Cherry tomatoes are great for small gardens and indoor gardening. They take up less space than regular tomatoes and mature quicker. Here’s how to grow cherry tomatoes.
Days To Germination: 7
Days To Harvest: 60 to 80
Cherry tomatoes like loose, well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients. Use a fine seed starting soil to germinate your seeds. Fortify your transplant soil with organic compost, fish emulsion or a fertilizer of your choosing. Bone meal works great too. Make sure the soil is well turned and drains easily.
SOWING CHERRY TOMATO SEEDS
Plant your cherry tomato seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost of the season. Follow instructions on the packet for your specific variety of cherry tomato, but seeds are usually sown about ¼ inch deep. Make sure the soil is well moistened but not muddy.
After about a week, the seeds will germinate. Once they’ve developed two sets of leaves, gently transplant each plant to its own 4” container. Make sure the seedlings are freshly watered before transplanting or the roots may dry out. Bury the entire stem, up to the first set of leaves in soil and water thoroughly. You can also pinch off the bottom set of leaves and bury the stem up to the next set of leaves to help the plant develop an even stronger root structure.
At least one to two weeks after the last frost or once daytime temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, the seedlings can be transferred outdoors. If growing indoors, transfer the plants to a 3 to 5 gallon container once the plants are about 8 inches tall. Be sure the container drains well. Again, be sure to water the plants thoroughly before transplanting into freshly turned, fertilized and moist soil.
Cherry tomatoes like regular, consistent watering. Twice per week is usually sufficient, but they may need more during long dry spells or if grown in containers. Water at the base of the stem and soil. Avoid top watering or getting the leaves wet—this promotes disease. Dry soil or limp foliage is a sign that too much time has elapsed between waterings.
Whether growing outdoors or indoors, cherry tomatoes need lots of light: 8 hours of direct sunlight and 12 to 16 hours of total light per day. If growing indoors, a grow light may be needed, particularly during winter.
Cherry tomatoes love nutrients. Use a compost tea or organic liquid fertilizer every two weeks and your tomatoes will flourish.
Indeterminate cherry tomato plants grow quickly. Use a metal stake for support and to keep them off of the ground. This will help lower the risk of pests and disease and promote more plentiful and delicious fruits.
Many tomato plants will develop suckers between the main vine stem and leaf stems. If left alone, suckers will develop into fully flowering vines and detract nutrients from the rest of the plant. It is best to pinch these off before they mature. This will help the overall health of the plant and lead to more flavorful tomatoes.
Do you have tips on how to grow cherry tomatoes? Let us know in the comments section below.