Posted on 08 April 2011 by

Designing a Tomato Based Patio Planter

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Planting tomatoes in a planter on the patio does not appeal to all gardeners.

Some individuals require more style from their patio plantings.

This is where understanding companion plantings comes into play and aids the tomato gardener in their planter creations.

A patio container needs to have a drainage holes in the bottom to prevent the plant material from rotting. This is very important when it comes to tomatoes.

Next, knowing what type of tomato will work for this type of planting is crucial. Determinate or patio tomatoes are the best types to use for container gardening.

Both these types do not require trellising and come in a variety of styles. Some produce small fruit that is yellow, red, or even red and green mottled. The appearance of the tomato leaf is pretty much standard along with the shape and color of the blooms. So the biggest visual impact of a tomato plant comes from the size, shape, and color of its fruit.

Subsequently adding interest to patio plantings comes from the use of other plants. Bush beans and cucumbers can stand along side the tomato plants in a planter without any trellising, so they are great for adding height to any design. Peas and non-bush type beans and/or cucumbers add that trellising element to patio containers that is important.

Herbs can be planted among the taller tomato plants and can act as filler in a container garden. These include basil, chives, mint, garlic, and parsley. These types of plants can be found in a variegated form, color, texture, aroma and/or taste. So take full advantage of these plants to add a mixture in texture, and aroma.

When planning this type of container utilize the shady areas that are created by the height of the tomato plants. Spinach, Bibb lettuce, and arugula all work well when planted underneath the leaves of the tomato plant.

So far this design is quite green. While some individuals may find planting a monochromic container pleasing, I find variety adds spice to life and plantings. To create that kick or spice adds marigolds, and nasturtiums to the mix. These flowers come in a wide range of oranges and yellows that can add depth while mixing in a variety of color.

While these plants increase the amount of produce that can be harvested in a small space it also adds unique visual interest to the patio. The looks are unlimited and depend solely on one’s imagination.

So until we blog again, Patio planting add color and charm, but can also become a yielding farm. Plan your patio containers with care, and only use plants that work together and share. One may be surprised by the yield of color, produce, aroma, and feel, produced by plants typically found in a vegetable garden’s yield.

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