All You Need To Know About Growing Tomatoes

You want to grow tomatoes at home? Great!

Then this article is exactly for you!

In fact, I answer many different questions for you so that you can grow your tomatoes in the best possible manner.

Without further ado, let it grow! 😉

Table of Contents

Time & Duration

Do tomatoes grow year-round?

You can generally grow tomatoes year-round.

However, please note that you will only be able to harvest tomatoes once a year and the plant will decay after that.

This means that your tomato plant will not produce multiple harvests a year but only a single one.

Prepare the soil!

While you can also grow tomatoes in winter, spring and autumn, the best time to grow tomatoes is in warmer periods of the year since you can expect the highest yields and the best growth behavior.

Do tomatoes grow fast?

It will take between 3 and 4 months to grow tomatoes from seed to harvest.

While there are some plants like radishes that grow faster, there are also plants like pumpkins that need much longer.

How long does it take to grow tomatoes?

If you grow tomatoes from seed, it will usually take between three and four months to harvest.

However, if you grow them from seedlings, it may only take you two months.

Hence, if you want to get fast results, you should grow tomatoes from seedlings rather than from seeds.

Do tomatoes grow back every year?

No, tomatoes are grown as annuals and will not grow back.

After a single harvest, you can dispose of them and can plant new ones the next year.

How long do tomato plants live?

Tomato plants usually live for around one year.

They usually decay when winter starts to rise and temperatures fall below the freezing mark.

Location & Climate

Will tomatoes grow in shade?

While tomatoes will also grow in shade, they usually grow best in a sunny environment with a little bit of shade.

However, when your tomato plants are still young, you want to provide a little bit more shade so that they don’t get sunburned.

After your tomatoes got bigger, you don’t have to worry about providing them shade anymore and you can just let them grow in full sun.

Will tomatoes grow in partial shade?

Tomatoes will also grow in partial shade.

As mentioned before, you can grow tomatoes in mostly shady environments.

However, you should not expect the same yield and also your tomato plants will grow much slower.

Do tomatoes grow best in full sun?

Yes, tomato plants grow best in full sun.

However, as mentioned before, make sure that you protect small tomato seedlings from the sun so that they don’t get sunburned or dry out.

Will tomatoes tolerate frost?

Tomato plants are quite sensitive to frost.

This means that you should never expose your tomatoes to frost.

If you want to start your growing project early in the year, make sure that you grow seedlings indoors or use a greenhouse to protect your tomato plants from the cold outdoors.

Do you have to protect tomatoes from the sun?

While tomato plants are still young, it makes sense to protect them against the sun since they are still rather sensitive to outside conditions, heat and radiation.

However, once they get bigger, they will be less vulnerable and you will no longer have to protect your tomatoes against sun anymore.

If you grow tomatoes in pots, you can just move your pots to a shady environment to protect them from too much sun and you are good to go.

How much space do you need to grow tomatoes?

If you want to grow tomatoes in pots, I recommend only planting one tomato per pot.

If you want to grow tomatoes in your garden, you should provide each plant with around one square foot of space so that your plants get enough nutrients and sunlight to grow well.

You should also keep in mind that tomatoes can grow quite big and may reach a height of more than 6 feet.

Can you grow tomatoes without a garden or balcony?

Sure, you can also grow tomatoes without a balcony or a garden.

You can just grow them indoors.

However, please note that this is not the preferred solution since tomatoes grow better outdoors.

Yet, if you don’t have a choice and still want to grow tomatoes at home, you can do so by growing them indoors in pots.

Can you grow tomatoes in small flats?

If you live in a really small flat, I would not recommend growing tomatoes in there since they will just take away too much of your precious space and you should rather wait until you move to a flat with a balcony or a house with a garden.

Can you grow tomatoes in an aquarium?

I would not recommend growing tomatoes in an aquarium since tomatoes don’t like constant moisture and they also don’t grow well underwater.

Most of the time, your tomato plant will therefore not even make it until harvesting time and also your aquarium might get polluted.

Can you grow tomatoes in a terrarium?

While I don’t advise you to grow tomatoes in aquariums, you could do so in terrariums since terrariums are rather dry places and you can avoid excessive water around your tomato plants.

However, I would still not recommend you to do so since animals inside those terrariums may escape and it would just be much easier to grow tomatoes in pots instead of in terrariums.

Can you grow tomatoes in a bucket?

