After sampling some fresh tomato salsa, made from a friend’s fresh garden tomatoes, I decided on a whim to try growing tomatoes in a container on my backyard deck.
Shucks, why not? It worked for flowers and other plants.
Having never grown tomatoes before, I basically didn’t know what I was doing, how to do it, or even if it was possible to grow tomatoes in a container. The one thing I DID know, which later on proved to be false, was that I wasn’t going to try to start any tomatoes from seed, in a container or otherwise. I’d read it was hard. It was time to take a trip to the local nurseries around town. The hunt for a tomato plant was on. Fortunately, it was gardening season and there were LOTS of starter plants to choose from.
Going up and down the rows of starter plants on display, looking at all the different cultivars, it occurred to me I needed to learn much more about them, things like, what’s the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes, which one would be better for growing in a container and why?
YAY for all of the informative little tags they put on all those plants for sale, Early Girl, Better Boy, Park’s Whopper, Lemon Boy, and of course, a Patio Bush Tomato, which was the final choice. YAY for the internet! Yay for the hearts of Gardeners, those who plowed through new ground and wrote the books about how they did it! All of the pouring over pages and pages and pages (okay, you get what I mean) of electronic content and devouring chapter upon chapter of gardening knowledge, became 1 tomato plant in 1 container, that I grew to make salsa for the people I worked with for 1 potluck.
When the coworkers tasted the homemade salsa concocted using fresh tomatoes, it got rave reviews. Friends suggested I can it and give it away as Christmas gifts. Protesting about the fact that I didn’t know how to can, they proceeded to educate me about water bath canning. After going through the trouble of canning the salsa, though, I discovered it really wasn’t necessary at all, because it didn’t last long enough to warrant the effort. It disappeared rather quickly once they had the jar of it in their hands. This was a tremendous confidence booster to a beginning gardener.
Originally the ingredients for the salsa, such as cilantro, garlic, onions, and peppers, were store bought. The mind is a dangerous thing. Silly me, I allowed it (my mind) to wander into the realm of other possibilities, and, of course, started reading more books about how I could make those possibilities happen.
First, it was 1 tomato plant. Next came the peppers, cilantro, and garlic. After that came more. Much more. The garden grew. I grew. When you grow, you grow. It can’t be helped and must be some kind of universal law.
In the beginning, my garden was quite small. I didn’t need to till up a huge chunk of land and plant row upon row of vegetation. I didn’t have to weed those rows either. There are very nice advantages when it comes to growing veggies in containers. The garden grew pot by pot, and plant by plant, in the medium sized space on the backyard deck.
The purpose of this post is not to brag or to glory in personal gardening successes, it is to encourage those who have thought about starting a garden to go on and start one. Gardening, and more specifically organic gardening, is good for you! Start off with a couple of plants in a container or two, and just keep growing with it from there.