Cherry Tomato Growing Tips
Love the idea of growing tomatoes, but not sure where to start? Grab a pot and some cherry tomato seedlings. They're amazingly easy to grow, and even one plant will bear a steady crop of bite-size fruits all season.
There are a few varieties you can choose from when planting cherry tomatoes. A popular variety of cherry tomatoes is Sweet Million, which bear long clusters of sweet yet tomatoey red fruit; SunSugar, which produces super-sweet, richly flavored golden fruit; and an heirloom called Black Cherry, whose tomatoes have a complex, rich, sweet flavor.
All three are what are called "indeterminate" varieties, meaning they will continue to grow taller and produce more until the plants are killed by frost, which — if they really like where they are — means the plants may grow to 6, 8, or even 10 feet tall. If you don't want to deal with that much plant, you can ask if your local organic garden center has any dwarf or patio varieties of cherry tomatoes for sale.
Red or yellow pear tomatoes are fun because of their shape (they have necks just like their namesakes), though their skins tend to be a little thicker than your average cherry tomato. You can also often find grape tomato plants, which bear very sweet oblong fruits similar to those sold in supermarkets.
Once you've chosen your variety, you'll just need to grab some supplies.
What You'll Need
If you'd prefer something more aesthetically pleasing than a bucket, there are many different planters, pots, and even ready-made self-watering models available at your local garden supplier. Choose one that holds about 5 gallons; a round 5-gallon flower pot is about 12 inches tall and 12 inches across at the top.
How to Plant
Most cherry tomato plants will start flowering in about a month. Flowers will be followed by tiny green fruits. After a few weeks, those turn into full-blown cherry tomatoes you can harvest.
A truly ripe cherry tomato will come off its stem very easily and is well worth waiting an extra day for, so hold off on picking them until they're ripe. Pick individual fruits every day for best results. With luck, your plant will continue to produce right up until frost. If the weather turns unseasonably cool or an early frost threatens, you can tuck an old sheet over and around the plant to extend your harvest season.
You may need: