As Ron Finley said, ” growing your own food is like printing your own money ” — and it will be much healthier for your body and the environment, since no poisons are used to grow your food at home. With that said, why not start by growing cherry tomatoes?
The feeling of waking up and finding some red tomatoes every morning in your own home is an incredible feeling of freedom.
I’m thinking of all the recipes I can make with them. And the best: growing cherry tomatoes is easy in your house or apartment.
How to plant cherry tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes are pretty quick and easy to grow, even if you’re new. They need fewer days to ripen than normal tomatoes. This is a great advantage if you live in a cold climate where the growing season is short, or if temperatures in your area warm up too quickly for fruit to set during the summer.
When to plant cherry tomato
Plant cherry tomatoes in spring, after the threat of frost has passed.
Seeds can also be started indoors about four weeks before the expected frost date in your area and then planted outdoors when the seedlings are at least 6 inches tall.
Planting site selection
Choose a sunny location with good soil drainage for your tomatoes.
Make sure that no nearby plants are shading the tomatoes too much once the plants are grown and defoliated in spring.
Growing in containers is also an option.
Also, practice crop rotation, which prevents the spread of disease and prevents excessive depletion of soil nutrients.
Do not plant tomatoes in the same place where other members of the nightshade family (for example, potatoes, eggplants and peppers) were grown the previous year.
Space, depth and support.
Space the cherry tomatoes at least a few feet apart to allow them to spread out and ensure good air circulation.
Cover the seeds with about 1/2 inch of soil and place the nursery plants at the same depth at which they grew in their previous pot.
Most cherry tomato varieties are indeterminate, meaning they continue to grow their vines and produce fruit throughout the season. To control them, it is necessary to provide a support structure for the vines, such as a tomato cage.
To grow cherry tomatoes successfully, ample sunlight is essential. They need full, direct sun for at least six to eight hours a day.
The soil for tomatoes should be slightly acidic, well-drained, rich, and loamy. Do a soil test to determine your soil’s nutrient level and pH. If the soil in your garden is heavy and has poor drainage, you may be better off growing tomatoes in raised beds or containers.
Tomatoes should be watered deeply and regularly. At no time should you let the soil dry out.
During the time of fruit development, keeping the soil evenly moist helps prevent blossom rot.
On the other hand, overwatering can cause tomatoes to split. Drip irrigation is best, as overhead watering can cause the spread of tomato diseases such as blight.
temperature and humidity.
Tomatoes are very sensitive to cold. Be sure to harden off seedlings started indoors by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions before planting them out in the garden.
Humidity is not usually a problem for tomatoes. But one factor to keep in mind is that humid weather can make the foliage stay wet longer. This can create a climate ripe for fungal and other disease problems, especially if there isn’t good airflow around the plants.
Use a tomato-specific fertilizer at planting time. Adding compost when planting can also help boost tomatoes. Then continue to fertilize throughout the season, following the instructions on the label.
Tomato plants are self-pollinating and are good at attracting bees and other pollinators to the garden.
Harvest of cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are usually ready to harvest 50-65 days after planting.
You’ll know they’re done when their color changes from green to red, orange, purple, or yellow (depending on the variety) and they easily detach from their stem.
Once a few start to ripen, keep checking the plant at least every other day for harvestable tomatoes. If they are left on the plant for too long, they will crack or fall off the stem.
Heavy rains can encourage cherry tomatoes to crack on the vine, so pick ripe tomatoes before it rains. Or, if that’s not possible, pick them right after it rains, because cracked tomatoes will rot quickly.
Tomatoes can be eaten fresh or cooked. They are best kept at room temperature and consumed within a few days. They can also be canned, kiln-dried, or frozen in various forms, such as tomato paste or sauce.
Not all gardeners prune their tomatoes, and it’s certainly not essential.
