19 April 2017
Choosing Tomatoes for Hanging Baskets and Containers
There are few things better than home-grown tomatoes, and you don't need to have a greenhouse to raise your own. These days there is a wide range of tomatoes suitable for growing in hanging baskets or containers. A few years ago Which? Gardening carried out a survey of 15 varieties to find which were the best for taste and yield, and details of the six which were highly recommended are listed here.
'Hundreds and Thousands'
A single plant in our 13in basket produced a very impressive 504 fruits from the start of August until the end of September. The sweet, mini-cherry fruit measuring just 15mm in diameter were singled out as the most flavoursome by our taste panel.
Yield: 2lb 6oz
Fruit per basket: 504
The spreading habit of this variety is well suited to a hanging basket, filling our baskets and producing attractive clusters of fruit on trusses that trailed down from all sides. This variety yielded almost 4lb 6oz of small, uniform, cherry-sized fruit (30mm in diameter) from a single basket. 'Tumbler' had a well-balanced, classic tomato flavour with a burst of sweetness.
Yield: 4lb 3oz
Fruit per basket: 171
Not one of the highest yielding varieties, but it trailed nicely and its juicy, flavoursome fruit made it well worth trying in a basket. The slightly elongated fruit were a fantastic deep red and tumbled nicely over the sides of baskets.
Yield: 2lb 10oz
Fruit per basket: 81
This cascading, vigorous variety stands out for its unusual colour and is well suited to a hanging basket. In our trial, 'Garden Pearl' quickly spread over all sides of the baskets and the unusual, pearlised crimson colour and heart-shaped fruit were a hit with our taste panel. They were divided on the texture however – more flesh than juice was the verdict – but everyone liked the flavour. This was the second-highest-yielding variety in the trial.
Yield: 3lb 12oz
Fruit per basket: 289
'Tumbling Tom Red'
This tomato does exactly as its name suggests – it's a genuine tumbling variety and is well suited to growing in a basket. The trusses of small, bright red, cherry-sized fruit trailed nicely from all sides of the baskets. 'Tumbling Tom Red' was also a hit with our taste panel, who thought the rich red fruit struck just the right balance of acidity and sweetness.
Yield: 3lb 5oz
Fruit per basket: 233
'Tumbling Tom Yellow'
Less vigorous, but just as prolific as its red counterpart, the spreading habit of 'Tumbling Tom Yellow' was just right for basket growing. Our taste panel found the small yellow fruit juicy and sweet.
Yield: 3lb 8oz
Fruit per basket: 234
The trial involved growing three plants from each variety singly in a 13" basket, all of which were fed with Chempak Standard Tomato Food.
I have just sown some Tumbling Tom Red seeds and all being well should enjoy some tasty cherry tomatoes in a few months time.