I've had great success with 4 tomato plants in a 1.5 quart (2 quart at
most) clay pot. They seem to like loose soil as I packed the soil one
day and they started to struggle. The soil was composted soil made
with coffee grounds, banana peels, oak leaves, jacaranda tree needles,
some WalMart dirts and Florida sand. I was amazed by what the self
made composted dirt does and continue to have good success with it.
I keep adding coffee grounds, banana peels and orange peels to it.
Every so often I put some sphagnum peat into it as well.
Anyways, for about 5 or 6 months, the tomato plants did absolutely
wonderful. I'm not 100% positive that pressing the soil down did
what it did, but that's the way I'm leaning. There were 4 of the plants
in one small pot (about 7" high, maybe 6" across the top). And I
found out they love the bottom feeding, filling the pot bottom from a
bigger plastic pot with water every morning.
They are now in the ground and I'm still watching them. They seem
to making a comeback (their roots must be spreading outward now.
They get maybe 3 hours of direct sun each day as the sun is setting.
They have been under a tree for the last 3 to 4 months and they
started out on a dining room table until they just got too big for the
table (they did get more direct sun at that time because the dining
table is in a sun room on the south side of the house and the sun
was running farther south).
So my conclusions include the following:
1) Composted loose rich soil for tomatoes.
2) 3 or 4 hours of direct sun is all they need, anymore seems to
stress them, especially when the temps are 80 or higher.
3) They grow well with a lot of indirect sunlight.
4) A smallish clay pot works great to start them. After they get to about
8 inches or more in height, putting the clay pot into a larger plastic pot's
bottom and filling the plastic bottom with water every day works great.
I place some emphasis upon the order above, where the most important
thing is having a nicely composted rich soil. Based upon what Vox
mentioned about her neighbor having them in the shade all day, I'll go
along with that. In fact, I know for a fact that overkill on sunlight stresses
tomatoes here in Florida. I've not had any success at all with tomatoes
placed in direct sunlight here. But it could be a combination of things
that caused my problems with direct sun (like poor soil (sand), temps
reaching 80 F).
Please post replies to newsgroup.
In my experience, you can get away with a one gallon pot, but a three gallon
pot would be better. I had a neighbor who grew tomatoes in pots on the
north side of his house with lots of shade from trees and they produced
faily well. If all you have is 4 hours, then go with it. The alternative
would be to not grown them.