How to Grow Cherry Tomatoes at Home

A few weeks ago, I started to grow a new batch of cherry tomato plants and I ended up planting a lot of seeds. I didn’t expect all of them to grow, but by God’s grace, they did! So, for quite some time now, I’ve had more than 15+ seedlings happily growing in their own cups at home. However, because we didn’t have space for these 15 cherry tomato plants anymore, I decided to give the seedlings away. I posted a photo of them on my Facebook page with a caption: “Giving away 10-15 cherry tomato seedlings. Let me know if you want one!” Surprisingly, a lot of friends left comments on the photo and accepted the challenge of growing their own cherry tomatoes at home. YOU ARE AMAZING. Thank you!!!

cherry tomato seedlings
cherry tomato seedlings

To my new gardener friends, I hope and pray that you will enjoy your gardening adventure with your new seedlings as you see them grow and bear fruit in the coming months. To show my support, I listed down some of the helpful tips I’ve learned over the past years in growing cherry tomatoes at home. Enjoy! :)

HOW TO GROW CHERRY TOMATOES AT HOME

Materials you’ll need:

  • Tomato seeds
  • A Hard Plastic Pot with holes at the bottom — at least 12”x12” in height and diameter.
  • 1 bag of loose potting soil — enough to fill the pot.
  • Fertilizer for tomatoes/vegetables
  • Long bamboo sticks or similar ones (about at least a meter tall) that can help hold the plant upright.
  • Plastic straw – for tying/securing the plant on the sticks
  • Mulch or dried leaves/straw/twigs
cherry tomatoes
cherry tomatoes

 

GROWING SEEDLINGS

Add loose potting soil to a cup (4/5 full) and lightly bury a seed or two in the soil. You can plant two seeds in one cup just in case one of them doesn’t germinate or grow. However, if both seeds successfully grow in one cup, make sure to carefully separate the two seedlings (without damaging the stem or roots) while they’re still small or about an inch tall. When the seedlings grow a few more inches (2-3”), you may now move them to a bigger container with holes at the bottom and with a good drainage system. By doing so, they will develop more roots and help the plant become more sturdy. I usually fill half of the pot/container with soil and then sprinkle some of the fertilizer before filling it up with potting soil again. Once its ready, I dig a hole in the middle of the container, remove the seedling growing in the cup of soil, and gently place it inside the hole. I also top the soil with mulch or dried twigs and leaves to help retain the moisture in the soil.

cherry tomato seedling
cherry tomato seedling
cherry tomato seedling
cherry tomato seedling
cherry tomato seedling
cherry tomato seedling

 

WATERING THE TOMATO PLANTS

As the seedlings grow in their new pot, it’s very important to regularly water them. When I was younger, I thought that watering just the leaves of the plants was the best way to provide for their H2O needs. However, after experimenting with different fruit-bearing plants over the past years, I learned that in order to keep the plant happy and healthy, we must focus on watering the soil — where the roots are. Even if we don’t water the leaves, the plant will still grow as long as we regularly water the soil and roots.

cherry tomato seedling
cherry tomato seedling

How often should we water the plants?

Once a day is enough. However, if you live in a tropical country (like me!), the plant will most likely want to be watered twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.

How do you know when the water is enough or too much for the plant?

When we water plants in containers, a good way to know if we’ve added enough water is if we start to see the water come out of the drainage holes of the pot. When this happens, you may already stop watering since we know that most, if not all, parts of the soil in the pot already received water.

 

PROTECTING THE ROOTS

In the first two parts of this post, I’ve mentioned how important it is to take care of the plant’s roots. Even though we don’t usually see the roots, they play a very important part in helping the plant grow and bear fruit. Not only do they serve as a support for the whole plant, but they also absorb all the water and nutrients found in the soil! So, how can we protect the roots? It’s pretty simple. Keep them covered with soil! We don’t want the roots to be exposed under the scorching hot sun or the extremely cold weather at night. We want them to be wrapped with a blanket of soil ALWAYS. If ever you see the plant’s roots peeking or coming out every now and then, you can lightly throw more potting soil on it, until you can’t see the roots anymore.

cherry tomato plant
cherry tomato plant

 

SUPPORTING THE PLANT

When I first planted tomato seeds at home, I didn’t know anything about growing them. It was only until the plant had reached its “teenage years” that I realized the importance of providing a sturdy support system for it. Supporting the plant may be done by letting it grow inside a store-bought tomato cage or by tying the plant on strong and long sticks secured on the soil.

