Growing Cherry Tomatoes
Use Cherry Tomatoes to get an instant burst of color and flavor. This extremely versatile variety of tomatoes is used to lend a sweet juicy flavour to salads, salsa, pizza and pasta. Cherry tomatoes are easiest to grow and are the first to fruit. They include both bush and climbing varieties, and all bear prolifically.
Cherry Tomato Varieties:
Before getting into the ways of Growing Cherry Tomato let’s explore its varieties.
1. Black Cherry:
Dark purple, round tomato with very sweet, juicy fruit.
2. Cherry Roma:
Miniature version of Roma tomatoes, this variety has a classic elongated shape and a great flavor.
3. Tommy Toe:
Plump, juicy and available in a wide range of colors these tomatoes are perfect for dressing a salad.
This variety produces long sprays of 10 or more tomatoes, which ripen evenly.
5. Yellow Pear:
Available in shape of a Pear these tomatoes have a good sweet flavor.
How to plant Cherry Tomatoes?
Tomatoes need six hours of full sunlight, shelter, well-ventilated position, and compost-rich soil. Crop rotation and freely draining soil are equally important. To grow tomatoes dig soil well and mix blended organic fertiliser into each planting hole. Sow the plant 10cm above the surface of the ground to assist drainage while reducing the risk of fungus. Lightly mulch the soil. Tomatoes look good when they grow to cascade down from hanging baskets or containers. Cherry tomatoes grow very well in a climate with low humidity.
How to Harvest Cherry Tomatoes?
Pick tomatoes once they start to turn red, then ripen them indoors. Once ripe, keep them in the refrigerator for weeks. At the end of the season, i.e. when the weather cools the tomatoes will fail to ripen outdoors. Carefully pull out the whole plant with as much as soil possible and hang it upside down in a protected place, such as a shed or a veranda. The fruit will ripen even after it has been uprooted. You can also pick all the fruit and bring indoors once the cold climate starts. The green tomatoes with an orange tinge will begin to ripen within 2-3 days. Ones that fail to ripe can be used to make green tomato pickles, fritters or vegetable cake.
Pests and Diseases that pose a threat to Cherry Tomatoes:
Sunburn, Blossom end rot, fungal infections and Whitefly can pose a threat to Cherry Tomatoes. Thus it is important that the plant is kept sheltered and protected in the adverse climatic conditions, good air circulation is ensured, over watering is avoided, and plants are pruned at appropriate intervals. Read about types of insect pests in your garden.
How to save Cherry Tomato Seeds?
Scoop out the pulp from Cherry Tomato and allow it to ferment for a day or two. Strain out excessive pulp. Thinly spread the wet seed over paper tissues/towel. Dry at room temperature, then cut the tissue into sections, each with three seeds. Sow each section per 10 cm pot. The seeds can also be stored in an airtight container for maximum four years.
Care and maintenance:
Once Cherry Tomatoes begin to flower, feed them fortnight with seaweed or fish emulsion. Water the plant regularly early morning, and never wet the foliage before sunset as the moisture will invite mildew. Do not forget to tap the flowers very gently early in the morning to stimulate pollination.
Tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, a known antioxidant that protects the heart.
Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family which includes toxic plants and hence earlier were considered as poisonous.
Grow Vegetables – Alan Buckingham
The Ultimate Book of Vegetables – Reader’s Digest