On our property, we have many trees, and rocky soil. But by adding some composted soil to our rocky soil, we have successfully grown healthy tomatoes.
In recent years, I have been planting them in containers on our deck, which receives several hours of sun each day. I like to grow cherry and grape tomatoes as they mature more quickly than larger tomatoes and we can enjoy them for a longer time in the summer. I plant in mid-May, and the plants are finished for the season in September. I do use tomato cages right in the containers. Here are some of my grape tomatoes ripening on the deck during the summer:
This image was taken by me
The roots of the tomato plant tend to stay close to the surface of the soil, and though the plants tolerate dry soil to a degree, it is best to keep the soil somewhat moist between rain showers and storms. This is especially true for tomatoes planted in containers.
As for feeding, our plants are fed every two weeks.
I have only started plants from seeds once, it's hard to do if you don't have a sunny place to keep them, or have grow-lights. This is why I like to give my local garden shop some business by purchasing young tomato plants. I have thought of making a very small "greenhouse" like structure...more like a frame covered in heavy plastic, to cover and protect plants that I start from seeds on the sunny deck...time will tell if this project is ever done.
We are at about 900 feet in Northern NJ and planting season lasts from mid-may to mid-September, or a little later if we have a mild fall. I harvest all of the remaining tomatoes at the end of the season, even if green, and put the green tomatoes in a brown paper bag to ripen, which they do fairly quickly if they are mature enough.
In only a few months gardening can begin! I can't wait.
Tomatoes in Hand Image Credit:
Clare Bloomfield at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net