Grow your own tomatoes

Tomatoes are probably the most popular of all fruits and vegetables to be grown in the home garden. They are much more flavorful and nutritious when picked fresh off the vine. They are also easy to grow, adaptable and decorative. They can be grown in the garden, in container gardens outdoors, on the patio, balcony, in hanging pots or even upside down and topsy-turvy. You can design with tomatoes in containers to make any area more ornamental and productive so long as you can give your tomatoes at least six hours of direct sunshine.

Plant tomatoes from seed and you can have a selection of sizes, shapes, colors and flavors that can make you feel like a ‘kid in a candy store’. Or buy plants already started for you in six-packs or pots from your local garden center.

To design with tomatoes using containers can be a big project or small. You can make the job easy by planting some of the small, cascading-type tomatoes in hanging pots. These can be used to decorate the overhang of your patio cover, draped over railings or dangled from pots placed along the ends of steps on a staircase. Or you can make a garden of tomatoes into containers into an eye-catching display.  Group a selection of ornamental pots into a focal point and fill them with an assortment of determinate-sized (tomatoes that don’t grow too tall) or dwarf plants with different colored and sized tomatoes. You can even include the new ‘Tomaccio’ tomato that lets you grow easy sun-dried tomatoes at home on the vine.

Add a sculpture, set pots on decorative stands or interweave rocks, stones or pieces of driftwood to make a picture out of your container garden.  Just make sure you use a pot that allows your tomatoes at least a five-gallon space for roots to grow. Give them a good planting soil mix and offer them a mild feeding of tomato food every couple of weeks so they grow lush and healthy.

With a little care, you can design with tomatoes in containers to decorate any sunny outdoor area with ornamental little star-like, yellow blooms and tasty, healthy fruit that will keep you in supply for the whole growing season.