When Growing Tomatoes, it Helps to Start Small

A Bite-Sized Beginning

Do it yourself isn’t just for home improvement projects. You can be the DIY master of your plate by growing your vegetables.

The perfect, and easiest, veggie for beginners may be the bite-sized cherry tomato.

Avoid the hassle of plowing and planting by purchasing already seeded transplant pots from a local nursery and planting them in containers. But don’t think too small, advises Lilly Anderson, tomato workshop instructor at Native Nurseries.

“For indeterminate tomatoes, like most cherry ones are, you need 7-gallon pots or larger. The transplant pot in the 4-inch container can easily be put into the ground or a larger container,” she says.

Matt’s Wild Cherry, Sun Gold and Lemon Drop tomato varieties are more resistant to disease and heat, and they tend to flourish even in Florida.

Tomatoes need regular watering based on soil type and an average of four to six hours of sun a day, says Anderson. Pots with foam or fiberglass limit root evaporation and hold moisture your soil will need. She also recommends Tomato Tone organic fertilizer.

Anderson says June is the latest to plant cherry tomato crops but that home gardeners can plan a second planting in August.

Within a month, you should be able to begin harvesting tomatoes. Aside from a firm, even-toned tomato, there are other indications it’s ready for the salad bowl. “When there’s a little give to the fruit and it’s easily plucked, the tomato is probably ripe for picking,” she says.

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