When planning any garden, having a cherry tomato plant is essential. Not only is it easy to grow but there’s an instant satisfaction in being able to pick a petite cherry right off the plant and eat it. Read on to learn more about when to plant cherry tomatoes and how to grow them.
When to plant cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes need between 50 and 70 days to grow. They don’t like cold weather, so if you are starting with seedlings, wait until about two weeks after the last frost date to plant them outside. If you are worried about a shorter growing season, you can plant cherry tomato seeds indoors six weeks before the first frost date and then transfer them to your garden once it warms up.
Planting Cherry Tomatoes in Different Climates
Cherry tomatoes can do well in a tropical climate. They like heat and sunshine. However, if there is too much moisture on their foliage, rot and other diseases can set in.
It’s important to maintain a steady watering schedule with cherry tomatoes. If you want to try them in a dry climate, it’s best to keep them in a container so you have more control over watering.
Cherry tomatoes will do quite well in a temperate climate. Spring warms up earlier, so you don’t have to worry about starting your seeds indoors before transplanting them.
The hot summer weather in a continental climate is quite conducive to cherry tomatoes. However, the summer season can be shorter so you may want to start the seeds indoors to give them a head start. Also, be sure to pay attention to the fall weather as there could be an early frost.
Cherry tomatoes love heat and while they don’t have as long a growing season as other types of tomatoes, they still need a decent summer. Unfortunately, cherry tomatoes won’t grow in a polar climate.
Choosing Cherry Tomatoes Seeds
This variety will give you a luminous crop that will keep you with a massive supply of cherry tomatoes all year long. In fact, you can expect up to 300 petite cherries on each plant, so be sure to place a cage around it.
For those that can’t wait for their cherry tomatoes, you will be happy with this variety as they are ready in just 55 days. Both the tomatoes and the plant are of a smaller size, which makes it perfect for a container on your patio.
One of the benefits of different varieties of tomatoes is you can have a wide range of colors. This variety has an almost black color to them but is still nice and sweet.
Yes, even though this variety is green, the tomatoes are still ready. The plant will continue to produce until fall and the small green tomatoes are perfect if you want to add them so salsas or salads.
How to Plant Cherry Tomato Seeds
Cherry tomatoes should be planted in the spring, after the threat of frost is over. For most people, this will be in either late April or early May.
Tomatoes of all varieties don’t like to get too cold, so you’re better off waiting until the soil and the air temperature aren’t too cool. They won’t be ready until early to mid-spring, and some varieties need until late summer to be prepared.
Cherry tomatoes take a lot of nutrients from your soil so it’s important to properly amend the soil before planting. Mix plenty of compost into your soil to add in more nutrients.
When planting, you can also add bone meal to the bottom of each hole.
It’s important to plant your cherry tomatoes in an area that receives full sun. However, this can be either right in your garden or in a container on a balcony. Because cherry tomato plants are smaller than other varieties, they are more versatile when it comes to location.
As we mentioned earlier, tomatoes take a lot of nutrients out of the soil. While you should always add compost before planting, there are other measures you can take to preserve the quality of your soil, including crop rotation.
Don’t plant your tomatoes in an area where other plants of the nightshade family have previously grown. This includes peppers, eggplants, and potatoes.
Seeds vs plants
You can definitely start your tomato plants from seeds; however, this will lengthen the growing season so if you are worried about your summer weather, you may want to start your seeds indoors, about six weeks before the last frost date.
Alternatively, you can simply start with small plants that already have a head start in growing. Not only is this an easier method, but it is recommended if you have a short growing season as many cherry tomato varieties can take quite a few months to mature.
Cherry tomato seeds are quite small so they only need to be covered by ½ an inch of soil. You can also plant extra seeds in your garden and thin the plants once they start to grow.
For cherry tomato seedlings, place them outside for a few hours each day while they are still in their trays in order to harden them off. This way they will be ready to go into the cooler ground and it won’t be a shock for them.
How to Water Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes need plenty of watering and, because they grow throughout summer, you may have to water them every day.
After their initial planting, be sure to water well every day, for a week or two. After that, you can ease up to every other day, unless you are in the middle of a heat wave.
Try to water your cherry tomatoes early in the morning as the soil is better able to absorb the moisture. If you water in the hot afternoon, the water won’t last for the rest of the day.
Furthermore, when you do water your cherry tomatoes, aim for the soil and not the leaves. Too much water on the foliage can lead to rot and other diseases.
How to Grow Cherry Tomatoes
Even though cherry tomatoes are smaller fruit, they can still overload a plant. You should always place a cage around your cherry tomato plant to provide support.
The earlier you place your cage, the better. If you wait too long, you can end up damaging some of the tomatoes as you try to cover the large plant.
To keep your cherry tomato plants producing, you can add fertilizer every two weeks. Side-dress your plants with organic material such as liquid seaweed.
You can also use a chemical fertilizer that is specially made for tomatoes. This will have a lower nitrogen count as too much nitrogen will result in dense foliage but small fruit.
To help your cherry tomatoes absorb enough moisture, you can add a healthy layer of mulch around your plants. This will absorb the water and slowly let it seep into the soil.
You can add either bark mulch, hay, or straw.
To encourage your cherry tomato plant to send its nutrients to the fruit and not the rest of the plant, take some time each week to pinch off any new growth between the main stem and the branches.
This will also aid in air circulation and promote a healthier plant. You can take off any leaves from the bottom 10 inches of the plant to encourage more nutrients for the rest of the fruit.
Cherry tomato plants will naturally die off once the first hint of frost is in the air. If you still have tomatoes on your plant and there is an early frost, it is better to pick them as they will turn to mush if left outside.
You can always place tomatoes in a brown paper bag to help them ripen if they still need time.
Once the frost hits, your tomato bushes will become mushy and fall over. You can choose to pull them up from the ground in the fall or, if you are too busy, leave them for the spring to clean up.
You can place the spent foliage in your compost if there are no diseases on your cherry tomato plants.
Remember that the area that you grew your tomatoes in will need extra nutrients in the spring and you should ideally plant a different crop in that same location.
How long do Cherry Tomatoes take to grow?
Cherry tomatoes take between 50 and 70 days to grow, which is shorter than other, larger varieties of tomatoes. You can expect them to be ready in mid-summer.
Cherry tomatoes are an excellent addition to any garden. If starting from seed, plant them indoors about six weeks before the last frost date before transplanting them to your garden. If you want to start from seedlings, start them in your garden a few weeks after the last frost date.