Martha Stewart's ingenious container tip is the easy, eco-friendly secret to perfect tomatoes

Advice from the beloved horticultural expert will enrich our tomatoes' roots – and fill our kitchen gardens with flavor

Tomato plant with yellow and red tomatoes
(Image credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

Martha Stewart's advice has already shaped gardens worldwide, but her latest tomato growing tip brings her kitchen garden ideas to a new level. 

The celebrated personality has returned with a new show, Martha Gets Down and Dirty, in which she shares the secrets of her 150-acre New York farm. In the first episode, Martha explores the art of growing tomatoes, including a simple yet thoroughly effective tip that will elevate your crop. 

Martha Stewart's eco container tip

Martha Stewart in her garden

(Image credit: Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff at Getty)

When growing tomatoes, Martha suggests using dissolvable/biodegradable containers to improve the plant's chance of survival, as these containers are likely to maintain their shape. They also promote 'nice big root balls,' which can be placed into the ground without worrying about the transfer. And, of course, they're good for the environment.

But is it really that simple? Chief Horticulturist at RHS, Guy Barter, expands on Martha's tip and reveals what we need to know about biodegradable pots before making the investment. 

'There are two kinds of biodegradable pots – firstly ones that need milling followed by industrial composting to dissolve. This can be accomplished by adding the pot to certain waste collection streams,' Guy begins. However, he urges us to seek advice from local waste services, as not all collection services accept the pots.

Tomato plant with red tomatoes

(Image credit: Photo by Davor Denkovski on Unsplash)

'Here, the tomato is tipped from the pot and planted as you would a plant from a plastic pot,' Guy adds.

The second type of container – the pot most suitable for Martha's tomato planting tip – is made from paper, miscanthus fiber, or coir, although Guy urges us to avoid choosing pots made of peat. 'We frown on peat use as being environmentally unsound,' he shares.

'Here pots are planted roots and all and rot away in the soil. These are a great idea – there is no "check" from root disturbance, no pots to gather up, and no plastic to dispose of. They are not expensive either. The only drawback is that they are too fragile for use in the garden center trade but very good for home garden use,' Guy explains. 

tomatoes picked next to flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of course, using this type of container with tomatoes is just one of the eco-friendly garden ideas to adopt – they are available for other fruit, vegetable and flower varieties, too, and we encourage you to seek them out instead of plastic.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.