To give us the pleasure of savoring some delicious sweet tomatoes grown and ripened on the plant itself, it is not essential to have a large plot of land or orchard. We can easily plant tomatoes at home in a pot; so it will only be necessary to have a balcony, terrace or a small garden.
The tomato arrived in Europe when the Spanish conquerors brought it from America in the 16th century and although it was initially considered an ornamental plant, today it is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. It is also one of the easiest to grow and reproduce, which is why we could all have a tomato plant at home grown in a pot.
The scientific name for tomato is Solanum lycopersicum. It is a creeping plant with yellow flowers, it produces fruits of various sizes and shapes (for salad, pear, branch, hanging, Cherry or cocktail tomato and more). Although red tomatoes are the best known, there are also varieties in shades of yellow, dark green and pink.
To learn how to plant tomatoes, you must know the classification of this plant according to its growth rate: limited growth or determined and unlimited growth and indeterminate. The former are bushy, small and their height usually does not exceed 150 cm; while the second group refers to vine-type tomato plants, which can reach approximately 3 m in height.
How to plant tomatoes? Tomato cultivation can be done either from seedlings or from seeds, both techniques being recommended for their good results.
- by seedlings
The seedlings are a variant of the young plant, specially prepared for transplanting and to know when to plant the tomatoes, it is recommended to wait until they have between four to five leaves. Likewise, with this cultivation technique it is advisable to leave a distance between tomato plants of 40 to 50 cm, in order to provide sufficient space for optimal growth.
Although a potted tomato plant can thrive without problems ; in the case of seedlings, it is better if they are grown in large containers that allow them to develop properly.
- by seeds
Tomato seeds can be purchased at a specialty store or nursery. Before buying, it is important to make sure that they are fresh, that they come from a recognized brand and that they are from the variety of tomato that you want to grow. They can also be collected from a tomato that has been purchased.
In this sense, for this only a copy of the fruit that is ripe and healthy should be chosen. It is cut in half and with a teaspoon the seeds are extracted, put in a colander, washed under the tap to remove the remains of tomato adhered to them and then dried with a kitchen paper.
Once the seeds are dry, they are spread out on a plate and left in the open air. Then they can be sown or labeled in a pot to keep them in a cool, dry place protected from light.
As the tomato plant is a species that behaves like a perennial plant that prefers warm weather, in the cases of regions with a temperate climate, its planting and cultivation should preferably be carried out during the spring and summer months.
For this task, it is important to select a pot with optimal drainage and suitable for the variety of tomato to be planted. It is filled with soil or substrate, leaving 5 cm free; Then the surface is smoothed and the seeds are placed on it, separated from each other.
The seeds should be pressed down carefully so that they adhere well and then covered with about 4 cm of soil.
It is advisable to sow in an environment with excellent lighting, since it is a plant that requires sunlight. Likewise, watering the tomatoes is essential. To do this, you can use a watering can with an artichoke and then cover the pot with glass to trap moisture. Once the seedlings start to emerge, the glass cover of the seedbed should be removed.
For the development of the plant to prosper, it is essential that the environmental temperature fluctuates during the day between 20 and 30 ºC and during the night it can be in a range from 1 to 17 ºC. If the pot remains in a place with a temperature below 10ºC, the tomato plant will not grow.
When the tomato plant is well established, it is recommended to let the substrate dry between waterings and maintain the fertilization during the production stage. Also, consider pruning tomatoes whenever required, removing side shoots.
Some varieties of tomatoes for pots
When it comes to planting a tomato seedling, the best varieties must be chosen. Although the tomato is an easy-to-grow plant, the truth is that some species are easier than others. For this reason, to grow a tomato plant in a pot, it is best to select compact varieties, with a determined character and smaller.
- Tomato Green Zebra
This species has one of the best fresh flavors and is a gourmet variety. It is ideal for planting in pots, despite being an indeterminate variant. For this reason, it is important to know how to trellise tomatoes; since it will be necessary to apply this technique together with pruning. You need pots of at least 25 liters.
- Beef Heart Tomato
It is a compact plant that adapts perfectly to 20-litre pots. It generates its entire crop at once, producing great-tasting, large-sized tomatoes.
- Cherry cocktail tomato
To plant cherry tomatoes in pots, it is necessary that they have a capacity of 15 to 19 liters. It is a kind of cocktail type tomato that develops in the form of a bush; To control its growth, it is advisable to prune the tomato plant periodically, cutting its stem and keeping its height close to one meter.
- pear tomato
This pear or roma type tomato belongs to a determined and small variety, recommended for pots. It is able to resist heat and thrives in various climates.
Whether the seeds or the seedlings are planted; Having fresh tomatoes at home is possible by growing them in a pot. Just follow these simple recommendations.