Cherry tomatoes are grape size sweet tomatoes that are packed with healthy nutrients. If you like to eat them then start growing cherry tomatoes at home in your garden or in containers. You need a few tools and you are ready to grow delicious small tomatoes.
It is not possible for the growers to grow all types of cherry tomatoes in their garden. Because there are hundreds of different varieties. But the growing and caring methods are the same for all types. The only difference is in harvesting time and light requirements.
To grow cherry tomatoes successfully you need to choose the best variety of seeds or seedlings.
Best Cherry tomato varieties
These tomatoes have a sweet and sugary taste. The best part is you don’t have to wait long for the sweet tomatoes. Because Sungold tomatoes take just a few days to mature. Sungold plant produces tomatoes until the first frost.
You have to save your plant from overwatering and rain. Because the skin of these tomatoes has the tendency to crack after heavy rain and after overwatering.
It tastes almost the same as Sungold. The only difference is sun sugar does not split like Sungold. So, if you are living in a heavy rainfall area then choose Sun sugar.
This variety produces a classic black tomato flavor that is sweet, smoky with thick skin. Thick skin makes it more resistant to tomato plant diseases and environmental effects.
Green grape cherry tomatoes have a yellowish-green color with excellent mixed flavor. They are developed from kiwi fruit and their interior also looks like the kiwi fruit.
Like its name the plant produce very delicious cherry tomatoes. They taste like honey drops in the mouth. My kids love to eat freshly picked honey drops cherries.
This is my favorite variety of cherry tomatoes because they are way more resistant to diseases. And they have a sweet fruity taste and are 1 inch in size. There is another variety that is called super snow white that produces ping-pong ball size tomatoes. Their taste is just like snow whites.
Quick Care Guide
|Common Name||Cherry tomatoes|
|Germination Time||7 to 10 Days|
|Days to Harvest||70 to 80 Days to Full Maturity|
|Light||Minimum 6 hours per day|
|Fertilizer||Any good Tomato Fertilizer|
|Soil||Well draining 6 to 6.5 pH|
|Pests||Aphids, Cutworms, Budworm, etc|
|Diseases||Blossom end rot, Early blight, etc|
Preparation for growing cherry tomatoes
Seeds or seedlings
You can grow cherry tomatoes from seeds or seedlings. For faster growth use seedlings. You can purchase the cherry tomato seedlings from the local garden store or from the nursery.
Seeds are available in all garden stores or for better deals go to Amazon and buy organic seeds.
Grow plants from seeds only if you know the right way of germination. Otherwise growing cherry tomatoes from seedlings is the best option.
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Tomato Cage (wooden or metallic)
Cherry tomato plants grow quickly and they need support. Use wooden stakes or tomato cage to support long tomato vines. Once they grow long you need to tie the vines around the cage. This helps them to cover the cage and produce more fruit.
Buy wooden stakes or tomato cages from the local nursery or from Amazon. Vines that left unmanaged on the ground produce fewer fruits as compare to the vines that are safely tied to the tall cages.
Always buy large size tall metallic cages because metal required less maintenance than wooden and plastic cages.
Moreover, plastic cages add some percentage of lead to the yield that makes growing fruit toxic.
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Good Potting mix for containers
If you have a plan to grow plants in containers. Then do not use your garden soil. Because the soil in the garden contains diseases, viruses, and other pests. All these can get transfer to your container when you use garden soil.
Instead, use specially made plant potting mix. These potting mixes have everything that a plant needs to grow (except nutrients). You need to give nutrients from the top. But there is another type of potting mix that we called pre-fertilized potting soil. This advanced soil has all the nutrients that a plant needs to grow.
For vine types plants always use pre-fertilized soil. But if you already plant it in normal potting soil then use liquid fertilizers. Do not use powdered or pebble fertilizers for container plants. They can clog the nutrient transfer system of the plant roots.