Since I planted my tomatoes in containers (large pots and beds), I didn’t have enough space to use tomato cages. So, I made use of thick, ordinary sticks and thin bamboo sticks to secure and support the plants. I tied them on the sticks with a plastic straw (the one used in tying huge cardboard boxes). And as the plants grew, I just adjusted and added the plastic straws attached to them. Be extra careful in tying the plants. Make sure not to damage the stems or use straws/strings with sharp edges that may harm and scrape the stems.

cherry tomato plant
cherry tomato plant

Although it might require a bit more effort, staking and supporting the plants early on will be very helpful, especially when the plant develops flowers and fruits.  The cherry tomatoes will eventually weigh the plant down, so it’s important to keep the main stem and branches upright and secure. We wouldn’t want them to snap off and break.

cherry tomato plant
cherry tomato plant

 

FERTILIZING THE PLANTS

Tomato plants love to be fed with nutrients. So, as the plants grow, they need to be surrounded with fertilizer every now and then. I add fertilizer to the potting soil in four different stages:

  1. On the day of planting the tomato seedling
  2. When the plant is about two feet tall
  3. When the plant starts to produce flowers
  4. After it starts growing cherry tomatoes

The best thing about growing your own vegetables and fruits at home is you can control the materials added to the soil. For the past years, I’ve used organic and natural fertilizers in my soil. But, if you prefer to use chemicals, then it can still help the plant grow and bear fruit. For the natural fertilizers, you may use the ff. in your soil: compost, washed and crushed egg shells, banana peels, coffee grounds, washed shrimp shells, raw fish heads, Epsom salt, etc. You may also try organic tomato fertilizer spikes sold in the hardware or gardening stores.

cherry tomato flowers
cherry tomato flowers

Note: When fertilizing tomato plants, it’s important to provide a healthy amount of nitrogen to the plant during its early stages. After the plant grows more vines and branches, you may lessen the nitrogen in-take and add more phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer-soil mixture.

Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

 

HARVESTING CHERRY TOMATOES

After around 2-3 months of growing your tomato plants, cherry tomato flowers will start to appear. Yay! When this happens, the plant will then concentrate all of its energy to produce the fruits. While waiting for the flowers to turn into cherry tomatoes, you’ll need to prune the plant every now and then to make sure that the energy of the plant is directed to the fruits and not to unnecessary stems and branches. Let me introduce to you, the “suckers” of the tomato plants. These suckers or small branches grow at a 45 degree angle in between two main branches. You’ll need to carefully pluck these off especially when your plant already has flowers because if you don’t, they will suck the energy produced by the plant and less energy will go to the flowers and fruits.

"Sucker" in tomato plants.
“Sucker” in tomato plants.

It usually takes 3-4 months before a cherry tomato plant bears fruit, depending on your location and weather. As soon as you see the yellow flowers, you’ll know that it’ll only take a few more weeks before you can harvest your homegrown, juicy, and sweet tomatoes. The tomatoes can still ripen after you’ve harvested them from the plant, but I like to keep mine in the vine just until they become red (not overripe) so that they can reach its maximum sweetness. To harvest the tomatoes, you can gently twist and turn each fruit until they come off or you may cut the individual stems of the tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

So, there you have it! :) I really hope that you can explore growing cherry tomatoes at home! It is definitely a fulfilling and fun thing to do. Gardening at home has helped me so much in learning more about nature, befriending earthworms, appreciating food, developing my character, learning from my mistakes, and being reminded of how amazing God is. It really is a privilege to witness seeds grow and produce fresh fruits and vegetables at home.

Happy gardening, everyone! Feel free to share your tomato gardening experiences with me too.

