How to Grow Grape Tomatoes
Just a decade ago, grape tomatoes were largely an unknown fruit. They seemed
to hit the marketplace by storm. These cherry sized, egg-shaped fruit, are
firmer, but not as sweet as regular cherry tomatoes. Gardeners like you and
me, quickly added them to our gardens. Now, our vegetable gardens would not
be complete without them.
In the marketplace, grape tomatoes have quickly become very popular,
despite a higher price tag. Being a little smaller than cherry tomatoes,
it take more effort to fill a container for the marketplace. As gardeners,
we give little or no thought to the extra time to harvest. The taste is well
worth the effort!
Growing Tip: Plant grape tomatoes at the edge of the garden. Kids
and adults will come right up for a tasty, right from the garden snack.
Growing Grape Tomatoes:
Generally speaking, grow grape tomatoes just like any tomato variety. Like
other tomato plants, it prefers full sun, and a rich garden soil.
It is best to start your grape tomato plants indoors. Plant grape tomato
seeds in small containers, eight to ten weeks before the last frost date
for your area. You can also start seeds in a cold frame.
Just prior to planting seedlings in your garden,
"harden them off" by bringing
them outside during the daytime and for increasing hours, until you are leaving
them out overnight. Use of a cold
frame is recommended, but not a requirement. If frost is predicted, bring
On planting day, pour liberal amounts of water with a soluble liquid fertilizer
on them. Plant them in the garden carefully. To minimize transplant shock,
avoid disturbing the roots. Normal spacing is 24 " apart, in rows 30" to
Fertilize plants, on a regular basis. Early applications should be high in
nitrogen. As soon as flower buds begin to appear, switch to fertilizers which
are higher in Phosphorus and Potassium. Too much Nitrogen
fertilizer results in lots of lush green leaves, and little fruit. A
fertilizer specifically formulated for tomatoes, will help to maximize your
Keep your grape tomato plants well watered. Deep watering is preferable,
over more frequent, light watering. You want moisture to go deep to all the
roots of the plant. Water directly to the roots. Keep water off the leaves
if at all possible. Tomatoes are susceptible to plant disease that grows
in wet, humid conditions.
Caging or staking grape tomatoes, is highly recommended. We consider it a
must. You can also plant them next to a fence, and tie them to the fence
as they grow.
More on staking tomato plants
Also see: Veggie Cages
Days to Maturity:
Grape tomato plants grow at about the same speed as other tomato plants.
The small fruit takes less time to grow and ripen. The fruit should begin
to ripen about 70 days after you set seedlings out into the garden.
Cold and hot spells affect fruit development and growth. Fruit set does not
occur below 55 degrees, or above 90 degrees Farenheit.
Grape tomato plants are prolific producers. Continuously harvest ripe fruit.
This will promote new flowering and fruit set, for a maximum harvest.
Insects and Pests:
Tomatoes experience insect problems with cutworms and a few other garden
pests. Also, if not staked or caged, snails and slugs will munch on the ripening
Deer will nip the young, tender growing tips of the plants.
A number of plant problems can arise, usually in mid summer heat and humidity.
Blights and fungus infections can occur in the high humidity. Early treatment
with fungicides is effective. Spacing plants too close cuts down air circulation
and promotes disease.
Blossom end rot can also affect the fruit. This is a round, brown, indented
spot on the bottom of the tomato. It is caused by either uneven watering
or a lack of calcium in the soil.
on Blossom End Rot.
Tip: Do not water at night if possible in hot and humid weather if
possible. Moisture and humidity combined with high temperatures promotes
plant diseases. If possible, water at the roots.
Tomato Plant Problems Causes
and cures for many plant problems
Tomatoes like it hot! They will die if exposed to frost. Make sure to plant
them after the last frost.
Tip#1: Cover your young seedling if frost is predicted. A simple and
easy cover for small seedlings is to buy large or extra large plastic
disposable cups. Place them over the seedling at dusk, and remove them in
the morning. There is usually little or no wind on nights with frost, so
they are not easily tipped over.
Tip#2: If you get a light frost overnight and you did not cover up
your plants. Go out early before the sun rises, and spray your plants with
the garden hose. This melts the ice off the plants and may save them.
Harvesting Grape Tomatoes:
Harvest grape tomatoes anytime from when they begin to turn pink, to when
they fully ripen into a bright red, color.
Store ripe grape tomatoes on a counter top, or any cool, dry location. Do
not put them in the refrigerator.
Quickly and easily prepare sauce and juice for canning and cooking.
Garden Tomato Recipes: May we suggest:
Mania - from Garden Hobbies
Buy Grape Tomato Seeds - top quality seeds at the
lowest price anywhere.
Buy Hot Kaps
Veggie Cages This revolutionary tomato cage
expands a whopping 7ft! It folds flat for easy storage.