by Donna Woodward
We gardeners who have space to grow plants are fortunate. Many people would love to grow some vegetables, such as tomatoes, but have no garden space. We Napa MGs in the Field Test Committee felt we should do something to help these people. We decided to try a field (patio?) test for tomatoes. There are several types of tomatoes bred for growth in containers. We picked three to grow on our patios, decks, or anywhere other than in the ground or a raised bed. Most of us had never tried this, so it promised to be a novel experience.
We will poll them later about their experiences and add this data to our own.
We did some research on various tomatoes touted as suitable for growing in containers. One factor is whether the tomato is determinate or indeterminate. The former is a bush type that grows to a certain height, so this would probably work better in a limited space. We learned that there are dwarf varieties that are bred specifically for growing in pots. There are even micro-dwarf types that can be grown on a windowsill. Some of these were available at the sale, but we didn't want to experiment with a novelty. We decided to try three normal-sized plants that are reputed to do well in containers.
At the tomato sale anyone who purchased one or more of the three varieties in the trial was invited to participate. We were delighted to get 42 people to join our trial! We'll post updates over the coming months as the growing season progresses.
Napa Master Gardeners are available to answer garden questions by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. or phone at 707-253-4143. Volunteers will get back to you after they research answers to your questions.
Visit our website: napamg.ucanr.edu to find answers to all of your horticultural questions.
Photo credits: Donna Woodward, Reneés Garden (Super Bush) Prairie Fire and Inca Jewel by previous permission.