One of my workmates, Cassie C. loves to garden, but lives in an apartment with no yard in which to dig.
So she potted up a few veggies at work.
A few days ago I caught her in the act of re-potting her cherry tomatoes and so I cornered her and peppered her with questions regarding the astounding success of her container gardening project.
And this is when Cassie C started to speak in riddles saying things like ‘indeterminate growth habit’ and ‘determinate growth habit’ and the room started spinning and I had to sit down.
Once I came back to my senses I learned that indeterminate growth habit means ‘it can get really big even if it is planted in a container’ and determinate growth habit means ‘it will only grow to fit the pot it is planted in’.
Which is why Cassie C had to re-pot her cherry tomatoes.
They had grown too big for the pot.
They were indeterminate.
But her celebrity tomatoes were determinate. They only grow to the size of the pot! See the knowledge you gain from reading this blog! Imagine the people you can impress with this planty tidbit! Not to mention the philosophical ramifications of deciding if you yourself are determinate or indeterminate.
Typically at the garden center when we re-pot things, we tear the root-ball up before we stick it in the new pot. We want to encourage the roots to reach out to the new dirt. However, Cassie did not rough up the root-ball of her tomatoes very much as her tomatoes were clearly not root bound. A root bound plant would be a tangle of white roots and you wouldn’t see much dirt. Cassie C’s tomatoes are in really good shape so she just lightly loosened them up at the bottom of the plant.
Cassie originally planted her tomatoes in a three gallon pot, in good potting soil, with about a quarter cup of ‘slow release’ 13-13-13 – which is a fertilizer, mixed in. She usually waters her tomatoes twice a day and sets them in a sunny spot. Containers need to be watered more frequently than plants that grow in the ground as they dry up much faster, but one of the nice things about containers is that they can be moved. Cassie has taken her plants inside a few times during severe storms or when we had incessant rainfall several days in a row. She is a little on the over-protective side when it comes to her plants.
When Cassie re-potted her tomatoes, she added a bit more 13-13-13. (Maybe about a teaspoon).
She also fertilizes her tomatoes once a week with a liquid fertilizer making her over-protective and over-indulgent.
And as a result of all this pampering and protecting, she has some beautiful plants.
At the garden center, even plants in four inch containers will often bear fruit.
But none of them are as magnificent as Cassie C’s sweet one hundred cherry tomatoes.
And they not only look beautiful…