Growing cherry tomatoes is easier than other tomatoes. If you are a beginner tomato grower, then cherry tomato is the right choice for you.
They are bite-sized fruits that grow easily indoors and outdoors. They grow and ripen early, and you can find both bush and vine varieties of them with different colors and flavors.
Cherry tomatoes are comparatively sweeter than other varieties and best for salad and eating fresh.
In this article, I will explain everything you need to know to grow cherry tomatoes as a beginner gardener.
Space and Location
Space and location are very important to consider before growing cherry tomatoes. You can grow them in containers on your balcony, small spaces, apartment, patio, or windowsill. Besides, you can also grow them in your garden.
So, depending on your space and location, you have to buy the right type of tomato seeds from the gardening store or seedlings from the local nursery.
Buy Seeds or Seedlings
Collecting seeds or seedlings is the next part of growing cherry tomatoes. You can find both determinate and indeterminate tomato varieties in the gardening store or local nursery. Based on your spaces, locations, and other factors, you should pick the right one.
Pick the Right Tomato Variety
Cherry tomatoes are famous for their rich flavor and sweetness. You may grow Black Cherry, Sun Sugar, Rapunzel, Husky Cherry Red, Sun Gold, Blueberries Cherry, Sweet Million, Black Vernissage, and Yellow Pear tomatoes for your garden.
If you want to grow cherry tomatoes in containers, then you may pick Bing Cherry, Gold Nugget, Bartelly F1, Peacevine Cherry, Black Cherry, Bumblebee, Tiny Tim, Gardener’s Delight, Sweetheart, and Juliet tomato varieties.
Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of direct sunlight to grow and harvest. When you wish to grow tomatoes on the windowsill or balcony, ensure they get enough sunlight.
Try to keep your container tomato plants facing south to get more sunlight during the daytime.
If you want to grow them indoor condition, arrange an additional grow light to keep tomatoes healthy and warm.
Select the Right Method of Growing Tomatoes
You can grow tomatoes following these ways.
- Containers best suited for small spaces and determinate tomatoes.
- Raised bed suits for both determinate and indeterminate tomatoes.
- Backyard suits for both bush and vine varieties and produce a large harvest.
Growing Tomato Seedlings from Seeds
If you want to grow your seedlings, do the followings:
- You can use a seed starter tray, a plastic peat pot, or a cup for germinating seeds.
- Fill up your pot with good quality potting mix.
- Sow at least two seeds around 1/4-inch-deep into each pot for sure germination.
- Once the seeds sprout, separate them in each peat pot to grow easily.
- Water frequently the potting soil with a sprayer to keep them moist.
- Keep the room temperature between 68° to 75° F to germinate the seeds properly.
- Tomatoes need around 7-15 days to germinate from seed.
- After 30-45 days, your tomato seedlings will be ready to transplant.
- You can also transplant them once they become 8-10 inches tall.
Start growing your seedlings indoor seedbed about 4 to 6 weeks before the expected last frost.
Once your seedling is ready, prepare a 5-gallon container to transplant them. Larger pots are better. However, tomato varieties determine the pot size.
Fill up the container with potting mix and moisten them well before transplanting tomatoes.
On the other side, if you want to transplant your seedling in your garden, then dig a deep hole and bury two-thirds of the plants into the ground. This helps the plants develop a strong root system.
Do the following to your nursery-brought tomato seedlings.
Learn More: How to transplant tomato seedlings safely
Growing Cherry Tomatoes Indoors Over the Year
According to the USDA plant hardiness zone map, you have different lengths of the frost-free growing season in different parts of the country. Frost is a great problem for tomatoes which can ruin your total harvest. So, growing fresh tomatoes around the year are hardly possible.
But you can still fill up your table with fresh cherry tomatoes all over the year if you are a little bit tricky about gardening.
To do that, first, utilize your regular warm days of the growing season. This time you can grow your tomatoes under direct sunlight and harvest them.
During the frost, you can grow cherry tomatoes indoors under the growing light. In that case, prepare some seedlings and plant them every two weeks later for continuous production until the last frost date of the season. After that, you can grow tomatoes again outdoors.
