Can I grow tomatoes in a 5-gallon container?

Q: I purchased a Super Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant. Can I grow this in a 5-gallon bucket with stakes/support? Online information says they grow to 5 feet. I have never successfully grown my own tomatoes.

A: You can successfully grow this type of tomato in a 5-gallon bucket. When planting, you want to pick off all of the side branches up to just the top few inches. Then plant it deep in the bucket, so that your start is only a few inches high with a few leaves exposed. All of those little hairlike structures on the main branch will develop into roots and provide a good system to absorb water and keep the plant stable over the summer.

With this size container, you will have to provide daily water when it gets a bit warmer and watch out for things like blossom end rot, which happen more frequently on potted tomatoes.

I grow most of my tomatoes in pots every year since I plant a lot of early-season crops that take up all of my garden space before the tomatoes are ready to be planted. 

— Chrissy Lucas, OSU Extension agricultural outreach coordinator

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