Similar to pots, you can also grow tomatoes in buckets.

If you want to do so, make sure that you drill some small holes into the bottom of your buckets so that excess water can run out and the roots of your tomatoes will not rot.

Can you grow tomatoes in rainy climatic zones?

Yes, you can also grow tomatoes in rainy climatic zones.

However, don’t expect the same yields as if you grew them in sunny regions of our planet.

On average, the growth will be much slower and also the yields will be lower in rainy environments.

Can you grow tomatoes in tropical climatic zones?

While you could also try to grow tomatoes in tropical climatic zones, I would not recommend you to so since most tomato varieties will not grow that well in those regions.

Tomatoes usually prefer hot and dry climatic zones and don’t like excessive moisture in the air.

Can you grow tomatoes in regions with permafrost?

If you want to grow tomatoes in regions with permafrost, you have to grow them indoors.

Otherwise, your tomato plants will decay pretty soon since tomatoes don’t like frost at all.

Will tomatoes grow indoors?

You can also grow tomatoes indoors.

However, as mentioned earlier in this article, you should rather grow them outdoors if you have the opportunity to do so since your tomatoes will just grow much better in a more natural environment in your garden or on your balcony.

Also your air quality indoors will likely be better for you without too many plants in your flat.

Will tomatoes grow in winter?

If you want to grow tomatoes in winter, you either have to live in warm climatic zones where you don’t have frost in winter or you have to grow tomatoes inside your four walls to protect them against the cold.

Even if you do so, don’t expect as high yields as in summer since your tomato plants will just not get the same exposure to the sun.

Will tomatoes grow in fall?

While you could start your tomato growing project in fall, I still recommend you wait until the next spring since you will be able to grow tomatoes in a much better manner and they will likely also provide you with higher yields.

If you start your growing project in fall, you also have to grow tomatoes indoors most of the time since they will not tolerate frost.

Do tomatoes grow on vines?

Yes, there are also tomato species that grow on vines.

You can find some of those varieties online or in your local garden center.

Do tomatoes grow underground?

No, tomatoes will not grow underground. They grow on the branches of tomato plants above the ground and those tomato plants will usually get as big as 6 feet in height and you should make sure that you have enough space for growing tomatoes, especially if you grow them indoors.

Do tomatoes grow in the wild?

Yes, there are also some tomato species that grow in the wild.

However, those species are often less resistant and also don’t provide as high yields as our cultivated varieties.

Hence, to maximize yields and to make your tomato growing project a real success, you should just rely on seeds from the store or grow tomatoes from other tomatoes.

What is the best orientation for growing tomatoes?

Tomatoes grow best in sunny environments.

This means that you should plant them in south or west orientation so that they get the most sun.

Can tomatoes grow with indirect sunlight?

Yes, you can also grow tomatoes with indirect sunlight.

While this might be beneficial for small plants, you should try to provide full sun once your plants get older since they will grow much better.

Can tomatoes grow outside?

If you live in warm climatic zones without frost in winter, you can grow tomatoes outdoors throughout the year.

However, if you live in colder climatic zones, make sure that you protect them against frost and grow seedlings indoors before transplanting them outdoors later in the year when it will be warmer.

When to grow tomatoes from seed?

You should start to grow tomatoes from seed in early spring indoors and wait with transplanting until your seedlings have reached a certain size and also until there will be no frost outside anymore.

Where do tomatoes grow best?

Tomato plants usually grow best in sunny environments in your garden when you provide them as much space as possible.

However, it is still possible to grow tomatoes in pots in a decent manner as well if you don’t have a garden but rather want to grow tomatoes on the balcony.

Where to grow tomatoes in pots?

If you want to grow tomatoes in pots, you should grow them on your balcony or put your pots on your porch.

If you don’t have a balcony or a porch, you can also try to grow tomatoes indoors.

Where to grow tomatoes indoors?

If you want to grow tomatoes indoors, make sure to choose a sunny spot where your tomatoes get as much indirect sunlight as possible.

Only then will you be able to grow your tomatoes in a decent manner and can also expect good yields.

Can you grow tomatoes in water?

While it is possible to grow tomatoes in water in theory, I would still not recommend it since they will often not get enough nutrients and this is rather for experts than for beginners.

Hence, if you are not experienced in gardening yet, you should just grow your tomatoes in conventional soil.

Can you grow tomatoes with led lights?

