Tomatoes are perfect for growing in pots on a sunny patio.
Choose a bush variety, as these stay compact without the need for a tall support – and you don’t have to pinch out the side shoots. We used ‘Losetto’, which is also resistant to tomato blight.
Basil isn’t just the perfect pairing for tomatoes in the kitchen, it also relishes the same growing conditions. Adding edible flowers, such as zingy orange calendulas, peps up the colour and attracts pollinating insects for bigger crops of tomatoes.
If you have a greenhouse, take a look at this video on growing tomatoes and basil together under glass.
Find out how to plant up this tomato, basil and calendula pot in this step by step guide.
You Will Need
- Cherry tomato plant e.g. 'Tumbling Tom' or 'Gartenperle'
- Calendula (6)
- Basil plant (6)
- Wide terracotta pot, 30cm
- Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
- Slow-release fertiliser
- Water-retaining granules
Multi-purpose compost is ideal for leafy and fruiting veg, but even the best multi-purpose compost will have run dry of nutrients after about six weeks. Stir in slow-release fertiliser as per pack instructions.
Veg are thirsty plants, so water-retaining granules are useful to add. They act like a sponge, absorbing water then releasing it gradually. You won’t have to water as often, and your plants will stay healthier too.
The bigger the pot, the happier the plants. Place large pots in their final position before you fill them, as they’ll likely be too heavy to move once full of plants and damp compost.
You only need one tomato plant for this display, so buy it ready-grown – it’s inexpensive and saves raising lots of seedlings you don’t need. Place it in the middle as the star of the display.
You can also buy calendula and purple basil as ready-raised plug plants, or sow into modules and transplant the seedlings. Tuck basil in around the tomato, with calendula as a pretty outer edging.
Water well and start feeding with liquid tomato feed as soon as the tomato starts to flower. Keep a watchful eye out for aphids and slugs, disposing of both on sight.
Short of time?
If you’re short of time but still want to grow your own, consider an automated irrigation systems to make watering easier. They allow water to drip slowly onto the plants’ roots, often as part of a timer system.