Tying tomatoes means attaching them into some type of support which keeps their branches off the ground. Bearing tomatoes resembling cherries in form and size, cherry tomato plants produce large crops of this small fruit. Lighter by volume than their larger cousins used for slicing and sauce-making, cherry tomatoes grow in clusters which can weigh down the plant’s branches as they ripen, making some type of support necessary, particularly when the plant sends out long vines.
Cherry Tomato Growth Habits
All varieties of tomato plants follow one of two growth habits. Indeterminate cherry tomato plants can grow to 8 feet or more and send out long vines that have to be attached to some type of support. Determinate varieties produce plants which are smaller, more compact and take up much less space, making them suitable for container gardening. Keep in mind that the magnitude of the tomatoes isn’t a sign of plant size. Cherry tomatoes develop on both vining and compact plants, depending upon their variety, and ripen at precisely the same rate on each. The fruit on determinate plants ripens all at once, roughly 60 days from germination, while indeterminate plants keep producing, occasionally until the first frost.
The most commonly used tomato plant supports include cages made from wire or wood and bamboo garden stakes to that the plant’s main stem and side branches are tied. Cages offer support on all sides of this plant and are available in various heights to accommodate all kinds of cherry tomato plants. Increasing a compact determinate cherry tomato plant inside a cage controls how broad the plant gets since it grows. Indeterminate plants occasionally harassing even the tallest supports and stakes have to be used together with cages to keep them manageable. As their branches develop, you can either prune them or tie them into the stakes or into the rungs of the cages. Tomato support systems can be as straightforward as a stick inserted into the ground to that the plant is tied as it grows or a frame of wire mesh or gardening twine to that each individual plant is attached.
It is entirely feasible to simply allow tomato plants to develop unsupported. In the event of indeterminate plants with lateral, or side, branches which can become quite large and heavy, this usually means the odds of broken stems and branches and a bad harvest as a result. Allowing such unruly plants to develop unsupported also makes the task of harvesting harder, even as a lot of this fruit will mature on the ground. It also opens the door to disease and pest damage, if the blooms or fruit come into contact with wet soil. Compact cherry tomato plants sprawl less, since their principal stems generally do not grow much past 3 feet, but this can nevertheless signal catastrophe if not dealt with in the form of some type of light support, particularly since the strawberries ripen and weigh the plant down; many clusters of cherry tomatoes on a division can be as heavy as one or 2 full-sized fruits.
Cherry Tomato Varieties
Info on cherry tomato varieties as well as their growth habits is listed on plant seed packages, on the plant tabs contained in flats of tomato seedlings, and in any reputable garden center. Start looking for names such as Sweet Baby Girl, which produces dark red clusters of fruit in about 65 days. The University of California Cooperative Extension also indicates Sun-Sugar FT Hybrid, an orange variety that is crack- and also disease-resistant, and Sweet Gold FT Hybrid glowing yellow fruit ready to choose in only 60 days. All varieties suggested by the Extension are vigorous growers and definitely need tying to some type of support to manage their aggressive development.