But it can help plants produce more fruit than foliage. Pruning simply involves removing the suckers, or small stems, that grow from the main stem. These suckers tend to produce foliage but not much fruit, so without them the plant will be able to focus its growth energy on the fruiting stems.
Also, prune stems that trail on the ground, as they are susceptible to disease and pests.
Tips for growing cherry tomatoes
Here are 9 practical tips for growing cherry tomatoes all year round:
- It all starts with choosing where you will plant your tomatoes. Choose a place where there is a lot of light. If you have to choose between morning or afternoon sun, choose where we have morning sun.
- Yes, we can start growing tomatoes only with seeds, to make a seed: put each seed on a cotton/paper towel and keep it wet every day, with indirect light, until it begins to germinate. It is important to remember that the best place for small seedlings is indirect light, only when we are going to plant them will we put them in contact with the sun.
- We prepare the land. Use a stirrer (potting) or a hoe (if you choose garden) to work the soil, this will make it easier for it to take root.
- In a bowl, place two fingers of soil, remembering that the bowl must have holes or some mechanism to drain excess water, otherwise mold may appear. In the case of planting in a garden or orchard, make a hole and place the germinated seed.
- After placing the seedlings in their places, cover the rest of the hole with a little more soil and, if possible, a little compost to cover all the surface space. If you have eggs, mash them until they become almost a flour and sprinkle that powder on the surface. If you have some ground coffee, you can also place it on the surface to give the plants more strength.
- Check if the soil is moist or dry before watering, as too much water is also bad for cherry tomatoes. The best time to water is at dawn or at night, because the tomato can have water without it evaporating in the heat of the sun.
- You should not wet the leaves or splash too much, because fungi can appear. You have to water directly on the ground!
- When the tomato plants begin to grow, the plant must be staked, we put a wooden stake, broomstick or something that can be used to fix the main stem (with rope, wire or any other material that does not hurt the plant). This makes them grow in an orderly and vertical manner.
- Also, it will be necessary to prune some branches, if you want the plant to grow vertically. As the plant matures, yellowish leaves will begin to appear. Delete them. Then, wait about 65 – 70 days, to have your cherry tomatoes and enjoy them!
How to grow cherry tomatoes in pots
Growing tomatoes in pots is helpful in preventing pests and diseases from reaching your plants, and you can keep your plants in a convenient location for harvesting.
There are a few varieties of small cherry tomatoes bred specifically for growing in containers, so select one of these if possible.
A large pot is essential. Choose one that is at least 30 cm in height and width. A large bucket will work fine as long as several drainage holes are drilled in the bottom. Place the container near a trellis or other support structure. And pay close attention to your watering schedule because flower pots can dry out faster than garden soil.
Cherry Tomato Plant Propagation
Most people grow tomatoes from seed or nursery plants, but it is also possible to propagate them from cuttings.
Growing cherry tomatoes from cuttings.
This is a good way to clone a tomato plant that you like, perhaps because of its vigorous production or because of its flavor. The best time to do this is late spring, when the mother plant is actively growing. The process is the following:
- Find a shoot that breaks off the main stem with no buds or flowers, and cut off a 6- to 8-inch portion.
- Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
- Plant the cutting in a small container with a moistened soil mix. Place the container in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight.
- Keep the growing medium moist but not soggy. Roots should develop in a week or two. If you feel resistance when you gently pull on the cutting, you know it is rooted. Then, it can be transplanted into the garden.
Growing cherry tomatoes from seeds.
It is quite easy to grow cherry tomatoes from seed. But unless you want to grow a lot of cherry tomatoes of the same variety, or if you want to grow more unusual varieties that are only available from seed companies, buying healthy tomato seedlings from your local nursery may be the most convenient way to go.
Sow the seeds 1/4 deep in a container filled with seed mix. Place the container in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. And keep the growing medium constantly moist but not wet. Germination usually takes five to ten days. Seedlings can be hardened off and transplanted outside when night temperatures are very cool.