Tomatoes (cherry)

sungold cherry tomatoes Sungold Cherry Tomatoes are especially sweet.     Photo: Dwight Sipler

Fast-growing and prolific, cherry tomatoes are a favorite in raised beds. Look for compact varieties that produce a big harvest in a small space. Cherry Cascade, for example, will happily drape over the sides of a raised bed and produce hundreds of tomatoes without overwhelming neighboring plants. Patio Hybrid is a compact variety that grows about 2' tall. Because many popular cherry tomato varieties grow into huge plants, be sure to look for those described as determinate or bush if space is at a premium.

Tomato plants are easy to start from seed. Start them indoors, six to eight weeks before your average last frost date. In warm conditions indoors (70 degrees F.), the seeds will usually germinate in just a few days.

cherry tomato

Provide your tomato seedlings with 15 hours of bright light each day to keep them from getting leggy. You may need to transplant them into larger pots if they grow very quickly. Tomatoes are hungry plants and they need to be fertilized frequently, starting as seedlings.

Set plants outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. Depending on the mature size of the variety you are growing, you may want to set a cage, ladder or other vertical support in place at planting time. Keep soil evenly moist, fertilize regularly, and you'll be popping ripe cherry tomatoes in your mouth in eight weeks or less.

Last updated: 01/29/2021