If you want to grow tomatoes indoors and your flat is pretty dark, you can also use led lights to provide more light to your plants.

However, if you turn on those lights 24/7, you will waste plenty of power and this will also translate into a higher electricity bill.

Hence, instead of using led lights, I recommend you just plant tomatoes in a sunny spot in your garden or on your balcony so that you don’t need support from the use of those lights.

Can you grow tomatoes in dark rooms?

While you might be able to grow tomatoes in dark rooms, I don’t recommend it since they will just grow much slower and also your yields will be lower compared to just growing them in a nice sunny spot.

Can you grow tomatoes in bags?

You can also grow tomatoes in bags.

However, if you do so, make sure to drill small holes in the bottom of the bag so that excess water can run off, similar to growing tomatoes in buckets.

Can you grow tomatoes in hanging baskets?

You can also grow tomatoes in hanging baskets.

However, in such a case, make sure that you choose a tomato variety that will produce rather small fruits so that your plant will not be excessively stressed from the weight it has to carry.

Soil Requirements

Can you reuse soil for growing tomatoes the next year?

Yes, you can reuse the soil you have used this year for growing tomatoes next year.

However, make sure to add some fertilizer to the soil to make it rich in nutrients so that your tomatoes can grow well next year.

Do tomatoes grow well in waterlogged soil?

No, tomatoes don’t like waterlogged soil at all.

Hence, make sure that excess water can run off properly and that you also don’t excessively water your plants so that the roots of your tomatoes don’t rot.

Do tomatoes grow in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil?

Tomatoes grow best in slightly acidic soil with an optimal soil pH between 6.3. and 6.8.

However, you can also grow tomatoes in rather neutral soil as long as it is fertile and you loosen it properly.

Will tomatoes grow in sandy soil?

While you can grow tomatoes in sandy soil, I would recommend you use conventional potting soil from your local garden center since tomatoes just grow better in regular soil instead of sandy environments.

Will tomatoes grow in clay soil?

Similar to sandy soil, tomatoes usually also don’t grow that well in clay soil since the soil will often not be loose enough.

In turn, water may not be able to run off properly and waterlogging may become a serious issue.

Hence, you should rather grow tomatoes in potting soil instead of in clay soil.

Will tomatoes grow in ericaceous compost?

Yes, you can also grow tomatoes in various different sorts of compost.

Depending on the compost mix, you may have to add additional fertilizer so that your plants get enough nutrients and can produce decent yields.

Plant Care

Do tomato plants need a lot of water?

While you should water your tomato plants on a regular basis, too much water will often do more harm than good.

Hence, make sure that you have a certain watering schedule to provide your tomatoes with the optimal amounts of water.

You should also adjust your watering behavior to outdoor conditions.

If it rains outdoors, you will not have to water your plants at all.

However, in hot and dry periods of the year, you may have to water them on a daily basis.

Do you have to water tomatoes on a regular basis?

As mentioned before, you should have a regular watering routine for your tomato plants to prevent them from drying up.

What to tie tomato plants with?

You can just use some cord and tie your tomato plants to sticks so that they are protected against harsh outdoor conditions.

When to stake tomato plants?

You should wait until your tomatoes reach a height of around one foot.

Now it is time to stake your tomato plants to make them less resistant to wind and other issues.

What to do when tomato plants turn yellow?

If tomato plants turn yellow, they either don’t get enough nutrients or you don’t provide them with the right amount of water.

Thus, you should try to fertilize your plants and also make sure that you water your plants on a regular basis.

How to protect tomatoes against wind?

You can just stake your tomato plants and tie them with cord to sticks to protect your tomato plants against wind.

How to protect tomatoes against heavy rain?

If your plants are already big, you will not have to protect them against rain.

However, if they are still small, you can use a greenhouse to protect them properly or you can also use an umbrella instead.

How to protect tomatoes against hail?

If you grow tomatoes in pots, you can just move them indoors to protect them against hail.

If you grow them in your garden, you will often not be able to protect your tomato plants against hail and you just have to hope for the best.

Should you pinch out tomato plants?

While some experts recommend pinching out your tomato plants, I am not a big fan of it and I have got pretty decent results without ever pinching them.

Hence, you should make your own experiences in this regard and go for the path that gives you a better feeling. Either way, you can achieve pretty decent yields.

Where to pinch tomato plants?

