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Growing Cherry Tomatoes – Planting And Picking Cherry Tomatoes

Growing Cherry Tomatoes – Planting And Picking Cherry Tomatoes


By: Caroline Bloomfield

One juicy reward of gardening is biting into a plumpripe tomato. There are many differenttypes of tomatoes to choose from, but most gardeners like to include atleast one bush of scrumptious cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes come in red,orange, yellow and even “black,” and they’re equally sweet and delicious whenthey ripen on the vine. Read on for tips on how to grow cherry tomatoes.

Before Planting Cherry Tomatoes

It’s a good idea to know the basics of how to grow cherrytomatoes before you get started.

In early spring, whether you’ve startedyour seeds indoors or purchased seedlings, be sure there’s no more chanceof frost by planting day. Tender seedlings will die if they get too cold. Waituntil your little plants are 6 to 10 inches tall (15-25 cm.), and be sure youleave at least a couple feet between planting holes. Cherry tomatoes can growbig and bushy.

As you plan your garden, keep in mind that tomatoes arehappiest in well-draining soil with a pH balance of 6.2 to 6.5, and theyrequire four to six hours of sun each day.

Look at your cherry tomato seedling in its little container.You can pluck all the small stems and shoots from the bottom of the seedling’smain stalk up to a few inches above its current soil line. When you remove it fromits small pot, gently ruffle the existing roots. To plant, bury most of thebare stalk deeply in the soil, right up to the first remaining stem. This willgive the plant a chance to make lots of extra roots and become strong androbust as it grows.

To prevent some common problems when growing cherrytomatoes, sprinkle a handful of limeinto the bottom of each hole, and use a little tomatofertilizer to give your plants a strong start. Well-rotted manure worksgood too. Once they are established, you can fertilize them on the side withhomemade compost or a 10-20-10 plant food, depending on your soil content.

How to Grow Cherry Tomatoes

Continued care involves pinchingoff the suckers that pop up when growing cherry tomatoes. Look at where thebranches meet the stalk and form a “V.” Removing the small suckers at these junctionsand at the bottom of the main stalk will let your plant to use more of itsenergy to make fruit.

If your cherry tomato plant starts to become bushy, you maywant to sinka stake a few inches away for support, and to keep the fruit from lying onthe ground. Tie the plant’s main stalk gently to the stake with a piece of yarnor soft string, and plan to rearrange it as the plant grows.

Cherry tomatoes are happiest with a heavy weekly soakingrather than frequent light watering. They also thrive when the ripe fruit ispicked every day or two.

Picking Cherry Tomatoes

Depending on your weather, it should take about a couplemonths for your cherry tomatoes to ripen. Pick them when they’ve turned theirexpected color. When they’re ready, they’ll come away with the gentlest tug.Every day or two in peak season you’ll have more ripe cherry tomatoes toharvest.

Picking fresh ripe cherry tomatoes for salads, snacks andhors d’oeuvres is definitely one of the highlights of gardening.

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Characteristics

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable for home gardens. They are fairly easy to grow and can be prepared in a variety of ways. This makes them the perfect edible for both new and experienced gardeners.

When shopping for tomato varieties you may notice that some are labeled "indeterminate" while others are "determinate." Indeterminate tomato varieties produce fruit over a period of several months, while determinate varieties produce a single crop of tomatoes. Additionally, indeterminate varieties have a large, sprawling growth habit and require pruning and support. If space is limited, consider a determinate variety which will grow in a more compact, bush-like shape just remember that it will only produce a single crop of tomatoes.

Varieties

The warm and often wet weather in Florida can contribute to insect and disease problems in tomatoes. It's a good idea to select varieties that are resistant to known tomato diseases, such as verticillum wilt and fusarium wilt, as well as pests like nematodes. These qualities are usually noted on the label by two- or three-letter abbreviations: R (resistant), T (tolerant), N (root knot nematode), F (Fusarium wilt), or V (Verticillium wilt).

There are quite a few varieties that might catch your eye. Choosing the right one is about finding what works for your garden and taste buds. If you're just starting out, experiment with a few different varieties. There are a number of cherry tomatoes that are particularly well-suited to Florida's unique growing climate.

'Super Sweet 100'—a hybrid closely related to the well-known 'Sweet 100' variety—is an indeterminate plant that produces sweet tomatoes well through the summer. This improved variety boasts resistance to verticilium wilt, fusarium wilt, and nematodes.

'Sweet Treats' is a vigorous indeterminate plant that produces firm, deep pink fruits that resist cracking and have an outstanding flavor. 'Sweet Treats' is resistant to fusarium wilt, cladosporium leaf mold, and tomato mosaic virus, and are somewhat resistant to fusarium crown rot and gray leaf spot.

'BHN 268' is unique among cherry tomatoes in having an exceptional shelf life. This determinate variety produces tomatoes that are firm, sweet, and flavorful. It's resistant to fusarium wilt, verticilium wilt, tobacco mosaic virus, tomato spotted wilt virus, and nematodes.

'Juliet' is known and loved for producing elongated sweet tomatoes that don't crack. The vines of this indeterminate plant grow vigorously, so be sure to give you plants room to spread up and over their tomato cages.

'Black cherry' plants produce a lovely and visually interesting deep, dark red tomato. This indeterminate vine grows quite well and will need a tall cage for support. 'Black cherry' tomatoes can provide color variety while still giving you a red, round fruit.

But tomatoes don't always need to be red shades of yellow and orange can add something different to your garden in terms of both color and flavor.

'Yellow Pear' is an heirloom indeterminate variety and a vigorous grower, so be sure to provide support for this variety. The yellow, pear-shaped tomatoes have a mild flavor and produce wonderfully throughout the summer.

'Sun Gold' is a very sweet variety that is tangerine orange. This indeterminate variety has strong, thick vines that should be given support. For the best flavor, delay picking until the fruits reach a deep orange color. These plants are resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium, and tobacco mosaic virus.

You may also encounter cherry tomato plant labeled "patio varieties" that are ideal for growing in a container. Varieties of patio tomatoes include 'Red Cherry', 'Sweet Chelsea', 'Sweet 100', and 'Sweet Million'.

Cherry tomatoes can add a pop of color to a wrought iron fence.


How to Plant Cherry Tomatoes: Substrate or Soil

One factor to keep in mind about how to plant cherry tomatoes is that the soil must be well prepared to properly transmit nutrients to the cherry tomato plant. For this purpose, the soil can be fertilized with organic soil, worm castings, or compost. This substrate should be loose and spongy, this soil mixture should be prevented from hardening so that the roots of the plant can spread easily over the ground and absorb moisture and nutrients from the substrate.

To benefit tomato harvests, when the first bunches are observed, potassium-rich fertilizer can be supplied weekly, which will strengthen the plant and allow it to produce a high-quality crop.


Want to learn more about growing cherry tomatoes?

Check out these sites for more information:
Mild Peppers and Unique Cherry Tomatoes. Video from Clemson University.
Cherry Tomatoes from Sacramento County Cooperative Extension.
Tomato Growing Tips site devoted to growing tomatoes at home.

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Comments

Makenna says

How many tomatoes need to be on a plant if there the first ones growing on the plant

To be a healthy plant how many tomatoes need to grow to start off

Norma Sweet says

I find that Sweet Million are better than Sweet One Hundreds they do not seem to crack as much.


Watch the video: Simple steps in planting Cherry Tomatoes How to Plant