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Ildi tomato produces small sweet, yellow plum shaped fruits. A really heavy crop as this variety produces up to 80 fruits on one truss and 3-4 trusses per plant. Ideal for hanging baskets and containers.
Tomatoes are one of the most versatile fruits a gardener can grow. Not only are they tasty, they come in a variety of sizes, colours and even shapes. And, the best part is they can be grown almost anywhere. If your choice is hanging basket whre you want to grow your tomatoes, you need the right tomato seeds, and this tomato variety if perfect for that and produces tasty yellow cherry tomatoes.
For the small-space gardener, tomatoes are an ideal addition. Not only can they be grown in rows in a traditional garden plot, they do very well in containers. One of the newest gardening fads is to grow them in hanging planters.
Many of you have most likely seen the advertisement on television showing a special container for growing tomatoes upside down. While this method does work, so does planting them in a regular hanging basket and letting them drape over the sides.
Planting tomatoes so they grow upright is more practical, as their roots will not be deprived of much-needed moisture and nutrients. Even those planted to grow upside down still reach upwards, and require more diligence to keep the roots moist. The upside-down method does require a considerable amount of water as opposed to planting root down. When a plant is watered, gravity takes over and the moisture soaks into the soil and downward toward the roots. In an upside-down planter, the moisture continues to run down the stem of the plant and into the pots (or ground) below.
To have a successful experience when growing tomatoes in hanging baskets, plant them as follows:
- Choose a basket at least 15 inches in diameter, and at least 6 inches deep. The deeper the better. Ensure the hangers can support a heavy load.
- Water the seedlings/small plants thoroughly. Most garden centres will sell them in three or four inch pots.
- Use a potting soil rich in organic matter. You may have your own mix, or purchase a mix from your local garden centre.
- Line the bottom of the planter with newspaper or a natural fiber (such as moss or coconut fiber) to prevent the soil from washing out through the drainage holes.
- Place two or three handfuls of soil in the bottom of the basket. Place your plant(s) in the planter. If only using one per planter, the center is the ideal spot. If you prefer to have more, place them evenly in the pot.
- Spread the root ball out so it does not become root bound.
- Add soil to secure the position of the plants, gently firming it around the stems. Don’t pack it too tightly or the roots will not be able to grow outward easily.
- When you have added enough soil to secure the position of you tomato plants, keep adding and firming it until it is one inch below the top rim of your planter.
- Place the hanging planter in a spot that gets at least six hours of full sunlight each day. More is better, but it will still produce fruit in the minimum.
- Keep the area humid, as spider mites will take advantage of the opportunity to make their home on your tomato plants if given the chance.
- Keep the soil moist, and top-dress with compost weekly. Baskets do dry out much quicker than large pots or a garden plot, so check them at least twice daily if possible.
- A greenhouse is an ideal location for tomatoes. Plus, by growing your tomatoes in a greenhouse they will be protected from damaging winds, rain and frost.
As your plant grows, it will get heavier. By checking the hangers occasionally you will notice any changes in the amount of stress they are undergoing. Adding extra wire or twine can often save a heavy planter from breaking, thus saving your salsa. A decorative touch may be added by using metal chain to hang your basket. Extra stability may be added by placing a metal ring under the planter and attaching the chain to it. The increasing weight will be more evenly distributed, causing less stress on the basket.
The plants will grow upward, but they will also grow outward. If you are feeling creative and adventurous, you can tie strips of fabric to the stems and gently train them to grow downward. Keep in mind the leaves and stems will still face toward the sun, but by training the stems to cascade you will make it easier to harvest the fruit.
As with most tomatoes, to make the most of your plants pinch out the suckers that will undoubtedly grow from the center of where the stem joins the branch. By pinching these back, more nutrients, water and energy will go into producing larger fruit. Plus, pinching out the suckers will help improve air circulation – a must to avoid mold and mildew on the leaves. If you have chosen a bush variety, the pinching is not necessary. It is advisable to check for any signs of distressed leaves, stems or fruit.
Ensure you have placed your planter where it will benefit from natural insect pollination. Not only will you have in-season tomatoes, but you will also be contributing to the health of the insect population. Too many chemicals, herbicides and pesticides are endangering the “good bugs”, so it is important to encourage natural pollination.
Although it may seem like it has taken forever, adding that first home-grown tomato to your salad or sliced for a sandwich will make it all worthwhile. There is nothing quite like the taste of a home-grown tomato. By allowing it to grow naturally, it will be more flavourful than store-bought. Plus, you will know exactly what has been used to make it grow and you will not have to worry about the chemicals that may be on it.
Experiment with different varieties to see which works best in planters for you. Not everyone will have the same results with each variety, as some are better-suited to certain areas than others. Keep records of which type you have grown, and try a new one (at least) each year. Note what you use for soil, additives and how often you water. Tomatoes love heat, but they must also be well-ventilated, so hanging baskets are ideal. Keep your record book and a pen handy so you can record the information. Plus, don’t forget to record how big they have grown and how flavourful they are.
Enjoy your hanging tomato garden!