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Vining Tomato On a Trellis

Vining Tomato On a Trellis

By Pamela Crawford, author, Easy Container Combos: Vegetables & Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Pamela Crawford

I planted this tomato in July with temperatures usually above 90 degrees each day. Most tomatoes stop setting fruit at these high temperatures, but the ‘Heatwave’ continues to bear fruit until temperatures hit the 100 degree mark. ‘Heatwave’ is a vining tomato that needs a support to grow well. This $8 trellis works well.

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Photo from the home of Joan and Buzz Ahrens, Canton, Georgia.

The Plants:

‘Heatwave’ tomato: 1 plant from a 5” pot.

Pentas: 4 plants from 4” pots

Coleus: 2 plants from 4” multipacks

Creeping Jenny: 4 plants from multipacks

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Cultural Information:

Light: Full sun, at least six hours per day.

Season: ‘Heatwave’ tomatoes need heat to do well. Plant them in hot areas, where temperatures go above 90 degrees for extended periods.

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Lifespan: The tomatoes lasted about three months. The ornamental plants live for an entire summer season in most of the U.S.

Care: Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release mix. Repeat if the leaves look yellowish or washed-out, although the fertilizer should last from six to nine months.

Trim the coleus to keep it looking tight.

Trim the creeping Jenny if it hits the patio.

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Pentas bloom more if the old flowers are removed, but I never had time to do that. Most pentas currently for sale go through periods of blooming followed by rest. They attract a lot of butterflies.

Water: Water thoroughly if the plants show signs of wilt or the soil feels dry when you push your fingertip into the potting mix. I watered this one every day.

Troubleshooting: No problems at all.

Planting Plan: Be sure the container has a hole in the bottom for drainage. If it doesn’t, you will need to drill one or two. In addition to a drain hole, drill a few tiny holes in the back of the plastic pot, and use twist ties to attach the trellis to the container, so it won’t fall over. Once the trellis is attached, add potting mix to stabilize it further. Be sure to use good-quality potting mix, not garden soil, topsoil, or potting soil, which can kill your plants.

Plant the tomato along the back of the pot, and attach it to the trellis with loose ties. Add the flowers as shown in the photo.

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Container: Called a ‘party tub’ in stores. 19”L x 16”W x 9”H.

Best Time to Pick: Pick frequently to encourage more flowers and fruit formation. Tomatoes taste best when they are allowed to ripen to a bright red color on the vine, although they can be picked green to keep the birds from eating them and have them ripen in your kitchen.

This is an excerpt from Pamela Crawford’s book, Easy Container Combos: Vegetables & Flowers, available through Amazon and other online booksellers.

Pamela Crawford, author of 12 gardening books, is considered one of the most accomplished container gardening experts in the country. In addition to designing gardens for over 1500 residences, her work has been featured on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens publications as well as in Southern Living, HGTV Magazine, Fine Gardening, Country Gardens, and in over 300 newspapers. As an expert in her field, she has appeared on the Fine Living Network, GardenSMART, and numerous local tv shows.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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