Growing your own tomatoes is very straight forward and you just need a couple of tomato plants and these plants will repay you with lots of delicious and tasty tomatoes during the summer period.
There are all kinds of tomato sizes tomatoes, that you can try, from the smallest cherry types, through to full-flavoured large beefsteak tomatoes.
Further tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C, and also have useful quantities of potassium, manganese and folate. Tomatoes also have a powerful antioxidant, called lycopene, which is believed to help prevent health problems such as cancer and heart disease.
You can grow tomatoes and use them to make:
In this article we will focus on cherry tomatoes, because cherry tomatoes are very functional in the kitchen. Cherry tomatoes sweet juicy flavor makes them a very good summer fruit to add to pasta dishes, thrown among salads, their bright colors add a fast visual appeal. Cherry tomatoes are also often enjoyed by children, and raw cherry tomatoes are a tasty and healthy addition to the school lunch box.
Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow in containers on a deck or a terrace and require very little care, and therefore cherry tomatoes are even perfect for unambitious gardeners.
Therefore in this little guide we will focus on the best way to grow cherry tomatoes.
Preparing to Grow your Tomato Plants
The good thing about Cherry tomatoes – they are bite-sized tomatoes that grow quickly, ripen early, taste great and are good for you. For that reason, the cherry tomato plant is one of the most popular plants to grow because it is easy to grow and produces a harvest quickly.
If you would like to start growing your own fruits and vegetables, then knowing about how to grow cherry tomatoes the best way is a great way to begin.
To grow your cherry tomatoes the best way, you will need to prepare the environment for the tomato plant, grow the cherry tomatoes the right way, and maintain the tomato plant correctly.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Purchase new tomato plants or seeds.
It is possible to grow cherry tomatoes from new plants or seeds. Growing from new plants will give you cherry tomatoes faster than growing your cherry tomatoes from seeds. You can buy seedlings or tomato plants from a farmer’s market or local garden center.
You can typically buy seeds from your local garden center or from a seed catalog, and there are several types of seeds to choose from. A few popular types of cherry tomatoes are:
- The Sungold plant. This type of cherry tomato is growing large and is typically very fast to produce tomato. Therefore, this plant is a very good choice.
- The Sun Sugar variety. The Sun Sugar type is very much like the Sungold plant, but the skin does not break as easily.
- The Chadwick and Fox are types that grow very quickly and have a tangy taste.
- The Sweet Treats type has a very deep red color, sweet taste, and it is also very resistant to many kinds of illnesses.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – You can grow your cherry tomatoes from containers or in a garden.
You can grow cherry tomatoes in a garden or from containers. No method is better than the other and your succeed depends a lot on your location and how you work with your tomato plants.
If you choose to grow your tomatoes in a pot or container, a pot or container that can keep four to six gallons is a very good size. A material with plastic or fiber glass pot works well, but anything from a terra-cotta planter to a garbage can work out well.
One of the best tips when you are growing cherry tomatoes is to put limestone in the bottom of each of the holes before placing the tomato plants into the ground. The lime stones will prevent your tomato plants to get blossom end rot.
You should plant the cherry tomato plants in the ground after the plants are 6 to 10 inches tall. If you do it before this time, you have an increased risk that the tomato plants may die.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Buy mix or plant in fertile soil.
If you are using containers to plant your tomato plants, you should not use dirt from the garden. Dirt from outdoors risks transferring pests or diseases to the tomato plant. Instead, you should buy an organic potting mix, and purchase one 20-quart box to start out with.
- Fertile soil is usually darker and will crumble when held in your hands. A soil that is not fertile will clump in your hands.
- Organic mechanics is a well-known and appreciated brand.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Test the soil in your location.
If you are using a garden to grow your tomato plants, then it is a good idea to perform a soil test of the area where you want to plant your tomatoes. This will help you decide, whether you need to change the soil’s pH, nutrient level, and tilth.
If you need to change the soil, then it is best to make these changes at least two weeks before planting your tomatoes.