Tomato plant food
Any normal liquid fertilizer is best for cherry tomatoes. For particular types of nutrients use the following nutrients.
Container or in Garden
You can grow the plants in your backyard or in a container. No method is better than another. The only difference is you need to protect your garden plants from hot and cold winds.
They are also more prone to plant disease and pest attacks. Whereas container plants do not easily get affected by diseases and pests. Also, you can move them inside when the outside weather is not suitable for them.
For growing cherry tomatoes, you can use any type of container, for example, plastic made, terra cotta, or any 4-to-5-gallon plastic bucket or old container. Any container that can hold 4 to 6 gallons is perfect for planting cherry tomatoes.
When to plant
Cherry tomato plants need warm conditions to grow healthy and produce heavy sweet tomatoes. 21 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for growing cherry tomatoes.
Therefore, you need to plant the seeds after the last frost. But this will delay the harvesting time.
So, the best way is to start the seeds indoors 7 to 8 weeks before the last frost. At this time the seeds become seedlings and then you can plant them in your garden or in 5-gallon container.
Remember that sweet tomato plants cannot survive in cold weather. Planting the seedlings after the forest is the key to success.
Where to plant
Every warm-season crop required a good amount of sunlight to grow and to produce fruit. Find a location in your garden where the plants can receive 8 hours of direct sunlight.
If the tomato plants will not get enough sunlight, they will not produce a heavy harvest. Moreover, the sunlight helps them to develop a sweet sugary taste and a bright color.
Sunlight also protects the plants from various plant diseases like root rot.
When the warm crops start producing food, they spend a huge amount of energy and sunlight is their main source of energy.
How to plant
As I have already mentioned above that you have two options to grow cherry tomatoes from seeds or seedlings. If possible, buy the seedlings and plant them in containers or in the garden.
Do not sow cherry tomato seeds directly in the ground. Because it is a delicate plant and if the temperature drops below 21 degrees C the seeds will not sprout.
So, the best way is to buy the seeds and germinate them indoors, then plant seedlings in your garden or in the bucket.
Growing Cherry tomatoes care guide
Your tomato plants need 8 hours of Sunlight. But this does not mean it has to be continuous light. In simple words, your plant needs a total of 8 hours of sunlight to do photosynthesis. It can be 4 hours of morning sunlight or 4 hours of noonday sunlight.
The morning light and evening light is best for the tomato plants. Because from 9 to 11.50 am and 3 to 6 pm sunlight emit high-intensity light. Also, this type of light produces fewer heat waves and do not harm the plant.
You should make arrangements to protect your plant from hot waves from 12 to 2.55 pm.
Large vines can tolerate afternoon daylight but for seeds and seedlings, morning light is the best source of energy.
Temperature is a crucial part of home gardening. Because in the professional garden people do gardening in greenhouses. It is not affordable to build a greenhouse with multiple grow lights in the backyard only for hobby gardening.
Hobby gardeners are always advised to grow fruits according to the season. Like, grow cherry tomatoes in warm weather after the frost.
If you live in an area where the temperature is not suitable for growing cherry tomatoes then you can use indoor gardening grow tents.
Grow tents are like grow cabinets where you have all the necessary equipment to grow plants from seed or seedlings.
Buying a grow tent kit is a one-time investment. You can grow any vegetable, herb, and other plants in a grow tent at any time of the year and regardless of the season.
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Water the tomato plants every 3 to 4 days. Because it needs many hours of light the chances are the water in the soil gets evaporate more quickly.
Before watering cherry tomato plants, you need to check the soil conditions.
If it feels dry on touch give some water to keep it moist otherwise wait for 24 hours. Try to keep the soil or container mix moist all the time.
Do not give water to your plants between 11 AM to 4 PM when hot sun rays are falling on the plant. Doing so will protect your plant from sudden shocks.
The best time to water is the morning after sunrise or in the evening after 4 PM.
