Growing Cherry Tomatoes To Empress

Last updated: 10/1/20

Growing cherry tomatoes can be a fun and adventurous exercise. I like my tomatoes fresh and juicy. 

Since I started growing them about a decade ago, I've discovered it is the only way to keep enjoying tomatoes the way I like it without breaking the bank.  

With a little work on your part, you can turn a small vase into your daily tomato dispenser. 

Read further to know exactly how you can make this happen.

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Best Cherry Tomatoes Varieties

Black Cherry

This deep-purple-colored tomato is as scrumptious when you eat it raw as it is when cooked. It is excellent for experiments by young creative chefs.

Bumblebee

This species comes in purple, pink, and sunrise colored varieties. They are highly crack resistant and beautiful. 

Tiny Tim

As the name implies, it is "tiny." Perfect for small planters and requires only a little space. Even with little attention, you get a bountiful harvest. 

Gardener's Delight 

As the name goes, it is prevalent with Gardeners. It grows well both indoors and outdoors. 

growing cherry tomato

Bartelly F1 

This cherry tomato is famous for its bountiful production and high disease resistance. For an extended supply of tasty tomatoes, this is your best choice.

Factors That Determine Your Seed/Seedling Selection

Amount Of Space You Can Afford 

The type of gardening you plan to do, whether potting or in raised beds, will determine the kind of tomatoes you can grow. 

Some species do well in small pots and containers, while others require trellises to help keep them above the soil. 

Purpose Of The Tomatoes

Your primary aim for planting the tomatoes is the next deciding factor. My pot gives me fresh tomatoes for my salad, all season. 

The types suitable for preparing sauces are quite different for the ones you want in your salad.

Prevalent Climatic Condition 

Weather affects the growth of crops, you know? It is no different for cherry tomatoes. 

If you live in an area notable for cold summer, you should want to go for species that grow quickly, but if you are in a place where the warmer summer is prevalent, you can afford to go for species that take up to 3 months to mature. 

Seed And Seedling Selection

You can go for seedlings for a quicker harvest, but if you want a more adventurous experience, you can go for seeds. 

Purchase the seed and seedling of your chosen species from a reputable nursery around you. Before planting the seed, take a water test by pouring in water and allow it to settle for about 30 minutes. 

Discard every seed that floats and plant the ones that remain at the bottom of the water. For seedlings, pay close attention to the leaves. 

You want to go for healthy ones with green leaves and sturdy straight stems.

The apparent advantage of potting is that you will not be required to weed from time to time, like when you plant on a raised bed. #growtomatoes

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Cherry Tomatoes In Pots Or Raised Beds

The choice of pot or beds is totally up to you, I prefer growing my crops in pots, but beds are equally effective. You will still end up with a bountiful harvest of your favorite tomatoes anyway. 

The apparent advantage of potting is that you will not be required to weed from time to time, like when you plant on a raised bed. 

However, some cherry tomatoes do well when potted. Examples include Terenzo F1, Tumbler, Micro-Tom, Tidy Treats, Sungold, and Heartbreaker. 

Type Of Soil: 

Most tomato types do well in well-drained soil, but before planting, you can improve the soil fertility by adding compost and mixing.  More about the fertilizing will come shortly. 

Sunlight And Water: 

Tomatoes need a minimum of 8 hours of sunshine a day and produce the best crop when most of the day is sunny.  

Therefore, choose a sunny garden for the best result.  If you grow tomatoes in containers, keep them in a bright and warm place. 

Other Differences: 

Tomatoes planted on raised beds need periodic fertilization to keep bearing fruit.  

It is best practice for potted plants to use more modest varieties that stop growing in the middle of the season or choose dwarf or miniature varieties to keep the plants at a manageable size.

Fertilizing Tips For Cherry Tomatoes

For an abundant supply of tomatoes that will last you all-season, you will have to enhance the soil with fertilizer. 

There is no one-size-fit for the right fertilizer to use, but I'm going to help you with that dilemma. 

The first step towards determining the right fertilizer for your soil is to do a soil test. A balanced soil would require low Nitrogen fertilizers, while one short in Nitrogen will need a fertilizer with more to complement the deficiency. 

You don't want to make the mistake of providing excess nitrogen, otherwise your tomatoes will produce fewer fruits. 

In case you are not able to carry out the test, I advise that you assume there is enough nitrogen already. So, use a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus but low in nitrogen.

Chemical Or Organic: Which is Better? 

I prefer organic manure for my crops because the various inorganic fertilizers out there are only designed to give phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. They do not contain other micronutrients my plants require to stay healthy.  

