What kind of containers and cages for tomatoes?


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Hi! I have tomato seedlings growing, and I plan on transplanting them into planters on my patio in New York City this summer. 2 summers ago I grew determinate tomatoes, and it went ok. I'm now researching planters and cages, and am trying to decide what kind of planter is best. My considerations are:
  1. Reasonably cheap, which limits me to plastic/resin or fabric planters
  2. Large - 20 gallons or 20" diameter, for indeterminate tomatoes.
  3. Can support a cage or support (looking at the Titan cage or Tomato ladder here: https://www.gardeners.com/buy/plant-supports/tomato-supports/)
I like the look of fabric containers (smartpots is the brand), but am worried about people saying that they need extra-frequent watering. I am okay with watering every day, but if it needs to be watered 3x/day, that can get challenging.

What do all of you think? Any recommendations on cheap planters, or whether I should use fabric or plastic? thanks!
 
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Hi! I have tomato seedlings growing, and I plan on transplanting them into planters on my patio in New York City this summer. 2 summers ago I grew determinate tomatoes, and it went ok. I'm now researching planters and cages, and am trying to decide what kind of planter is best. My considerations are:
  1. Reasonably cheap, which limits me to plastic/resin or fabric planters
  2. Large - 20 gallons or 20" diameter, for indeterminate tomatoes.
  3. Can support a cage or support (looking at the Titan cage or Tomato ladder here: https://www.gardeners.com/buy/plant-supports/tomato-supports/)
I like the look of fabric containers (smartpots is the brand), but am worried about people saying that they need extra-frequent watering. I am okay with watering every day, but if it needs to be watered 3x/day, that can get challenging.

What do all of you think? Any recommendations on cheap planters, or whether I should use fabric or plastic? thanks!
I would go with the fabric containers. I have cherry tomatoes in 7 gallon fabric pots and I have to water them no more than once per week now, probably twice per week when it get hot. I have found that if you saturate the soil before planting and then maintain a saturation method of watering once per week that is all that is needed until it gets 95+F everyday. As soon as your seedlings have 3 sets of true leaves either transplant them into their forever container or into slightly larger containers until planted into their final container. But, do it as soon as possible. Don't wait until summer. I don't think you will be happy with any of those cages. I would use 4 gardening stakes and twine with each container. And they are MUCH cheaper. Use that saved money for fertilizers.
 
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I use 16" plastic pots but don't see a problem with fabric bags. You don't need 20 gallon bags though, I think that sunnyderder is right with 7 gallon per plant. I use tomato ladders for my pots. It is about the best way to go, the cones won't support well and square cages may be too wide. I've not any any problems with the ladders and I don't prune. I grow a lot of things in pots for years with fairly good success. I only put in 1 tbsp of 10-10-10 when I plant. I also put in 2-500mg calcium pills for Blossom End Rot. When the tomatoes get bigger, I remove the bottom leaves which will blight out anyway. Many people use 5 gallon buckets for their tomato plants with great success.
 
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If you use saucers to stop run-off, a tomato will grow quite happily in a 10" dia pot 10" high. This will also keep your patio cleaner.
The reason to use a pot that size, is because if you are growing on a patio, you are likely to be short of space.
Maximise your crop by growing single-stem, which will also raise the quality of the fruit, which will allow you to grow plants closer together, and to increase the varieties of plants you grow.
 
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Do you have access to a hook or other way to tie off a cord above the plant? I like to have a single cord going form the plant (cord staked to the ground or tied to a hole in the pot) and tied off 6 to 8 feet above the plant and pulled reasonably tight but not banjo string tight.

As the plant grows simply wrap the plant around the cord.

This vid shows the idea.

"string" doesn't work for me. I like something stronger and a bit larger in diameter. Paracord, clothsline, 1/4" cordage or the like. Garden twine won't cut it for a season.

I also keep my big indeterminant tomatoes pruned to a single stem and don't let them branch out.

You can go as small as a 5 gallon bucket for a large tomato but will have to stay up on watering and fertilizer or hydroponic nutrients.
 
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Overkill! I use stings tied to a rebar overhead structure Also poor quality tomato plants.

 

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