Rotating Out Tomato Crops

What can I do to revitalize my tomato garden? My space is limited so I have to use the same area for several years.

The problem with growing tomatoes or even members of the same family such as potatoes, peppers and eggplant in the same spot year after year is that the soil wears out while diseases and pests move in. This is why farmers will rotate their crops or leave fields fallow. It gives the soil a chance to rejuvenate.

It is recommended that tomatoes be planted one year and then rotated out for the next two years. I suggest you follow this advice and plant tomatoes in containers for the two year waiting period. They won’t take up much space and you may even find they are easier to maintain. Plus it gives you a chance to try some other vegetables in your garden.

Use a container that is about 20 inches in diameter with several drainage holes. It’s a good idea to layer the bottom of the container with gravel to improve drainage and give the pot some weight. All those juicy tomatoes can make the plant top heavy and it would be heart breaking to find the container blown over after a storm. Also be sure to provide sturdy staking to keep the plant upright.

Choose a bagged mix rather than garden soil. It will be disease and weed free and blended to provide a soil environment where tomatoes can thrive.

Once you get the tomatoes planted, you care for them just as you would if they were growing them in the ground. You may find that you have to water more often, but I figure this extra work is worth it.