Here is how you test soil at your location:
- Dig a 6- to 10- inch hole in the location, that you will use for planting your tomatoes. To test tilth, you need to separate a clod about the size of a soup can and break it apart with your fingers. The soil should be made of different sized crumbs. It shouldn’t be powdery or clumpy.
- Buy an organic potting mix rather of using dirt from the garden to avoid transferring diseases or pests to your tomato plant. Check the soil on a daily bases, to see if it is dry, and if you want healthy tomato plants keep it consistently moist.
- Check for living organisms in the soil. Healthy soil will have living things like insects, worms, centipedes, spiders, and others. Watch for about 4 minutes and count – If you have less than 10 organisms, your soil may not be ideal, and you should consider to work with your soil.
- You might also need a testing kit to check PH. You should be able to find a testing kit at your local home and garden store. Pick some soil into a plastic or glass container and then follow the instructions of the testing kit.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Choose a sunny location for your tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes needs a lot of sun to grow and get healthy. Choose a location, where you expect at least eight hours of direct sunlight every day. Further it is important, that the tomato plants are not shaded by other plants.
If the tomato plant does not receive enough sun it will wither and not produce good tomatoes.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Buy a tomato cage or wooden stakes.
The cherry tomato plant grows very fast, so you will need to have something to support the vines as soon as they begin to grow long. You can use either a tomato cage or wooden stakes.
For a tomato cage, you should buy a big tomato cage from your local garden center or a home improvement store. Wooden stakes can also be purchased at local garden centers or at home improvement stores.
- You will need to tie the vine around the stake as it grows. A cage does not need as much tying.
- Do not use a plastic or vinyl cage. It is dangerous to the plants and can expose them to lead.
- If you keep the tomato plants off of the ground, then you help the air circulation, which give you a cleaner and healthier fruit.
- You can also use cages and stakes together. In this case the stakes should be placed in the center of the cages.
- It is important to find a big metal cage because the tomato vines grow fast and may overgrow a smaller cage quickly.
Growing Your Cherry Tomato Plants
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Begin planting your tomato plants in warm weather.
Cherry tomato plants need warm weather to grow and they will die if they are exposed to frost. Therefore, the last frost date should pass about a week before you begin planting your tomato plants. The weather should be around 70 in Fahrenheit and around 21 in Celsius when planting seedlings.
If planting from seeds, you can start them indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last average frost date. You will typically need two or three months of warm or hot weather to grow and harvest your tomatoes.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Make sure the container has water drainage.
If you are planting in a pot or container, it needs to have holes in the bottom for water drainage. If it does not have holes, then you can drill ¼ to ½ holes every few inches around the bottom of the edge and a few holes in the center as well.
If you are putting the tomato plants in your garden, you may need a little preparation before planting, given the results of your locations soil test, that we mentioned above.
If you plan to keep the container inside your home or on a balcony, it will be a good idea to put a saucer underneath the container or pot, so that the water drainage doesn’t run out everywhere. You can find a saucer at a local garden center, home improvement stores, and at some supermarkets.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Fill in the potting mix.
Pour the potting mix into the container. Water the mix until it is evenly moist. Then, fill in more mix until it comes ½ inch below the rim of the container. The surface of the soil should be even.
You can use a cup or watering can to water the mix.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Dig a small hole into the mix or soil.
You should dig a small hole into the center of the soil if you are planting in a container. If you are planting multiple tomato plants in a garden, you will need to dig holes two feet apart from each other. Put the tomato plants into the small holes.
Planting from seedling requires inserting it deep enough in the hole so that only four or five leaves are left showing once the hole is covered. The hole only needs to be a few inches deep.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Cover the hole.
Use the soil that you removed to fill in the hole. As mentioned above the seedling should only be showing about four leaves. Make sure the surface of the soil is even when you have finished covering the tomato plant.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Place the tomato cage in the garden.
When you have planted your tomato plants next step is to put the point end of the cage around the area where you have planted. The seedlings should be in the middle of the cage. If you are using stakes, you can wait to put in the stakes until the seeds have sprouted into seedlings. Then put the stakes three inches from the seedling.
It is a good idea to use a hammer to secure that the stakes keeps into the ground. If you wail until the tomato plant is larger to cage or stake it can risk to result in a damaged tomato plant.
