Gardening Cherry Tomatoes -
Has the weight of heavy beefsteak tomatoes left you feeling down? After all, there's nothing quite worse than dealing with an extremely top heavy tomato plant in a container. Collapsed cages, failing stakes, and tipped over containers are quite the worry when gardening large tomato varieties in pots. So what might the gardener do? Well, how about giving container gardening cherry tomatoes a try? With plentiful small tomatoes averaging 5-15 grams a piece, you'll never again have to worry about another set of pound size tomatoes pulling over the planter. Isn't it about time to discover the basics of cherry tomatoes container gardening?
Supplies for Growing Cherry Tomatoes -
Start your container cherry tomatoes off on the right foot (ha, or root in their case), by providing them with the correct materials and growing requirements. The better you're prepared and have your homework completed, the better your tomato plants will be!
Cherry and grape tomatoes come in all sorts of colors. Some varieties of interest include:
- Purple Cherokee
- Green Grapes
- Christmas Cherry
- Sun Gold
Photo By - PhotoFarmer
- Sunlight - All it takes is a sunny patio, deck or window to grow great cherry tomatoes, but keep in mind that sunlight will be your biggest factor in determining if you'll be able to sustain the needs of these tomatoes. For seedlings and young plants, plan to provide 12-16 hours of sunlight daily, and 6-12 hours for mature plants.
- Containers - Cherry tomatoes are an indeterminate type of tomato, so the size of their container must sustain their constant growth throughout the season. In very cramped situations, gardeners should choose to grow their cherry tomatoes in a minimum size container of three gallons. Of course, bigger is better.
- Potting Soil - A rich and nutritious soil is key to growing cherry tomatoes in containers. Tomatoes are heavy feeders, and will prefer a soil rich in compost content. To promote continued health throughout the season, start with an organic potting soil that's light, heavily composted and has excellent drainage.
- Fertilizer - Maturing tomato plants will quickly work to rob the soil of available nutrition after a short time. An all purpose organic fertilizer may be purchased, or compost teas can be made. Either way, you'll need to supplement your tomatoes' diet with some sort of well balanced extra nutrition.
- Cage, Stakes or Trellis - Although cherry tomatoes produce fruit of less weight than typical tomato varieties, their indeterminate growth still requires some form of support. While cages and stakes will properly support cherry tomato growth, trellises designed specifically for containers serve to please in both aesthetic appeal and sturdy tomato support.
How to Germinate Tomato Seed -
While some gardeners will choose to start growing cherry tomatoes with store bought transplants, others will want the satisfaction of having grown their tomatoes from seed. Growing cherry tomatoes from seed allows the gardener full access to the variety chosen, climate for seedlings and complete control over the important early growth stages of their cherry tomato plants. While techniques will vary, here's the most straightforward beginner-based way of how to germinate tomato seeds:
- Four to six weeks before your average last frost, begin to start tomato seeds indoors. Under a grow light providing 14-16 hours of light, or in a south facing window seal, fill a seeding tray or egg carton with soil and plant the tomato seeds a half inch deep.
- Water the soil and continue to keep moist. If you're soil is drying out too fast, try placing a loose piece of plastic wrap over the soil. It will create a micro climate and hold in humidity.
- Assuming your home is warmed to 70°F, the tomato seeds should germinate within 7-10 days.
- As the cherry tomato plants continue to sprout and grow, keep them moist and warm. At around 2 weeks of age from seed, you may transplant the tomato plants from their starter seedling cups to a three inch pot.
- Continue to water and provide heat and light for your growing tomato plants. Once the average last frost has passed, begin to prepare your cherry tomatoes for their final transplant to their outdoor location by hardening off each plant.
Growing Cherry Tomatoes in Pots -
Right, so at this point, you've either got your hot little hands on store bought transplants or on young cherry tomato plants that you've grown, hardened off and babied from seed. In either case, it's time for the final transplant and a season of growing some 'maters!
Cherry Tomato in container with homemade trellis. Photo By - Ula Gillion
- Fill and prepare the final three gallon containers with potting soil. An hour before transplanting, water each cherry tomato plant with a light fertilizer application. I've found this to help counteract the shock of transplanting and to set roots faster.
- Water in your cherry tomato plants and set up the trellis, cage or stakes. Setting up the support system now will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
- Throughout the growing season, provide your tomato plants with water and help guide new growth through the cage or trellis. The soil should be consistently moist, especially during the hottest times of the season. Watering should be conducted once the top inch and a half of soil have become dry.
- Fertilizing is best conducted in smaller, more frequent applications, rather than large one time doses. I've found that feeding with compost tea once every two weeks sustains excellent growth. Small additions of bone meal to the compost teas later in the season provide additional phosphorus to promote bountiful tomato production.
- Since pollination is done by insects, all you'll have to do is wait for the blossoms to turn into green tomatoes, and the green tomatoes to ripen to color! You'll be harvesting continuous tomatoes from the middle of summer straight until the first frost.
Final Word - Container Cherry Tomatoes
So long as you keep up with regular garden maintenance and continue to uphold high standards, you'll have a bounty of cherry tomatoes this season! Healthy cherry tomato plants will produce so many tomatoes you'll have a hard time deciding what to do with them all. Dry them out, make a great pizza sauce, or just eat them straight from the plant. It doesn't matter what you do with them, so long as they're enjoyed! Thank you for reading this article on cherry tomatoes container gardening.
There's plenty more to grow than just potted tomato plants! Have a look at my other container gardening articles:
- Radishes in Containers
- Bell Peppers in Containers
- Growing Arugula in Containers
- Container Gardening Jalapenos
- How to Grow Broccoli in Containers
***Please Note - Photos shown in this hub with a photo credit belong to their respected owners. The photos were made available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Lisa Bean from Nevada on January 08, 2019:
I'm going to try my hand at cherry tomatoes in a container again this year. They are so fun for the kids too since they produce so much. My daughter has really enjoyed going out every day to help pick the tomatoes and although she eats more than she brings in the house, I consider it a total win! :)
Lisa Bean from Nevada on December 12, 2018:
I love growing cherry tomatoes in a container. It's the perfect way to get a fun harvest, kids can help pick them and the varieties are endless!
dearabbysmom from Indiana on March 17, 2014:
I had no idea cherry tomatoes came in so many hues! The soil where I live isn't very good to grow food directly in the ground, so I always need to use containers. Excited to find all your container vegetable articles, thank you for sharing!
JR Krishna from India on October 24, 2013:
I am trying to grow this variety. I got some important tips from your article.
Thanks for sharing
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on February 13, 2013:
Great article. I love cherry tomatoes. Planting container tomatoes is one way of having tomato plants at home. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and more;-)
Sandiaview from New Mexico on March 26, 2012:
Great article! We have "graduated" to container tomatoes due to our harsh climate in New Mexico. We can start the tomatoes indoors, set them in a protected area outside when they are young, bring them in during our horrific wind storms, and move them to follow (or get out of) the sun as the seasons change. There's nothing like home-grown tomatoes!
Dianna Mendez on March 23, 2012:
The cherry tomato photos are yummy looking. I love these in salads. I would love these in a container garden. voted up.
LGrey from Alabama on March 23, 2012:
Very good information. Cherry tomatoes are great for containers. I do grow some beef steaks in containers, but they do require a bit more work.
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on March 23, 2012:
Perfect timing. I'll be doing some planting today and I had cherry tomatoes on my list.
Voted up and useful. Socially shared.