If you decide to pinch your tomato plants, you should do that right at your growing location and dispose of the pinched material in your compost so that you can make your growing project as efficiently as possible since this compost can be reused as natural fertilizer later in the year.

Can you grow tomatoes without fertilizer?

If you grow tomatoes outdoors in your garden and provide them with plenty of space, you may not have to use any fertilizer at all.

However, if you grow tomatoes in rather small pots, you will often have to fertilize them to provide your plants with sufficient nutrients.

Should you cover your tomatoes to protect them against frost?

I am personally not a big fan of covering tomato plants since it will confuse your plants since light conditions will be altered.

Instead, I recommend you to leave your tomato plants indoors until you don’t expect frost anymore and only then you should transplant them outdoors.

By doing so, there will be no need to cover your plants at all.

Pests & Diseases

What are the most common tomato pests?

Tomatoes often suffer from a contamination with aphids, cutworms, loopers, caterpillars and many more.

Can you grow tomatoes without using pesticides?

Yes, there will be no need to use chemical pesticides to grow tomatoes in a decent manner.

Quite often, it will be enough to provide tomatoes with optimal growing conditions and your plants will get strong enough to deter pests in a completely natural manner.

Should you use natural or chemical pesticides?

If you still want to use pesticides, you should rather use natural instead of chemical ones to protect our environment and to make your growing project as organic and healthy as possible.

How to protect tomatoes against pests?

If you want to learn more about pest control, make sure to have a look at how to get rid of tomato pests and diseases and also at my pest prevention articles.

Growing Difficulty

Are tomatoes good plants to grow for children?

Yes, tomatoes are great to grow with your children since it is not that difficult to grow them in a decent manner and your kids will also learn a lot about growing plants in general.

Are tomatoes good plants for a school project?

Growing tomatoes can also be a great school project since you can teach your kids about natural processes and they will likely also become more responsible.

Moreover, those school kids may also care more about our environment as well if they see how our food is produced and how important it is to keep those food chains intact.

Is growing tomatoes difficult?

No, growing tomatoes is not difficult at all.

In fact, it is easier to grow tomatoes than it is to grow most other vegetables and tomatoes are therefore a nice beginner’s project in case you are relatively new to gardening in general.

Harvest

Can you dry tomato seeds?

Yes, you can dry tomato seeds after the harvest and reuse those seeds for growing projects in the future.

What color does a ripe tomato have?

While most tomatoes will turn red when they are ripe, there are also green, yellow and even purple tomato varieties out there.

Hence, depending on the tomato variety you grow, you should wait until your tomatoes have reached the respective color.

Can tomatoes get overripe?

Yes, tomatoes can also get overripe. In such a case, they will lose vitamins and will also no longer taste well.

Thus, make sure that you harvest your tomatoes in time to avoid those issues and to get the best out of your growing project.

What parts of a tomato can you eat?

Contrary to popular belief, you can not only eat tomatoes, but also the leaves of your tomato plants.

In fact, you can make a nice salad out of your tomato leaves and don’t have to dispose of them in the garbage.

Toxicity

Are tomato leaves edible?

As mentioned before, tomato leaves are not toxic.

Hence, you can eat them without problems and can make many nice dishes out of them.

However, it may still not be your taste and you should therefore just try it out.

If you don’t like the taste, you can just get rid of the plant material and only eat your tomato fruits.

Are tomato plants toxic for pets?

Yes, there are indeed some animals that should never get in touch with tomato plants.

For example, cats should never eat tomato plant material since they can be intoxicated.

Hence, if you have pets, make sure to install fences around those plants to protect your pets from unpleasant consequences.

Additional Questions

Is growing tomatoes expensive?

No, growing tomatoes is not expensive at all. You just need to buy a few seeds and some potting soil and you will be good to go.

If you want to save some money, you can also use your own seeds and also use soil from your garden instead of buying them.

Is growing tomatoes fun?

Yes, I personally really love growing tomatoes and other plants since I find it fascinating to see them grow big from just a small seed.

It also gives me the opportunity to relax a little bit and to unplug from our technologized world.

Do tomatoes grow on trees?

No, tomatoes grow on plants and will never grow on trees, at least not our domesticated tomato species.

Do tomatoes grow from flowers?

Yes, tomatoes grow from flowers.

In fact, without tomato flowers, you would not be able to harvest any tomatoes later on in the year.

How many tomato plants should you grow per pot?