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

 “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” –1 Corinthians 3:7

Growing Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes

Eight months ago, Nick Vujicic shared God’s word and his testimony during the Unstoppable conference at our church. I will never forget that time because it was a humbling experience for me. Before he ended his talk, he challenged the participants to grow more in their walk with God. And by God’s grace, I took the challenge and surrendered my heart again to Jesus.

On our way home, God randomly encouraged me to plant an actual seed and make it grow. At that time, I realized that God was supporting my desire to grow in my walk with Him and He wanted me to constantly be reminded of it through gardening.

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And so, the next day, I bought a new pot, a bag of loose soil, broccoli seeds and I started planting my first vegetable. After watering the two seeds for 10 days, two tiny Broccoli leaves grew and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I loved it! Because I enjoyed the experience so much, I decided to buy another pot, another bag of soil, and a pack of cherry tomato seeds.

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The Broccoli Seed
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The Cherry Tomato Seed

 

I really thank God for the privilege of gardening. He has been gracious in keeping them alive and well since day one and I am always in awe of how He is able to create such beautiful things and make them grow and bear fruit.

I’d like to share with you some of the valuable lessons I’ve learned since I started planting the Broccoli and Cherry Tomato seeds:

FIRST: God makes things Grow in His Perfect Time.

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Baby Broccoli leaves

I read in various websites that we can harvest Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes after two months. However, in my case, I was only able to harvest the tomatoes after seven and a half months and I’m still waiting for my broccoli plants to produce their heads.

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Young, fragile Broccoli plant

It might have been ‘discouraging’ for me to see them grow slowly, but through this, I am reminded by God that He is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. So, if He thinks it’s best for the tomatoes or broccoli to grow and bear fruit immediately, He can and will allow it to happen.

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Beautiful Broccoli leaves

 

In the same way, there are certain areas in my life where I feel like I’m not growing or progressing as fast as I want to. But, despite this, I am encouraged to trust that God knows best; that He is constantly at work in my life; and that He will allow me to grow into the woman that He wants me to be in His perfect time.

Ephesians 3:20 says: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

SECOND: Growth Requires Discipline and Perseverance.

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Baby Cherry Tomato plant

For the past eight months, I’ve done my best to regularly water the plants. However, I do remember instances (especially at night) when I would deliberately choose to ignore my responsibility and do other things like: sleeping or watching TV series or surfing the internet or sleeping (again). And sadly, when I don’t practice the discipline of watering the plants, giving them fertilizer, and taking out the weeds (which hinder their growth), I end up having unhealthy and unhappy plants.

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Top view of the Cherry Tomato plant

John Maxwell once said “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”

By God’s grace, He has been showing me the importance of discipline and perseverance not only in gardening, but also in my day-to-day activities. If I want to grow in my walk with God, then I must be willing to regularly spend time with Him in prayer and by reading/studying the Bible. I must also learn to constantly remove and let go of the things that hinder me from knowing and loving Him more. In the same way, if I want to grow in my workplace and ministry, I must be willing to go the extra mile and give my best even in the small tasks that I have.

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A Cherry Tomato flower

 

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My first Cherry Tomato

THIRD: Support from Others Help Sustain Growth

I noticed that the main stalk of the Cherry Tomato plant started to bend after five months. When I saw it, I panicked because I didn’t want it to snap! So, I tied a number of sticks to the stalk using some of our straw and thankfully, it stood still. Also, my mom willingly helped me maintain the support system and my brothers also helped me get rid of the weeds that were surrounding the plants.

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I realized that having a support system definitely encourages and sustains growth. Just like the main stalk, sooner or later, we might also ‘bend’ when we experience difficult situations.  But, when we keep ourselves closely accountable and open to others who willingly support and help us, we can actually learn and grow even more.

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My younger brother taking out the weeds.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Special thanks to my parents and siblings, who cheerfully support and encourage me whenever I take care of the plants.

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I already harvested red cherry tomatoes yesterday and I might harvest more tomorrow. Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful experience of growing our own vegetables at home. But more than that, I thank You for constantly encouraging me to grow in my walk with You.

See you soon, Broccoli!! :)

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time.