The soil may also contain a lot of potassium, phosphorus, or nitrogen already contaminating the earth. I've found that building your soil naturally is more eco-friendly!

Furthermore, organic fertilizers slowly release their nutrients and provide sustainable nutrients for a more extended period.  

Building a soil would be the best option in the long run, instead of just applying chemicals.

cherry tomato growing

If you go for the chemical alternative, I recommend adding some calcium to the soil. I wash and dry eggshells after using the egg in the kitchen. I later grind into powder and mix it with the earth. 

This provides the extra calcium my tomatoes need to produce fruits.

Tips To Grow Cherry Tomatoes

Under the right conditions, tomatoes grow naturally. The necessary prescription is adequate heat, sunlight, free-flowing nutrient-rich soil, water, and room to breathe.  

Before planting, I've found that you have to fertilize the soil at least once, and then you will have to wait a while for the plants to settle inside.  

Apply fertilizer to the area that you want to sow the seeds/seedlings and spread it around the soil.  

If it is organic fertilizer, you do not need to do anything else. However, if it is an inorganic fertilizer, lay a soil layer between the fertilizer and the base where the young plant will rest.  

This prevents the root from burning, which occurs when they come in direct contact with the chemicals in inorganic fertilizers. 

Fertilizing with phosphorus promotes fruit growth and flowering.  Once your plants start to bear fruit, you can fertilize them again.  

At that point, it's easy to use “fertilizer tea,” a liquid fertilizer, and fertilize the plants every few weeks until the end of the harvest season.  

As much as I love tomatoes, I know just how much disaster a little pest or disease can cause. #growtomatoes

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Planting: 

Introduce the seedling into the already fertilized soil. For seeds, punch holes into the soil using your fingers, drop the seeds and cover up. 

In the span of about 2 weeks it will sprout into a seedling. 

Watering: 

The best time to water your crop is first thing in the morning. I have found hand-held sprinklers to be perfect for this purpose. 

Using Trellising: 

Some species of tomatoes require trellis so they can grow and climb around it. For such species, make sure you erect the trellises before they begin to bear fruit. 

As much as I love tomatoes, I know just how much disaster a little pest or disease can cause. I must tell you, it is not an exciting experience. 

I have therefore prepared a list of the common conditions that may hamper the growth of your crop.

Pests And Diseases

Tomatoes are tasty and juicy, even pests and viruses love to feed on them. 

Have you ever seen one a diseased infested plant? What did it look like? How do you protect your precious tomatoes from these bad guys? 

The first and the best protection is to plant tomato varieties that are suitable for your climatic conditions and resistant to diseases spread in your area. 

As I mentioned earlier, some species of tomatoes are best suited for certain environments. Decide on the ones that do well around your locality. 

The next best protection is to get seedlings that look healthy or grow your seedlings to eliminate disease risk.  

The truth is that your eyes can save you from unnecessary headaches (especially when you know what to look out for). 

Unusual colorations around the leaves and holes are evidence that the seedlings are already under attack. You don't want to take such seedlings back home with you. 

First, determine which area of the crop is affected.  Does the leaf, stem, flower, or fruit look dying or disfigured?  This will help determine if it is an animal, bacteria, fungus, etc.

How To Know If Pests Are Attacking Your fruit

  1. The leaves and fruits have holes, and insect marks are visible.
  2. Seeing animals, aphid eggs and larvae, caterpillars, etc. 
  3. The seedling disappears entirely, or the plant falls.

How To Know If Your Tomatoes Are Diseased

  1. The leaves begin to turn yellowish or develop brown or black spots
  2. The tips of the leaves turn brown, curl or shrink.
  3. A white film forms on the surface of the leaves
  4. Fruits have soft spots, mildew, or rotten stems.
  5. Shortly after germination, the seedlings fall or bend near the bottom of the stalk.

Common Tomato Pests

Tomato Hornworms

These are caterpillars with horned tails. Tomatoes are the predominant host for these larvae.  When you see them, collect them from the plants and put them in soapy water.  

It is also helpful to remove weeds in the garden.  The same advice applies to other caterpillars.

Aphids

These are small winged and wingless insects that either gather at the base of the leaves or feed in groups and vegetation.

They can be hard to see, but if ants are around, then the chances are that aphids are there too. They are water-absorbing organisms that debilitate the growth and deform leaves. 

To get them off your tomatoes, use a massive stream with a spray head controlled by the thumb pruning. Then, spray the plants with soapy water.  

