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Tomato pot fun

October 25, 2019
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS

news@breezenewspapers.com

Gardeners who can grow a pot of geraniums can grow a pot of tomatoes. There are a lot of backyards just waiting for a nice, big pot of juicy red Big Boy tomatoes, or a beautiful heirloom pot of colorful pink orange fruit.

I am sure most everyone by now knows the tomato is a fruit but is wise enough to not put it into a fruit salad. A Mother Nature joke.

I would love to have a pot of tomatoes, however condo living without a sunny porch means orchids or bromeliads, which are not even good in a salad.

I know orchid flowers are lovely decorations for the food plates and fancy desserts, but not for eating. Please do not write me to say you are eating those lovely flowers.

I do have the city garden plot and am planting a black cherry tomato plant, in a stylish red tomato cage. Not real handy to pick a few for dinner which will be 4 miles away. I have plans to pick a few on the way by the garden and they will be my appetizer snack.

Why black cherry tomatoes? Curiosity on my part. I already know I love shiny red ones, so I'm willing to try shady black ones.

OK, back to pots.

You can plant determinate plants or indeterminate plants in a nice proper clay pot. You will need a clay tray underneath. That keeps your patio or driveway clean and will hold any excess water that plants will be happy to have around their hot feet.

Read your plant tags to see which you are buying -- a determinate plant will be growing nice and bushy and straight up. The indeterminate will be more of a vine plant style, it will grow up but will also spread out in a vine style.

Either plant will need some support. The determinate, a stake may due or a cage is fine also. The indeterminate plant -- a cage to spread out and around. A decorative gardener might drape it along a fence as it grows.

The pot diameter for a determinate plant, 18 inches. An indeterminate plant should be 24 inches wide across top. And deep for its root system.

Place plants deeply into pot as it is growing in your take home pot.

Seed planting? Read the packet. You will not need a handful of seeds.

If leaves are too close to the soil, pinch off a couple at the bottom after planting.

Do not use heavy potting soil, more light and fluffy. Read, read.

People do use regular vegetable bags of fertilizer.

I had bad luck with bell peppers this summer, just tiny perfectly formed cuties? I was told by another Garden Club gardener that was probably because I needed more fertilizer.

The soil in the city beds was nice and light and included waterlines.

I did not think I would need fertilizer. Several veggies did OK, but the peppers needed more. So, I am doing another bell pepper now and will add some veggie food. I placed it in a different spot.

You can use some coffee grounds around the plant, however, it may be too acidic used alone. Mix in with some other compost, leaves or a regular veggie source.

Epsom salt can be used. This is NOT a salt, it is actually a compound called magnesium sulfate that occurs naturally. The name Epsom pertains to a saline spring found in a part of England.

I have never used this, not sure if I really will. The ratio for tomatoes would be 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height. Your plant will be at least 2 foot as it grows, so just wait a bit.

You can always soak your feet with whatever you do not use up.

We do not worry about winter months and frost here in Southwest Florida.

Water almost every day, poke a finger into the top of the soil and if dry, for 1 inch of water.

You can also grow bell peppers in pots. However, each in their own pot, no co-habitating in the garden.

Good luck.

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.

 
 
 

 

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