You don’t need to have a huge property in order to grow delicious heirloom tomatoes. Some smaller varieties grow well in containers, allowing you to make the most of your patio or balcony space. Growing tomatoes in containers also allows you to start your plants earlier in the season, and when a frost comes, you can just bring them inside until the temperature warms up again. Here’s a look at three heirloom varieties that are particularly productive when grown in pots and growing boxes.
Silvery Fir Tree
A Russian heirloom variety, Silvery Fir Tree tomato plants only reach about 2 feet in height, making them a good choice if you’re very limited on space or wish to grow tomatoes in hanging baskets. They also don’t require very deep soil in order to thrive. Just 6 – 8 inches of loose, nutrient-rich soil is enough for Silvery Fir Tree plants to put down effective roots. The leaves are bountiful, lush and attractive, and the fruits are round and red with a slightly flattened shape. Their firm texture, attractive color and intense flavor makes them an ideal choice for canning or sauce making. A large number of Silvery Fir Tree plants can be planted in a small space, yielding a massive harvest approximately 65 days after germination.
This heirloom variety is a great choice for container gardening because of its compact size. It grows well in 3 – 5 gallon pots and prefers well drained soil. To ensure proper drainage, choose a pot with drainage holes in the bottom and pour several inches of gravel into it before filling it with potting mix. Early Wonder tomatoes are one of the most popular heirloom varieties in the United States because of their short growing season. The attractive red fruits are ready to harvest approximately 55 days after germination, and they’re favored for their round shape and sweet flavor. Early Wonder plants are notably prolific, so you can expect a bountiful harvest from just one or two plants.
Black Sea Man
This variety produces highly attractive fruits that are a rich, purplish red in color with hints of green on the tops. The insides of the tomatoes are deep red when ripe, and they are known for their creamy texture and complex flavor. Commonly used for sandwiches and salads, Black Sea Man tomatoes can weight as much as 12 ounces. Unlike many other large-fruited varieties, however, they grow on compact plants that thrive in mid-sized containers with soil that’s at least 12 inches deep. Expect to harvest between 15 and 25 tomatoes per plant approximately 75 days after germination.
In addition to choosing the right variety, there are a few other secrets to successfully growing tomatoes in containers. Make sure you choose a well-drained pot, and don’t forget to add gravel before the soil for extra drainage. Although some varieties like Silvery Fir Tree grow adequately in very small pots, you can expect a larger yield when you plant in a larger pot, so use as large of a container as possible. Another secret to success is frequent watering. Containers dry out faster than traditional gardens, so make sure you water your tomato plants daily to keep the soil moist. Finally, ensure that your tomato plants get plenty of sun. With 6 – 8 hours of sunshine each day, they should thrive and produce plenty of delicious heirloom tomatoes for you to enjoy.