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How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

Posted by organic_wonderful 10 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 3, 11 at 19:15

Since a fair number of people in this forum have had experience growing tomatoes in very large containers (such as 18 US gallon containers i.e. about 70L), I was wondering, as a single person, how many would I need to plant to be able to feed myself?

I am planning on growing multiple different varieties, both determinate and indeterminate. I have loads of different types in my seed tin to choose from, so I probably wouldn't be able to grow them all in large containers as the amount of 511 mix I would need would be enormous.

I know with each phenotype, variety, variations in environment etc the yield can vary, but it would really be helpful if someone could give me a ball park figure for the number of plants to grow. I would rather have a bit of an excess so that I can preserve them to use over the winter until next year if that's possible.

I imagine that growing a tomato plant in an enormous 70L pot yields much more than in the much smaller pots that gardeners normally use to grow their tomatoes in, but I have no idea how much more it is in practice, since I've never grown in this way ever before, so any advice would be appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

One or two plants will provide more tomatoes than I can stomach, personally....
but I grow about eight plants, different varieties, so that I can share with family, friends,
and fellow employees. In the other Thread, I posted a pic of my 20 gallon container for my deck
tomato - SunGold - which is an indeterminate cherry type tomato. I can pick those little gems
every day, straight through October.

The problem I have is that I get too many tomatoes at once - far too many for fresh eating.
Salsas and frozen pasta sauches are a great way to make use of all the inevitable excess, and
this guarantees some of that home-grown flavor year-round.


RE: How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

  • Posted by pwroz 11, Hawaii (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 4, 11 at 5:54

I've had the same question on my mind. I am new to growing tomatoes. My interest piqued when I found tomato plants growing wild in my yard. I figured if they did well enough to produce with no care at all in the yard I ought to be able to get good results with prepared containers, and actually planting varieties I know do well in Hawaii.

I make a salad several days a week and would love to gather perhaps 10 oz. or more of tomatoes every day, with indeterminates planted every few weeks as they can grow year-round. Does anyone know of a list of yield estimates? Has anyone measured the yield of, say, there Beefsteak plant? How long might I expect a single plant to last? It rarely goes below 60 degrees in my valley; the "wild" ones apparently grew from November and gave fruit in January.

RE: How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

A quick web search seemed to show plants produce on average about 10 pounds of tomatoes. That can vary wildly, and what 10 pounds of tomatoes means when feeding a person, I don't know. I also found an old discussion of this subject at GW. It looked excellent to me. Link is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: How many plants to grow?

RE: How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

Here is a great recipe for those tomatoes it was my dear Mothers and its great for them extra tomatoes.


RE: How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

How much more does a tomato plant in a 70L pot yield than a tomato plant in say a 20L pot?

Is it really necessary to use pots as large as 70L? Surely that's a bit excessive? I'm unsure as to whether the value of the tomatoes will be more than the cost of 70 of 511 medium. So can't I just get away with using less?

RE: How mllany tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

^sorry I meant *70L of 511 medium*.

RE: How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

I don't know the exact amount...

But you'll get considerably fewer tomatoes in 20L than you will in 70L.

In my neck of the woods, name brand bags of potting soil cost much more than
bags of bark ($8). Perlite costs me $20 for 4 cubic feet. When all's said and done,
the bark-based 5-1-1 costs a lot less than an equivalent volumce of store-bought soil.


RE: How many tomatoes in containers do I need to feed myself?

The thing is, I can only get 75L of bark that's the type I need for �19.99 ($32 USD). After sifting it's a bit less than 75L. So, it costs more over here in the UK than in the US. Unless I can find a cheaper source (easier said than done!), using massive amounts of bark is expensive for me.

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