Watering potted tomatoes

I'm trying to grow tomatoes in a pot (one plant per large pot). How often should they be watered and how much water should they get? I also don't know if I should use some sort of drip irrigation system (something simple like soda bottles) or just water them by hand with a watering can. How often should I use plant food?
I have what I call a thumb of death. I cannot grow plants at all. In fact, I can't even grow potted grass for my indoor cats. So obviously, I need some help. On the bright side, my tomato plants haven't died, yet.
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You can check here or enter "container+tomatoes" into any search engine for the information you seek. http://www.cottageliving.com/cottage/gardens/article/0,21135,1043472,00.html

There are over 2,300,000 hits for container growing of tomatoes. Knock yourself out. <g>
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Mike S. wrote:

LOL ~ YOU too? Thumb of death is the funniest thing I have read. Years ago at our other house in New Jersey we had something called a Square Foot Garden, where by the same principle occurred.
My husband provided a drainage system to eliminate root rot. In that they were outside, it rained quite often that summer so I had to make sure they had miracle grow. Perhaps there is a special MG for vegetables. I realize putting them in the ground one must wait, yet I see the Amish farmers already have planted corn, tomatoes and many others veggies.
Here is a site for SFG. http://www.squarefootgardening.com /
Good luck. If it will make you feel better Mike, my house plants look at me and decide to die.
I give them to our daughter-in-law and she looks them over realizing they were in the wrong window, or not getting adequate feeding of MG. Looking for small white flies, flying when the plant is disturbed or shaken. White fly lives on the under side of upper leaves. She sprays them with an oil oil spray weekly, until no flies are present. This heavy spray will kind of glue the white fly in place and smother them.
Thanks for your humor and fun. No I am not usually up this early or late. Had Chinese food last night and if I see another Tum I will Barf. So I am sitting her sipping ginger ale. Bette
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Mike S. wrote:

Mike,
You will likely have to water them daily (it depends on how big your containers are and what type of potting mixture you used). The drip systems work fairly well, but again, it depends on the potting mixture you used. How often you will need to feed your plants depends on what fertilizer you use. For containers, I like the slow release ones. You only need to use them several times a season.
I grow over a two dozen different varieties of tomatoes and I do like to grow a few of them in containers. There are quite a few of the smaller varieties that do very well in containers. Some of them grow less than a foot tall and produce a fairly large crop for their size.
As far as your remark that you have "a thumb of death", I don't believe that there is any such affliction. Gardening is knowledge, watchfulness, and hard work. Even after more than 40 years of gardening it is still a constant learning experience for me. Every season there are things that work and things that don't work. Learn from the things that don't work and try something new each year. And keep reading this newsgroup. We will do our best to make a gardener out of you.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Gardening for over 40 years
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In article no_weeds snipped-for-privacy@iglou.com says...

Last year with the drought I had to water them every day and sometimes that wasn't even enough. My container tomatoes never did well. Last year they grew funny and I had lots of BER and cracking and the time before that the fruit looked deformed although very edible. This year I'm using a highly arable draining potting soil. As an experiment I mixed slow release fertilizer in half the containers and used mushroom compost as nutrients in the other half so we'll see.
Another big problem with containers (as far as I've read) is heat. If the roots get over 90 degrees they start dieing and containers can be very vulnerable to getting hot in the summer. I'm installing some system to at least shade the pots from the sun so they don't heat up so much. I think that could have been part of my problems with container tomatoes last year too.
So far tomatoes in containers have been my biggest challenge and failure over the past years. Although I always got enough tomatoes to eat and occasionally give away I didn't get the full potential from the plants.
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says...

Just to clarify this for the OP (because I suspect it's intuitive for you at this point), one reason for cracked tomatoes is extremes of moisture - letting them get very dry, and then watering a lot. They like their soil to be evenly moist all the time, if possible. When grown in the ground, this is less of an issue, and a thick layer of mulch will go far in terms of helping.
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How big is the pot? Measure diameter across the top, and height, and come back with this information.
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here is what I do. I use a 50/50 mix of manure and soil. I bury the tomato up the top set of leaves to increase root mass. I mulch only once it is growing well (it likes it hot). the pots are white or they get too hot on the roots. I have them on an automatic watering system every other day. the idea is this. even watering and the roots will develop accordingly. if you dont water for several days then the roots will grow more looking for more water and when the plant is watered it takes up TOO much water and splits the developing tomatoes or causes the mushy end. Ingrid

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