I recommend you only grow one tomato plant per pot so that your tomatoes can get sufficient nutrients and sunlight and will not disturb the growth behavior of each other.

Which animals eat tomato plants?

There is a variety of different animals that try to feed on your plants.

Most common animals that feed on tomato plants are slugs, wasps and other insects.

However, also bigger animals as martens or wild rabbits may feed on your tomatoes.

Hence, make sure to install a slug fence to protect your plants properly.

Will your pets eat your tomato plants?

There had been cases where pets tried to feed on tomato plants and had been intoxicated due to that.

Thus, if you have pets, make sure to keep them away from your plants to avoid any issues in this regard.

Why tomatoes grow small?

If your tomatoes grow small, it usually has to do with the growing conditions you provide for your plants.

Hence, make sure that you provide more nutrients and that you also give your tomatoes a nice sunny spot to grow next time to improve growth behavior and to maximize yields.

What to grow with tomatoes?

If you want to learn more about plants you can grow with tomatoes, make sure to have a look at the best tomato companion plants.

Can you grow tomatoes from a tomato?

Yes, you can grow tomatoes from a tomato. Just put a tomato into the soil and water it for a few weeks.

Chances are that you will see the first tomato seedlings reaching the soil surface after a rather short period of time.

Can you grow tomatoes from slices?

You can also just use a tomato slice instead of a whole tomato and put it into the soil.

You will also be able to grow seedlings from that.

However, make sure that there are seeds in the slice you use.

Otherwise, you will not be able to grow any tomato seedlings.

Can you grow tomatoes without seeds?

While you will not need to rely on seeds from the store, you will still need some seed source to grow tomatoes.

Otherwise, you will just not be able to grow your plants.

Alternatively, you could also use cuttings.

However, growing tomatoes from seed is still easier and I recommend you rely on this method, especially if you are still a beginner when it comes to gardening.

Do you have to pollinate tomatoes?

You usually don’t have to pollinate tomatoes by hand. If you grow them outdoors, insects will do all the work for you.

However, if you grow them indoors, it can make sense to pollinate tomatoes by hand to increase yields since there will be no insects indoors that could do the job for you.

How to grow big tomatoes?

If you want to grow really big tomatoes and get big harvests in general, you should make sure that you provide enough nutrients and that you also provide enough space to your tomato plants so that they get sufficient sun.

Can you grow tomatoes commercially?

While you could try to grow tomatoes commercially, it would be pretty hard for you to compete with big gardening companies and you would also have to build a strong distribution network.

Most often, this would not pay off and I rather recommend that you treat growing tomatoes as a hobby rather than as a business.

Can you grow tomatoes from fresh seeds?

Yes, it is definitely possible to grow tomatoes from fresh seeds.

You can just cut a tomato in half, extract some seeds and put them in the soil.

After watering them and waiting for around a week, you should see the first results.

Can you grow tomatoes from dried seeds?

You can also grow tomatoes from dried seeds.

However, in my opinion, fresh seeds do a better job in this regard and if you have fresh tomatoes at home, you may want to use the seeds of those fresh tomatoes rather than relying on dried seeds.

Can you grow tomatoes from rotten tomatoes?

In theory, you could also grow tomatoes from rotten tomatoes.

However, if there is already mold on them, you should rather dispose of those tomatoes as soon as possible to avoid any health issues.

Can you grow tomatoes from cuttings?

Yes, you can also grow tomatoes from cuttings.

However, this is a rather advanced technique and I personally prefer to grow tomatoes from seed instead since it is just easier and doesn’t require that much knowledge.

Should you use a tomato kit to grow tomatoes?

You can also use a tomato kit to grow tomatoes.

Yet, in my opinion, it is a waste of money and you can also grow tomatoes without one of those kits in a proper manner.

Should you talk to your tomato plants?

Some people also claim that their plants grow better if they talk to them.

While I personally don’t believe in this myth, you can try out for yourself whether you see any positive effects or not.

Should you plant tomatoes at half moon or full moon?

Similar to talking to tomatoes, I also don’t believe that it makes any difference whether you grow tomatoes at half moon or full moon.

Hence, I recommend you plant them according to your schedule instead of caring about moon phases.

I hope you enjoyed this article! If you want to learn more about growing tomatoes at home in general, make sure to also check out my tomato grower’s guide where I show you how to grow tomatoes from seed to harvest step-by-step.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato

Own experience in growing tomatoes

About the Author

My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.

In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.

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