What is the best way to grow cherry tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are small, flavorful, and astonishingly simple to raise, giving everyone the opportunity to unleash their inner farmer. You may grow these bright beauties on an acre of land in the country or in a container on a patio in the city, and enjoy your own farm-to-table fruit. Cherry tomatoes are pretty easy to grow as long as you follow a few basic criteria, but with names like ‘Golden Sweet,’ ‘Isis Candy,’ and ‘Black Cherry,’ the toughest part will be choose which one to plant.
When to Plant
Plant cherry tomatoes when the danger of frost has gone in the spring. You can also start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before your area’s projected frost date and then plant the seedlings outside when they are at least six inches tall with 2-3 sets of true leaves.
Where to Plant Cherry Tomatoes
The first step in producing cherry tomatoes is to choose a location for your garden. The demands of the plant are the same whether you grow in the ground, in raised beds, or in containers. Tomato plants want warmth, so find a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. It is preferable if the soil is somewhat acidic, loose, and well-drained. Tomatoes grow best in loam and sandy loam soils, although they will grow in practically any soil type except hard clay. If you have a lot of clay in your garden, you may wish to amend the soil with sand, sawdust, peat moss, or other stuff.
Apply a tomato-specific fertilizer when planting and continue to fertilize according to the label directions throughout the season.
How to Space and Support Cherry Tomato Plants
Tomato plants need enough air circulation and space to grow. Check the plant tags for spacing recommendations if you bought your plants from a nursery. These instructions provide the appropriate spacing between the centers of two plants. If you started from seeds and don’t have a plant tag as a guideline, the rule of thumb is to space long-vined, indeterminate varieties about 3 feet apart, while bushier determinate plants can be spaced 2 feet apart.
Tomato plants need a support structure as they develop and spread, such as pegs, a cage, or a trellis. Choose which system you will use before you plant, and then install that support when you plant. Instead of attempting to fit a support around an overgrown, mature plant and injuring roots and vines, this allows the tomato plant to grow up and around the stake or cage.
How to Water Cherry Tomato Plants
Tomatoes, like other plants, need continuous hydration; keep the soil moist enough to avoid withering but not so wet that the roots get soggy. Garden tomatoes need 1 to 2 inches of water each week on average, although this might vary based on climatic circumstances (such as acute drought) and plant size. Drip irrigation is beneficial while the plants are young because it helps to prevent powerful streams of water that damage the soil. As the tomato plants mature, water more slowly and deeply. Consistent water is especially important in the summer heat when irregular moisture swings and dry soil can lead to problems such as blossom-end rot and fruit splitting.
If you plant tomatoes in containers, keep a tight eye on your watering schedule since containers dry up faster than garden soil.
How to Prune Cherry Tomatoes
While not everyone prunes their tomatoes, it is an additional step that may help the plants produce more fruit. Pruning is merely the removal of suckers, or little stems, that sprout from the main stem. Suckers generate a lot of foliage but not much fruit, so without the superfluous foliage, the plant can concentrate its energy and nutrients on the fruit-bearing stems. You should also prune off any stems that drag on the ground, as they are susceptible to diseases and pests.
How to Harvest Cherry Tomatoes
Your gardening efforts will be rewarded approximately 50 to 65 days after planting, when the color of the tomatoes changes from green to a rainbow of orange, red, yellow, or purple, depending on the type. Ripe tomatoes readily separate from their stems. Every other day, check your plants for additional harvestable fruit. If left unharvested, over-ripe tomatoes may split, rot, and fall to the ground.