If the problem persists, introduce ladybug, which are their natural predators.

Snails And Slugs 

They share the same love for tomatoes that you have. If you find big large holes in the leaves and fruits of your tomatoes, then they are around.  

Look out for traces of accompanying mucus to get to be double sure.  The most reliable remedies for snails are:

  • Spray water directly over the root crown, not all over the garden.  This way, the soil around is not moist enough to accommodate snails. 
  • Inspect the area from time to time and pick the pest.  If the pest attack persists, use traps and barriers to catch and deprive the pests access to your crop. 
  • Place a shallow pot of beer near the plants to catch slugs and slugs (they climb and die).
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the plants to prevent them from reaching the harvest.

Whiteflies

These shiny white-winged insects often gather below the leaves of your tomato plants. Like aphids, they are on a mission to suck the sap and weaken your plants.  

Spray the plants with a thick stream of water through the irrigation nozzle and use insecticidal soap.

Cutworms

These are caterpillars or larvae that eat-up  young plants at night. If you notice that leaves of seedlings disappear overnight, they are probably the cause. 

To protect the plants, create a barrier around the trunk by placing a collar of cardboard, aluminum, or other recycled material.

Flea Beetles 

These are small bugs, usually black in color and jump like fleas. They feed on tree leaves and leave small holes in the leaves.  Their larvae devour roots.  

These insects are exterminated by spraying the plants with diatomaceous earth, placing beneficial nematodes in the soil, and placing a series of covers over the young plants to scare off the bugs.

Common Tomato Diseases

Below is a list of common diseases that affect cherry tomatoes. 

Damping-off 

This is the result of a fungus that is naturally present in the soil. When you observe that the seedlings suddenly bend towards ground level and wither into the stem, they are probably suffering from damping-off.  

To mitigate against this disease, water the seedlings first when planting them, then water them enough to keep the soil moist, but no water is observed.  Ensure your seedlings have access to plenty of air and there is enough space for them to breathe.

Also, make ensure the containers and tools you make use of when growing and caring for your plants are always clean.

Bacterial Leaf-Spot

This is characterized by rough dark spots accompanied by yellow leaves. It affects both leaf and fruit alike. 

To prevent this from happening, ensure there is enough air circulation and sunlight. Also, uproot weeds as soon as they appear. 

Fusarium Wilt And Verticillium Wilt

These fungi enter the plant through moisture in the soil. Discolored stems and yellowing leaves characterize them. 

Once you have confirmed that your plant is affected by these fungi, uproot and discard the soil immediately. 

The best way to control this fungus is to grow cherry tomatoes resistant to their attack and ensure excellent drainage. 

Blight

Early blight: This causes a ring of brown spots, and yellow halos appear on the leaf. It results in the rotting of the tomatoes and stems.

Late blight: This form dark patches on the leaf and its tip without the yellow hallows on early blights. 

The best solution for early and late blight is to grow varieties resistant to their attack and ensure air circulation.

You should store freshly picked tomatoes freshly at room-temperature, if they are in the refrigerator, they will rot. #growtomatoes

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Harvesting Cherry Tomatoes

Usually, you can start harvesting delicious cherry tomatoes within 6-8 weeks of planting.  Seedlings bloom within a month, but seeds take another two extra weeks. 

The flowers are small green fruits.  Ripe cherry tomatoes are ready in a few weeks.

Picking: 

Tomatoes should come out of the stalks quickly.  Do not pull or bend to pick tomatoes - harvest ripe fruits from the branch every day. The more you pick, the more it produces. 

The plant would continue to make tomatoes until the season is over. 

Storing: 

You should store freshly picked tomatoes freshly at room-temperature, if they are in the refrigerator, they will rot. 

They can also be canned or dried.  

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Final Thoughts

Growing your favorite cherry tomatoes is not as tricky as you taught after all. The entire process from seed selection, fertilization, tending, and harvesting (the fun part) is straightforward and enjoyable. 

Now you have it, fresh cherry tomatoes for your salad and stew, just the way you like it. 

Related Questions

What is the best way to grow cherry tomatoes?

There's no best way to grow cherry tomatoes. Some grow well in pots while others do well on raised beds.

How long does it take to grow cherry tomatoes? 

From planting to harvest is about 3-4 weeks.

How tall do cherry tomato plants grow? 

Depending on the species, they can grow to between 6-10feet.

Do Cherry Tomatoes need a trellis?

Some Cherry Tomatoes require a trellis, but the more compact ones grow in pots without needing trellis.

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