I have been growing heriloom tomatoes in a Community Garden here in Toronto for the last 12 years. A week ago the City padlocked the entrance to all community gardens here in Toronto including mine. I am hoping that they will lift this restriction before the end of May so I can plant my tomato seedlings. Unfortunately none of us have any idea exactly when the City is going to relax this ban so I am looking at possible alternatives as to where to plant these seedlings. I ordered these seedkings over a month ago. They are growing in a greenhouse as we speak. They will be delivered by mid May. My problem is that if restrictions are not lifted in time for planting in late May early JUne, I will have knowehere to plant them. Unfortunately there is knowhere on my home property that has the required sunlight or proper soil. The only idea I have been able to come up with so far is to plant these seedlings in large containers/pots and hope they stay alive until my community garden opens again and II can get them in the ground. Any other ideas on where or how to plant these seedlings until I am allowed access to my garden again would be much appreciated.
The good thing about tomato seedlings is that they like heat so it is best not to plant them out too early anyway. If the city community gardens do open in early to mid-June you should still be okay to plant them out then.
Otherwise, if you can’t borrow space in a neighbour’s garden then planting in containers is probably the best option. Here are a few tips on choosing the best containers and growing medium:
Choose large, wide containers to provide lots of root space. In general, a 5 gallon container is considered the minimum size. Tomatoes grow large root systems, and they need room to develop for best production. A large container will also prevent the soil from drying out too quickly during the heat of summer.
Containers made of porous materials like clay dry out faster than those made of plastic or wood, and therefore require more frequent watering especially in hot or windy conditions. Do not use preservative- treated containers for edibles, because the chemicals may leach into the soil and then into your plants.
All containers used for growing vegetables should have drainage holes. Without drainage holes the soil and roots will become water logged and the plant will die. Lightweight, well-drained and well-aerated media is best for growing plants in containers. Garden soil alone will soon become compacted in a container garden, leading to poor aeration and water drainage. Your local garden centres offer sterilized, soil less potting soil that are ideal for planting in containers.
Keep in mind that tomatoes need around 6-8 hours of sun a day.
Toronto Master Gardeners have created an excellent Garden Guide on this subject. For more information see:
The following site has a good article on growing tomatoes including sections on heirloom varieties and growing tomatoes in containers.