Growing Patio Tomatoes – A Guide to Thriving Dwarf Varieties

Patio tomatoes have gained immense popularity in recent years, with many people opting to grow them in pots or hanging baskets on their patios. Besides being visually appealing when they bear fruit, patio tomatoes can provide a bountiful harvest of fresh tomatoes each year. In this guide, we will explore the secrets to growing successful patio tomatoes and ensure a fruitful outcome.

Cultivating Patio Tomatoes

To begin growing patio tomatoes, start by treating them like any other tomato variety. Begin by germinating the seeds in a warm environment and gradually transfer them to a 3-inch pot. If the weather is still chilly, you may need to move them to a larger pot before planting them outside. Check out our comprehensive article on sowing and starting tomatoes for more details.

For those lucky enough to have a greenhouse or a cold frame, it is possible to plant the tomatoes directly into the container and shield them from the elements until the weather is suitable for outdoor planting. Remember to consider not only frost but also cold nights when deciding on the right time to move your plants outside. Refer to our guide on ideal temperatures for tomato growing.

To acclimate the plants to the outdoors, gradually expose them to the elements by bringing them out during the day and covering them at night for a week. This gradual process helps harden the plant and prevents shock. If unexpected cold weather strikes after you’ve placed them outside, horticultural fleece blankets can save the day.

Further reading:  The Enchanting Breath of Heaven Plant

Keep in mind that areas near walls or sheltered from wind tend to be warmer. Even a small difference in temperature can make a significant impact on the growth of your tomatoes.

One challenge of growing tomatoes in relatively small containers is the risk of the compost drying out, leading to issues like blossom end rot and split skins. To prevent this, always use high-quality compost that retains moisture well. Additionally, you can incorporate water retaining crystals into the compost. These crystals absorb water and release it as needed, ensuring a steady supply of moisture for your plants.

For hanging baskets, line the interior with a perforated plastic bag to help retain moisture and rehydrate dried-out compost.

Nourishing Patio Tomatoes

The nutrients present in the compost should sustain the plants until they start setting fruit. At home, I personally prefer using my own comfrey liquid as a fertilizer, although it does have a strong smell. As part of a deal with my wife, I also use commercial tomato feeds such as Tomorite or Chempak. I strongly advise against using cheap tomato feeds, as they often have an incorrect balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). While a quality product may come at a higher price, it will effectively nourish your plants.

Quality tomato feeds usually contain additional magnesium, which helps prevent magnesium deficiency – a common issue among tomatoes due to the high potash content in the feed. You can learn more about magnesium deficiency in tomatoes on our website.

Interplanting with Patio Tomatoes

Though splendid on their own, there’s no harm in planting some flowers alongside your patio tomatoes. Lobelia is an excellent choice, but marigolds, which repel whiteflies, are also worth considering.

Further reading:  Elephant Ears: The Tropical Marvel for Your Landscape

As the season comes to an end, be attentive to cold nights and either cover your plants with fleece or move them indoors to extend their productivity.

In conclusion, growing patio tomatoes is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy the freshest tomatoes right from your sunny patio. With the right care and attention, you can cultivate these dwarf varieties and enjoy a plentiful harvest of tomatoes each year.

Best Varieties for Patio Growing

While personal preferences vary, I hold a deep affection for Gartenpearle (available from Thompson & Morgan). It thrives even in a hanging basket. Suttons Seeds also offers Cherry Falls and Peardrops, which come highly recommended. Losetto, a blight-resistant patio variety, is an excellent choice as well, especially considering the challenges blight can pose to tomatoes and potatoes.

Further Information

For more information on tomato growing, check out our extensive tomato growing guides:

  • Grow Unusual Tomatoes!
  • Types of Tomatoes – An Introduction to Tomato Growing Part 1
  • Sowing and Starting off Tomatoes – Introduction to Tomato Growing Part 2
  • Growing Tomatoes in a Tomato Grow-house (Mini-Greenhouse)
  • Growing Tomatoes in a Greenhouse
  • Growing Tomatoes in the Greenhouse Border
  • Growing Tomatoes in Pots or Grow Bags in the Greenhouse
  • Growing Tomatoes by Ring Culture
  • Growing Tomatoes in Straw Bales
  • Growing Tomatoes Outdoors
  • Planting & Growing Tomatoes Outdoors
  • Water Requirements for Tomatoes
  • Ideal Temperatures for Growing Tomatoes
  • Removing Tomato Side Shoots (Suckers) & Stopping Tomatoes
  • Best Tomato Varieties – My Top Tasty Tomato Picks
  • Heirloom Tomatoes (Heritage Tomatoes)
  • Best Tomatoes for Greenhouse Growing
  • Tomato Troubles & Diseases | Causes & Cures of Tomato Problems
    • Tomato Blight – Blight Resistant Tomato Varieties
    • Tomato Blossom End Rot | Causes & Cures for Tomato Blossom End Rot
    • Tomatoes Magnesium Deficiency – Yellow Leaves, Epsom Salts
  • Raising Tomato Plants from Seed
Further reading:  Why is My Majesty Palm Browning? | Troubleshooting Guide

For more gardening tips and high-quality products, visit the Ames Farm Center.