Tomatoes are everybody’s favorite. They make excellent salad veggies and form the main base for many gravies and curries not to forget chutnies. Cherry tomatoes especially are succulent, sweet and easy to grow too. If you are an amateur gardener, cherry tomato is the best way to begin gardening. Simple, healthy and juicy tomatoes make your home garden colourful.
Season: Cherry tomato plant grows all-round the year yielding baskets of fruits in all seasons. Chilly weather can cause damage to the fruits but you can use a shade to cover them when the night gets really cold. All it needs is full sunshine, plenty of water and well-drained soil. Plant the seeds whenever you want without worrying about the right season.
Location Constraints: Always choose a sunny spot in the garden to grow cherry tomato. Dig up the soil thoroughly before sowing the seeds. The soil should be loose enough for the roots to penetrate. Unlike many other plants, the roots of the cherry tomato plant are really fragile and hard soil can make growth tougher for them.
Sunlight: A minimum of eight hours sunlight is vital for the seeds to germinate and the fruits to develop. If your garden doesn’t receive much sunlight, sow the seeds near window sills where sunlight stays for longer durations.
Spacing : Sow the seeds ½ inch deep and 2 inches apart from each other. Water the seeds deeply after sowing to enhance germination.
Growth: Like the gourd family, cherry tomato plant requires the support of a trellis. Fix a wooden frame or a wire system to help the plant grow. In the absence of a vine, the plant crawls on the ground and soon dies due to drooping.
Height and Spreading: Cherry tomato plants grow very tall and would require pruning if they seem to be really huge. Always carry out the pruning process much before flowering starts. If there’s enough place in your home garden you might as well allow it to extend as long as possible.
Temperature: Warm temperatures are always in favour of the cherry tomato plant. From germination to giving fruit, an optimum temperature of 30degrees Celsius is required every day. At the same time, the plant can tolerate little cold too.
Watering: Plenty of water is what cherry tomatoes want. Water the seeds deeply every day depending upon the weather. If the day gets too warm, water frequently to keep the soil damp. Dry soil makes the seeds leggy and plants lanky.
Nutrient Management: Though home grown cherry tomato plants do not require much nutrition apart from manure, it is good if you choose nitrogen based organic fertiliser for the crop. Use the fertiliser immediately after germination and stop once the fruit sets in.
Pest Management: Cherry tomatoes unlike the other varieties of tomatoes is highly resistant to pest infestation. However, damp soil can induce rotting and kill the plant in a very short span of time. Similarly, aphids tend to attack the fruit once they are close to ripening. Usage of a mild organic pesticide will help.
Harvesting of cherry tomato: The fruits ripen after 75 to 100 days from the day of sowing seeds. Pick the fruit immediately without any delay. Leave green coloured fruits to ripen completely. Always palm them without picking or pinching hard.
Uses and health benefits: Cherry tomatoes are rich in anti-oxidants. They also boost the body’s immunity and guard you from common colds and fevers. Regular consumption of cherry tomatoes treats digestive disorders too thanks to the lycopene content of the fruits.
Additional Information:Once you harvest the first crop of cherry tomatoes, fertilise the soil and water the plants deeply to re-grow more tomatoes.