Cassie C’s Container Garden

July 23rd, 2010

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…

They taste great too.


  • Nanc in Ashland:

    Go Cassie! I love container gardens! My Mum bought a house with a huge yard thinking she would “get into” gardening. Didn’t really happen until we bought 10 half barrels and filled them up with dirt and compost. Now she has a lovely variety of veggies and I made her a lettuce sun protector out of an old red umbrella with a broken handle. Her Lemon Boy and yellow pear tomatoes seem to do particularly well in the containers. She claims they survive despite her care.

    Oh and thanks for the nice series of photos to illustrate the repotting process.

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Did Cassie lug those tomatoes from home to repot them? I’m impressed.

    My tomatoes seem to be just plain determined. The yellow pear is determined to take over the garden and strangle the romas. The romas are determined to lay low and not even bloom much. Will they eventually go to war, or will the romas just be bullied into giving up, oh Garden Goddess?

    • Rechelle:

      Cassie keeps her containers at work making it much easier for her to spoil them rotten. Sorry to hear about your romas. Mine aren’t very impressive either. None of my tomatoes are doing very well right now dang it!

  • LucyJoy:

    WOW, oh WOW! Cassie’s tomatoes are gorgeous! They make me wish I would have planted some this year!

  • While I love Cassie’s plant in the container, I’m more amazed that you can actually get vegetables to grow in the 4″ container. I had no idea, Wow!!

    • Rechelle:

      i know – it is somewhat amazing to pick a cucumber off a plant that is growing in a pot the size of a coffee cup. The magic of water and fertilizer.

  • It’s a shame Cassie doesn’t have a yard to grow her wonderful plants, but then she’d probably never show up for work. :)

  • Angie:

    They look delicious. I tried the same thing this summer–unfortunately, I did not water them twice per day (more like twice per week), so they did not survive the Florida sun for long. But the 5 tomatoes we did get were yummy.