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I'm planning on growing some tomatoes in containers and I'm getting all kinds of answers as to what size pots to put them in. The range of answers is 5 gallon to 20 gallon all the way up to 30 gallon. The types I'm planning on growing are Better Boy, Early Girl, Brandywine, and Italian Roma.

If you planted them in 5 gallon containers would you have to keep them trimmed back so as to not outgrow the container?

Are there any drawbacks to a larger container in terms of the plant and not cost of soil and/or being hard to move around?

also someone gave some decorative (glazed) tiny pots, would it be ok to start seeds in such pots?

thank you, TheOmegaMan
 

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We used 5 gallon buckets last year. Drilled several holes in the bottom, laid in about an inch of gravel, then an inch of sand, then the rest with 1/3 potting mix, 1/3 perlite and 1/3 peat moss. Plants were taller than me (5'3") by the end of the season ...

This year we built some square trellises to put the pots inside when we plant this year so they have support as they grow up, but at the end of the season we can pull the buckets out and clean them and put them away for next year. Same with trellises. We can clean them off and put them in storage for next season instead of leaving them out in the weather 24/7, 365.
 

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5 gallon buckets should be plenty, especially if you use a light mix for the soil, similar to what BadgeBunny said... If you use regular topsoil, I am afrid you will find the soil too heavy and hard to keep moist and will have trouble growing good tomatoes in them...

I use the soil mix from the Square Foot Gardening method for all my containers... It is very light, holds moisture, and is loaded with nutrients... It consists of 1/3 peat moss (holds moisture), 1/3 vermiculite (provides aeration), and 1/3 compost (nutrient rich)... I have excellent results with this... As a matter of fact, it doesnt take 5 gallons of this to grow an awesome tomato in... Check it out... www.squarefootgardening.com

Karl
 

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The short answer is what ever is most convenient for you...the plant isn't concerned. Roots don't absorb solids, only liquids and gases. So the only nutrients a plant gets has to be in either dissolved or gaseous form. Water, being an almost universal solvent, is capable of carrying dissolved nutrients through the cell walls of the root. This is why Hydroponics is able to work. Soil acts primarily as a home for the biota that breakdown the organic material into forms that can be dissolved. It also serves as a reservoir for water. The container only serves to hold the soil. The soil holds water and nutrients. If you want to work every 20 mins or so, you can eliminate the soil completely and just dunk the roots into a nutrient solution for a few mins and leave them out for a few mins to breath. The upshot to all this is that the smaller the container, the more frequently you have to attend them. Larger containers give you more time to do other things. Beyond that, its simply a matter of choice on your part.
 

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I like the 2 cubic foot pots with Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil. I'll mix in some 13-13-13 fertilizer in the pots, then plant whatever I'am growing.

5 gallon buckets are nice, but you need a way to let the water drain out.
 

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5 gallon buckets should be plenty, especially if you use a light mix for the soil, similar to what BadgeBunny said... If you use regular topsoil, I am afrid you will find the soil too heavy and hard to keep moist and will have trouble growing good tomatoes in them...
You are exactly right. Every time I've tried this method with regular soil from the garden the plants do well until the soil packs down and the water just runs between the soil and the bucket. I'm always to cheap to buy potting soil, but maybe I should try it.
 

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You are exactly right. Every time I've tried this method with regular soil from the garden the plants do well until the soil packs down and the water just runs between the soil and the bucket. I'm always to cheap to buy potting soil, but maybe I should try it.
Even potting soil will be too heavy if you don't cut it with peat moss. I just added the perlite because it helps hold moisture. Like OKGlocker I got my original recipe from SquareFootGardening.

Those little wire cages you buy at the store are absolutely worthless in the Oklahoma wind ... :( Will let you guys know how our homemade wooden ones work out this year.
 
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