Maintaining Your Tomato Plants
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Water your tomato plants on a regular basis.
You should water the tomato plants every two or three days. You should take care of, that the soil, where you have the tomato plants should be moist at all times.
If you at any point feel it is dry, then water the soil or mix until it is moist again. The soil should seem saturated, but not drowning in water.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Fertilize your tomato plants once a week.
The fertilizer gives the tomato plants the nutrition to grow and succeed. Basically, it acts as food. Use an organic fertilizer once a week.
The best way to use the fertilizer, is to work it into the first few inches of soil with your fingers or a plastic fork. It is important that you make sure, that the fertilizer stays a few inches away from the stem.
– A few well known brands of organic fertilizer for tomatoes are Gardener’s Supply, Tomato-tone, and Burpee Organic Tomato Fertilizer.
– Instructions can be different according to the specific fertilizer product. Therefore, follow the instructions on the label when using the fertilizer.
– Organic fertilizers release nutrients more slowly than chemical fertilizers. Therefore, if you use a chemical fertilizer, you risk burning the roots of the tomato plant, though the chemical fertilizers are often cheaper.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Prune your tomato plants when needed.
Once the tomato plants have grown bigger, you will need to prune them when it is needed. You need to prune when sprouts and branches start to grow off of the central stem, and when leaves look dry or dead. It is best and most easy to use small pruners or scissors.
A good tips on growing cherry tomatoes is to tie the plants to a stake so they stay standing. The reason is, that once your plant is full of tomatoes, it will get heavy and the staking will prevent the tomatoes to fall to the ground.
When planting cherry tomatoes, make an allowance for the space needed for each of the full-grown tomato plants along with stakes and ties. Another reason for keeping the growing cherry tomatoes off the ground is to preventing worms from eating them.
– When the tomato plants grow up, remember to thin the plants leaving 20 to 24 inches between each tomato plant.
– You should also push back any branches that poke out of the holes of the tomato cage. The plant will drop if you do not do this work.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Avoid pests and diseases to your tomato plants
Cherry tomato plants sometimes do get pests and diseases, but infection is often a bigger problem. Symptoms of infection problems include yellowing leaves, moldy blotches, and dark spots.
The stems of your tomato plant may risk to be affected as well. Pick the leaves off and spray your plant with fungicide immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Potato beetles and stink bugs are common pests. Pick them off or use a natural insect spray to repel them.
- Plant Doctor, Daconil, and Garden Safe are a few brands of fungicide.
- EcoSmart and Safer are a couple of brands of organic pesticide.
- If you discover that infection has spread throughout the entire tomato plant very often it can not be saved. To avoid infections, try watering your plants in the morning directly into the soil. Notice that if you also water the leaves of your tomato plant, especially later in the day, it encourages fungal growth.
- Fungus can survive in the soil for years, so therefore remove the cherry tomato plants from the soil if fungus is a recurring problem. Then Plant a different type of plant or flower in that area.
The best way to grow cherry tomatoes – Harvest your Cherry tomatoes after about six to eight weeks.
A seedling tomato plant will begin to flower in about one month. If you use seeds instead, you should add about two weeks to that amount of time. Next flowers will turn into small, green fruits. Mature and ready to pick cherry tomatoes will be ready a few weeks after that.
To find out when your cherry tomatoes are ready to harvest, the tomatoes should come off of the stems easily. Therefore, do not pull or twist the vine to pick a tomato. Pick individual fruits off of the vine every day.
The total grow time of cherry tomatoes is about a couple of months. This can be quicker or slower depending on the weather and the area where you have your cherry tomato plants.
Watch the tomatoes for signs of ripening, such as turning red. When they are red, you can pick them. The riper they are, the easier they are to pull off the plant. Simply pick and enjoy! The good thing about cherry tomato plants are, that the plants should produce for quite a period throughout the summer.
- The tomato plant should continue to produce tomatoes until the first frost.
- Freshly picked tomatoes should be stored at room temperature – they will rot if refrigerated. They can also be canned or dried.
Have fun with your tomato plants 🙂