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13 messages
19/05/2012 at 08:37

Can anybody tell me whether it is a better idea to grow tomatoes outside in a growbag or, can the crop be just as good, if you grow directly into the ground.

19/05/2012 at 08:50

The crop can be better if they're planted directly into the ground, as long as the soil is good.  The watering is certainly easier as grow-bags and pots dry out so quickly, whereas if you mulch the soil around the tomato plants the moisture in the soil is retained better and you shouldn't get the problems which can be caused by erratic watering.

19/05/2012 at 09:02

Thankyou very much. That was a thought that I had , but I guess it is just good to have someone elses confirmation. I have grown in bags before and I always think that there never seems to be enough room for the plants to spread their roots properly or as you said, the bags can get very dry if not constantly watched. 

I must admit I am very much of the Idea, that perhaps we do tend to fuss to much about plants sometimes. I do just like to plonk things in  and just let them get on with it and as a rule things mosly do alright, with just a gentle nurturing here and there.

19/05/2012 at 20:25

Whens the first truss has set, water regularly with tomato fertiliser, as per the instructions - even good soil can't do it all on it's own.

Good luck!

20/05/2012 at 08:48
artychris wrote (see)

Can anybody tell me whether it is a better idea to grow tomatoes outside in a growbag or, can the crop be just as good, if you grow directly into the ground.

Better in the ground, I think, given half-decent soil of some depth. The soil doesn't have to be rich. Toms are pretty forgiving of most soils providing the pH isn't too far out of kilter. They like things slightly acid but will cope a degree or so either way. The bottom line, though, is position. They need as much as they can get - 6 to 8 hours a day minimum to achieve full potential.

Plants in the ground also need a lot less water. Watering infrequently - maybe once a week - but very deeply will drive the roots down deep into the soil and away from the surface where they're more affected by surface temperatures. Frequent, shallow watering only keeps the roots shallow.

Plants in the ground also need less fertiliser. Providing the soil is half-decent, one feed a couple of weeks after planting out, another one when the first fruit is setting, and one later in the season will be sufficient. They won't suffer. Toms are the sturdiest of critters that respond best to tough love.

20/05/2012 at 09:43
artychris wrote (see)

Can anybody tell me whether it is a better idea to grow tomatoes outside in a growbag or, can the crop be just as good, if you grow directly into the ground.

There is another alternative, that is to use 'tomato planters'. These are the same as growbags, except they have about twice the amount of compost.

The problem is they cost more than the traditional growbag, although you may see them as a bargain sometimes...I bought mine yesterday from a garden centre who were offering them as 'buy one get one free' deal.

Also it helps to plant your plants in bottomless pots (as seen on the home-page) and place them on the growbag.


 

20/05/2012 at 12:31

Yes, I tried what David suggests, using two old flowerpots with the bases removed, and pushing them into holes in the growbag cut to the right size. This allowed the tomatoes to grow down through the pots into the growbag (it was a cheap £1 growbag so probably wouldn't have been enough on its own).I also cut a small hole in the middle of the bag and inserted an upside-down 2L pop bottle (with base removed) sticking up like a funnel. When I watered, I filled this up too as an extra reserve of water.

The plants - two bush tomatoes - did very well indeed, producing masses of fruits.

20/05/2012 at 12:52

Over the last few years I have gone back to growing tomatoes in arge plastic pots, and have had consistently better resuts than I did with grow bags - except last year which I think was just too dark.  I am very afraid that on current readings that this year might be so too.  Someone said give them 6 - 8 hours sunshine a day - where?   I do not know of anywhere in the UK where that would be possible at present.  Anyway, I shall grow mine in their large pots in the greenhouse, unheated, this year and see how we get along.   I suppose I could always buy a day light bulb for the house if it stays as dark as it has been of late.

The 2 litre bottle in the soil for top up watering is a very good idea. 

20/05/2012 at 13:06
Bookertoo wrote (see)

 Someone said give them 6 - 8 hours sunshine a day - where?   I do not know of anywhere in the UK where that would be possible at present.

Maybe not at present, but perhaps more likely in peak growing season. The 6-8 hour quota is for optimum plant performance. They will perform with less sun exposure but the performance drops as the hours of exposure do.

20/05/2012 at 13:53

The tomatoes I mentioned that did so well were in a spot where they didn't get sun until the second half of the day. It was very sheltered, so perhaps warmth is as important as light.

20/05/2012 at 15:45

Warmth is very important, particularly when it comes to ripening toms. It's temperature (warmth) that ripens them, not direct sunlight on the fruit.

20/05/2012 at 19:04

I've grown tomatoes in growbags, double growbags (ie, one on top of the other, cut through to give double the root depth,) and also out in the allotment. My best ever crop was 'Gardeners Delight' in single growbags BUT it was an exceptionally warm summer.Can't remember when it was, but within the last 20 years

22/05/2012 at 09:27

Ive always grown my tomatoes in large hanging baskets. i get the tumbling variety and put 2/3 plants in a 16" basket. they hang just outside my kitchen door in a real sun trap and I get tomatoes all summer long!

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