Homegrown tomatoes are a rite of passage for Southern gardeners. While you may already be a pro at growing big tomatoes, don't
overlook the small ones. What they lack in size, they make up for in flavor and number. Delicious and easy to grow, cherry
tomatoes are ideal for salads and pastas and for roasting and drying. (That is, if you can make it to the kitchen without
devouring your harvest!)
Choose the Right Tomatoes
Your local nursery should have a good selection of plants and seeds, and you'll find more choices online. (Check out the options at tastefulgarden.com.) Start with classics such as 'Sun Gold' or 'Sweet Million' mixed with a tasty newer selection such as 'Sweet Baby Girl.'
Grow cherry tomatoes in your vegetable garden, in raised beds, or in large containers. You can even tuck them into your shrub borders. They have two simple requirements: at least six hours of full sun each day and well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. Plant them after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. Before planting, pinch off the lower leaves of the plant halfway up the stem. Dig a deep hole, and bury each plant up to its first two leaflets. Firm the soil around the stem, and then mulch to help conserve moisture and discourage the growth of weeds.
Support your plants with convenient tomato cages and ladders. For something long-lasting and heavy-duty, try Texas Tomato Cages (tomatocage.com). Galvanized panels also make great tomato tamers, especially if you're growing lots of plants. Wooden stakes, wire spirals, and bamboo are budget friendly but take more time because you have to tie stems every other day to train them. If you go that route, tie the plants with eco-friendly biodegradable twine. Water cherry tomatoes regularly and harvest frequently to encourage production.