If you are going to plant the plants in the garden then do the soil test before 2 weeks of planting. Do the soil pH test and nutrient level test. If you know the soil is fertile and you already have plants growing in it then don’t do the nutrient level test.
But soil pH test is a must because the tomato plants like to grow in slightly acidic soil. The pH must be between 6 to 6.7. Otherwise, the plant will not produce sweet delicious small tomatoes.
For soil test dig a hole about 8 inches deep and take the soil sample. Take this sample to the lab or buy a soil pH test kit and test your soil at home at a low price.
Fertilize the plants once a week with pure organic tomato fertilizer. Organic fertilizers are costly than synthetic ones but they are safe for plants and humans. No doubt chemical fertilizers release nutrients at a faster rate than organic fertilizers. But the excess of nutrients increases the chances of overnutrition and sometimes burns the plant.
Some of the best organic tomato fertilizers are
Burpee organic tomato fertilizer
Miracle-Gro organic fertilizer
Tomato- tone organic fertilizer
Harvesting cherry tomatoes
As cherry tomatoes are small size fruits, they produce delicious fruits in less time. It will take 55 to 63 days for tomato seeds to produce sweet small tomatoes. You have to harvest it every day. Pick the individuals every day according to their ripen state.
Some tomatoes will be ready in just 45 days for harvest. Whereas some little big size ones take 70 to 80 days to harvest. The plant will continue producing food until the first frost if you give it proper care.
Storing harvested tomatoes
For the best storing keep the harvested cherry tomatoes at room temperature in the bowl. This way you can store them for 3 to 4 days.
Do not refrigerate them as you do with other vegetables to store them. Putting them in the refrigerator can kill them and they will crack in just a few hours. Tomatoes don’t like cold temperatures.
Growing Cherry tomatoes Pest problems
These are the most common pests that you can found on many types of different plants. Tomato plants also get affected by aphids easily. Whenever you see these pests use neem spray or just pinch the leave where they have their colony.
To protect your plants from Aphids spray neem solution.
Common tomato plant pests: Cutworms, Flea Beetles, Hornworms are the second most common pests that attack tomato plants in all stages of growth.
Cherry tomatoes plant diseases and solutions
Blossom End Rot
Ugly black patches on the ripen tomatoes is called blossom end rot. The deficiency of calcium causes blossom end rot. You do not give your tomato plants enough calcium or the pH of the soil is low or high that stops the absorption of calcium.
The pH should be around 6 to 6.5 to grow perfectly the best cherry tomato plants.
To prevent this condition, test the soil before planting tomato seedlings. If there is enough calcium in the soil and it is a little acidic then good.
If the soil does not have calcium and is not on the acidic side then add lime or gypsum to it.
The quantity of the lime and gypsum will be depending upon the size of your garden and also on the test report of soil.
It is best if you go to the nearby garden store and ask them what to do according to the soil test results for growing cherry tomatoes.
This is a condition in which your cherry tomato plants develop flowers but not tomatoes. Temperature changes are the main cause of it. Other things responsible for blossom drop are too much or too little Nitrogen and pest attack.
You cannot do anything about the weather if you grow cherry tomatoes outside in the garden. But you can make sure your plant receives another thing properly. Like nutrients, water, and Sunshine.
Too much water and too cold weather cause small tomato cracks. Also, when the plants do no get enough water. They become so thirsty and absorb a heavy amount of water at once. This water can be rainwater or water given by you.
To prevent this condition do not let the plants too dry. Always try to keep the soil moist.
This is the condition in which small tomato plants roll their leaves, especially in the bottom part. High temperature and too wet soil trigger Leaf roll. The good news is this condition does not affect the production, taste, and size of tomatoes.
To avoid it make sure you have well-drained soil.
In this situation, you see white powder on the tomato plants. It feels like someone brushed your plants with some white powder. Lack of fresh air triggers this condition in tomato plants. To prevent it always use Sulfur container spray on tomato plants. And make sure they get fresh oxygen.
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