What's a good number of tomato plants to grow in a five gallon bucket?


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Hello all, I'm starting from seeds in a five-gallon bucket, and they are reaching a size to start thinning. What's a good number of tomato plants to end up with for a five-gallon bucket? Does the variety affect the number?

THANKS!
 
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ONE. The variety has little to do with your question unless you are growing a variety that has very small plants at maturity. An average tomato plant will be at least 3 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide unless you prune all of the suckers which you would be crazy to do in NC and most varieties will be much larger than that. Tomatoes should be planted, at minimum, 2 ft. apart, preferably 3 ft.
 

CAP

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I'll say just one and a smallish variety at that. I was seriously considering growing an extra one in a 5g bucket but after some looking decided if i do grow a tomato in a container i would go a 10 or 15 gallon minimum. I'm sure 5g would work but might hold it back a bit!
 
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I would go a 10 or 15 gallon minimum
My problem is that my land is very shady, and my soil is super clay-heavy, but the area above my enclosed carport gets full-sun, so I'm going to try a container garden up there.
Is there a particular style of 10/15 gallon container and a source/distributor for those sizes? I have two 10gallon containers but they became brittle so quickly in the full sun.
 
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My problem is that my land is very shady, and my soil is super clay-heavy, but the area above my enclosed carport gets full-sun, so I'm going to try a container garden up there.
Is there a particular style of 10/15 gallon container and a source/distributor for those sizes? I have two 10gallon containers but they became brittle so quickly in the full sun.
Check out cloth grow bags. They come in all sizes from 1 gallon to 100 gallon.
 

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Check out cloth grow bags. They come in all sizes from 1 gallon to 100 gallon.
Yeah, the grow bags look awesome. I was looking recently and many sites seem to be sold out. One that did have some for a reasonable price was "The Rusted Garden" He has a cool You Tube channel also!
My problem is that my land is very shady, and my soil is super clay-heavy, but the area above my enclosed carport gets full-sun, so I'm going to try a container garden up there.
That sounds like the ticket! It also sounds like a few raised beds might be a viable route to take up there for ya?
 
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That sounds like the ticket! It also sounds like a few raised beds might be a viable route to take up there for ya?
Can't really go full raised bed, as I would be afraid of that much weight up on top of my carport. It's very sturdy (I framed in the sides and made it an enclosed garage), but it's a flat roof so there's the drainage to consider as well.

I was just at Costco and found two large 27gallon rectangular bins, for $9 each! So I'm gonna try those, and see how well they do! I'll try those and my 5-gallon buckets, and just see how things go this year.

I started my tomato seeds in 5-gallon buckets this year, and with the heat-pads, I got near 100% germination, so I've thinned them down to the four strongest and reburied the stems, and moved all the ones I thinned out to 1-pint peat pots. I'll let the four plants grow until I'm ready to move them outside, and then thin them down to the strongest plant.

Does that sound reasonable, or will letting even that many grow till then impact the strength?
 
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So keeping a water reserve under them and having good drainage is important. You cannot see water in a single undrained container. Its a setup for drowning the plant in rain, fungus and other issues. But if the water is exposed it will evap too, so one small but practical idea is to put some kind of plastic over the exposed water tray if you go that way. I used 7 gallon grow bags, the soil settles down of course, but the air and self pruning worked great. The roots were awesome when I pulled them at the end of the season. The bags are hardy and reusable for many years.
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Do these come in larger sizes?
Besides costs are there better advantages with these over 5-gallon buckets? With the buckets, I put about a 2" layer of lava-rock in the bottom, drill some holes, and set the bucket on top of a cinderblock. I'm planning on putting down some heavy plastic sheeting under all of my buckets/containers.

Thanks for the discussion everyone! :)
 
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Do these come in larger sizes?
Besides costs are there better advantages with these over 5-gallon buckets? With the buckets, I put about a 2" layer of lava-rock in the bottom, drill some holes, and set the bucket on top of a cinderblock. I'm planning on putting down some heavy plastic sheeting under all of my buckets/containers.

Thanks for the discussion everyone! :)
You will need a water reserve under that design or they will work you to death keeping them moist. The bags air prune the root tips so they wont girdle or get weird, and they breathe well, oxygenated roots being a relatively desireable condition. If plants were an animal, you might describe them as having the nose and mouth under the dirt and the other end pointed to the sky. Thats why drainage and oxygen is so important, but they need some moisture of course. I thought I got my plastic water saucers off amazon too but they must have come from another source. They were not expensive, and are maybe 2 inches deep and about 2-4 inches larger than the grow bags. I will let you know if I can find that source again.
 
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CAP

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Does that sound reasonable, or will letting even that many grow till then impact the strength?
[/QUOTE]
Being in a 5g container you should have some time but i wouldn't wait too long and would thin them to one as soon as possible.
 
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Do these come in larger sizes?
Besides costs are there better advantages with these over 5-gallon buckets? With the buckets, I put about a 2" layer of lava-rock in the bottom, drill some holes, and set the bucket on top of a cinderblock. I'm planning on putting down some heavy plastic sheeting under all of my buckets/containers.

Thanks for the discussion everyone! :)
The advantages of the bags over plastic is that the bags can "breathe". They keep plant cooler in severe heat. The entire bag acts to drain water unlike just the holes in other types of containers thus eliminating the need for rocks in the bottom. The only downside is that you must water a little more frequently. Just like a clay pot will need more frequent watering than a plastic container.
 
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The advantages of the bags over plastic is that the bags can "breathe". They keep plant cooler in severe heat. The entire bag acts to drain water unlike just the holes in other types of containers thus eliminating the need for rocks in the bottom. The only downside is that you must water a little more frequently. Just like a clay pot will need more frequent watering than a plastic container.
I found that the moss that started growing on the sides of the bags by the end of the season helped in some ways, like cooling.
 
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A word of caution. 27 gallons of soil will weight about 325 lbs - give or take 10 - 15% depending on soil type and how wet it is. (Roughly 60 lbs for 5 gallons.) So be careful putting that on a roof. Decks and floors are rated for load bearing, roofs are not.
 
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