year I’m trying growbags. We bought one of those plastic growhouses to go over it but I’ve also got another growbag outside without anything over it. I’ve got a few spare plants left though so I should really find somewhere for those….. I keep looking enviously at my neighbour’s greenhouse – his tomato plants are already up to the roof – mine look stunted in comparison!

  2. The last two years have not been good for tomatoes grown outdoors. I have managed to grow tomatoes in grow bags, although I’ve not been good at the watering and feeding, so they’ve not been so big, or so many. I’ve gone for an extra deep grow bag, a pot and a large planter, which holds the most compost. I shall try to keep them well-watered and feed them once they are in flower and, if the weather is good this year, I shall report on how successfully the different plants turn out.

    I think one important thing is to make sure they aren’t too close together as they do get quite big, and the other thing is to give them a reasonable depth of compost so they don’t need watering excessively, although grow bags will probably need water every day when it’s really hot. Oh, and keep them away from potatoes.

  3. Thanks for your tips Karin. Will be interesting to see how your plants fair with your different methods.

  4. Hi Karen,
    last year we planted our tomatoes in the open, and although the plants grew massive fruit, unfortunately there seemed to be an absolute plague of slugs and other plant eating things!

    This year we cleared out our poly tunnel, and my parents came round with a load of lettuce, Beetroot and two types of cucumber seedlings, which we planted together.

    The tomatoes are doing very nicely, as are all the crops, and we almost have 3 dwarf cucumbers ready!

    The only problem is that the Poly tunnel dries out quite quickly so you have to keep an eye on everything.

    Good luck!

  5. Last year I had tomatoes in growbags in an unheated greenhouse, they were fine. I also had lots of pots outdoors planted with cherry tomatoes. Because of the wonderful weather we lost all the outdoor plants to blight. We never got the chance to try a single cherry tom. This year I’ve given up and have only planted toms in the greenhouse. Sorry to put such a downer on this but unless the weather pulls it’s socks up this year, and it is meant to, then green houses are the only way to go for toms.

  6. In the ground!! If you had blight last year you want to plant them in a different spot but I always have success putting them straight in my garden.

    I don’t use the tomatoe cages but instead one heavy stake next to each so I can tie the growing tomatoe to is as it grows up.

    The other trick is I plant them deep. Pulling off any leaves on the lower portion of the plant and putting lots of the main stem underground so additional roots grow all along the stem. This also helps to keep them from drying out as the roots are so deep on those hot days there is still pleanty of water a foot or more down.

  7. Thanks everyone for the tips, lots to think about. I dont have a greenhouse or poly tunnel yet so these options are out of the question, for now.

    I will try planting them deeper and see how it goes, perhaps very large pots OR in the ground. Shall keep you posted on the progress!

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