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The Best Tomatoes To Grow In A Container For A Summer Full Of Fresh Produce

Tomato plants in plastic containers on a balcony.
Certain tomato varieties grow very well in containers, which means you can have fresh produce growing on your porch or balcony!

If you want fresh tomatoes right on your porch, balcony or steps all summer long, consider containers! Container tomatoes are the perfect way to grow your own fresh produce, as long as you choose the right variety and the right container. 

When you've picked a sunny space outside, choose a fairly big container. Ideally, you'll want one that's between 16 and 18 inches. Look for the self-watering containers, as they work well and you'll just need to fill the reservoir every few days.

Now, fill your planter with potting soil that contains a mixture of compost and mycorrhizal fungus. This will support continual growth throughout the season.

The next big decision is to choose the tomato variety you'll plant. When it comes to growing tomatoes in containers, there are some types that outshine others. The most successful ones are known as dwarf indeterminates.

A dwarf indeterminate is a plant that continues to produce fruit all season long but won’t grow to an unmanageable size in your container. Look for varieties like Lizzano, Husky Cherry Red or Litt'l Bites Cherry.

Once planted, keep your container tomatoes well-watered, fertilize them each week or so and keep them in full sun. You’ll be enjoying fresh tomatoes all summer long!

Q: How do I get rid of a large patch of chervil? Is now the time? Will it die off with twice-yearly brush hogging? — Jeanne, in Chelsea

Chervil is a plant that grows fairly tall with small white flowers. It’s in the parsnip, carrot and Queen Anne’s Lace family, which means it has similar growth habits. Like these others, chervil grows biennially or as a short-lived perennial.

In order to get rid of it, you can cut it down below the soil line then pull out the large tap root but this can be challenging.

Another way to get rid of it and save yourself some time and effort, is to let it grow! By allowing the chervil to grow up and flower, that process will exhaust the plant. From there, go ahead and mow it down before it goes to seed. This should eliminate any new growth.

Q: I overwintered some of my more tender clematis in the basement. Unfortunately, they sent out very long and thin yellow shoots. Should I cut them, or will they green up? — Almut, Mansonville, Quebec, CA

Bring it outside! If the clematis stems don’t green up outdoors in the sun, you can cut them down to about six inches long to help promote some new growth. If the shoots do green up, go ahead and take the plant out of its container and replant the clematis in your garden. You may even get new, green shoots as the season progresses, too.

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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