Days of Maturity
Cherry tomatoes ripen earlier than other tomatoes. However, ripening tomatoes also depend on the temperature.
Some dwarf tomato varieties become mature in 45-55 days. Besides, the average maturity date for cherry tomatoes is around 60-80 days.
When growing tomatoes in containers, fill them with good quality potting mix. A high-quality potting mix contains coco peat or peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, compost, organic matter, and other essential additives.
For garden soil, check the soil pH level first. The standard soil pH level for tomatoes is around 6 to 6.8. After that, put some organic matter on the soil and ensure proper drainage and aeration.
Learn More: A Helpful Guide to Prepare Soil for Tomatoes
Usually, garden tomato plants need deep watering in the morning. But the volume of water needed for tomatoes mainly depends on your local micro-climate area.
If your garden stands in a tropical area, then you need to water your tomatoes some other parts of the day again, except evening. There is no use in watering tomatoes in the evening, and this may harm your plants.
Besides, check the soil moisture with your finger before watering them. As well as, remember to water your tomatoes in the soil around the plant base instead of the leaves.
For container tomatoes, you need frequent watering. The potting mix can’t hold water for a long time. So, they need watering twice or thrice depending on the weather condition.
First, do the soil test and check the pH level before fertilizing your tomatoes. It helps to determine the perfect ratio of fertilizer exactly needed for your tomato plants.
Tomato plants need fertilizing once transplanted in the garden. Then again, when setting flowers and producing fruits.
You can also nutrients your tomatoes with liquid tomato fertilizer during the growing season.
For container cherry tomatoes, you can use good quality potting mix and compost. You can also feed your potting tomatoes through the fish emulsion, compost tea, or Epsom salt.
Cherry Tomato Plant Height
The plants’ height of the cherry tomatoes depends on the variety.
Usually, the average height of dwarf tomato varieties is around 6-15 inches tall.
As well, determinate tomatoes grow around 2-4 feet tall.
Besides, indeterminate cherry tomatoes can grow 6-10 feet taller or more.
Determinate bush type or container cherry tomatoes don’t need any pruning at all. They grow up to a certain point and produce some fruits and die.
On the other hand, indeterminate or vine-type tomatoes need pruning every so often. Prune the lower leaves, dead leaves, yellow or diseased leaves, and young suckers when needed. Use pruning scissors to cut off the branches and pinch off the young suckers.
Learn More: How to Prune Tomatoes Step-by-Step Guidelines
Spacing cherry tomatoes mainly depend on the varieties and the method of gardening. Usually, dwarf tomato varieties need 12 inches of spacing between plants. Other determinate tomato varieties need to be around 18-24 inches apart when using a simple stake.
Besides, indeterminate varieties need about 3 to 4 feet of spacing between plants for growing cherry tomatoes.
Staking cherry tomato plants mainly depends on plant varieties. Dwarf tomatoes don’t need any staking at all. As well as determinate tomatoes also don’t need any plant support. However, simple staking can help them stand up off the ground when producing a lot of fruits.
Indeterminate cherry tomatoes must need plant support because they grow tall. They sprawl on the ground if they are not getting any support like staking, caging, or trellising.
Learn More: 4 Secret Tips for Staking Tomato Plants
Mulching retains the soil moisture and protects your tomatoes from soil-borne fungal diseases. So, you can apply mulch both for your garden and container cherry tomatoes to get the benefit of mulch.
Pests and Diseases
Tomato plants are susceptible to different pests and diseases. The fungus is the biggest threat to tomato plants. During the season, your plants may show different signs of tomato problems, such as wilts, yellowing leaves, blights, spots, cankers, cracking, or other symptoms.
The best way to avoid these problems is to pick some diseases resistance tomato varieties. But you may find very few cherry tomatoes that are disease resistant.
So, proper care of your tomato plants can reduce the risk of some diseases through regular watering, staking or caging, mild pruning, proper fertilizing, and mulching.
Harvesting and Ripening
Determinate and container cherry tomatoes can ripen earlier before the frost come. So you can easily harvest the ripening tomatoes.
On the other hand, indeterminate cherry tomatoes continue producing fruits until the frost comes. In that case, you need to pick and ripen your last batch of mature green tomatoes off the vine when the season wraps up.
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