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Tomatoes are a delightful addition to any garden, offering a burst of flavor and versatility in your kitchen.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting, cultivating your own tomatoes is a rewarding and flavorful experience.

Read on below and learn all about growing tomatoes in 2023 – I take you through each step of the journey, from selecting the perfect tomato varieties to harvesting your bountiful crop.

Get ready to savor the taste of summer with homegrown tomatoes!

Or, head over to our Plant Guides page and learn all about growing another species instead.

Getting Started With Tomatoes

Two giant red ripe tomatoes ready for picking from the garden.

Growing tomatoes is often one of the first gardening activates that new and would-be gardeners undertake. They are easy to get started with, don’t require excessive amounts of care, and produce a lot of fruits over a several week period.

To start out with tomato growing, consider the following:

Tomatoes flourish in warm climates with abundant sunlight, making it essential to choose the right location in your garden.

Aim for an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Ensure the soil is well-draining, rich in organic matter, and maintains a pH level of 6.0 to 6.8.

If your soil is sandy or heavy clay, amend it with compost to improve its texture and nutrient content.

The next steps are choosing the right species and deciding whether you’ll start with seeds, starter plants, or clones.

The Selection Process

Green tomatoes on the vine, in a garden. Text: Did you know there are over 7,500 varieites of tomato encompassing a diverse range of colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors?

With an extensive range of tomato varieties available, both in seeds and in starter plants, selecting the right species for your garden is a thrilling endeavor.

While choosing the best type of tomato plants for you, consider factors such as:

  • Your preferred size of ripe tomato
  • The type of flavor of tomato you want
  • Germination rates of seeds
  • Your intended use for the tomatoes you grow
  • Availability of seeds and start plants in your area
  • Which species do best in your local climate
  • Whether or not they have market value
  • If your garden receives adequate sunlight for the species
  • Whether or not they require stakes or cages

The selection process shouldn’t be rushed through, or you’ll regret it when harvest time comes around and your ripe tomatoes aren’t to your liking (or don’t work for the recipes/purposes you had in mind when you planted them).

Take your time and choose the very best variety of seeds or starter plants for all your intents and purposes regarding tomatoes.

Indeterminate varieties, such as “Big Beef” and “Cherokee Purple,” yield fruit throughout the growing season, while determinate types, like “Roma” and “Celebrity,” offer a more concentrated harvest, making them ideal for canning.

Planting Seeds or Starter Plants

Green tomatoes in the garden, growing on the vine.

Before you jump the gun and start digging holes or filling pots with soil, there are a few things you need to gather up first.

The supplies necessary for properly planting tomatoes include:

The planting step of growing tomatoes is relatively pain-free. Whether you’re starting from seeds, and now have starter plants, or you began with starter plants to begin with, here are the steps to planting tomatoes:

  1. Start tomato seeds or plant starter plants outdoors after the last frost date in your region
  2. Dig a hole slightly deeper than the root ball and add a balanced slow-release fertilizer to the soil
  3. Carefully place the seedling in the hole, ensuring the stem is not buried too deep
  4. Cover with soil
  5. Water the plant generously to help establish its root system

Pro tip from the Garden Boss: If your space is limited, consider growing tomatoes in raised beds or containers to provide optimal drainage and ease of care. Otherwise, I recommend planting directly into the ground if you want the biggest and healthiest tomato plants possible.

Caring For Tomatoes

Providing consistent care is crucial to ensuring the health and productivity of your tomato plants – you have to pay attention if you want to grow abundant tomatoes, and not merely abundant foliage.

Grow Abundant Tomatoes, Not Foliage via YouTube

Over the years, growing hundreds (maybe thousands) of tomato plants, I’ve established a careful routine for caring for my garden-grown tomatoes::

  • Regularly watering the tomatoes to keep the soil evenly moist, especially during hot and dry periods
  • Applying around 2 inches to 3 inches of mulch around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds
  • Staking and/or caging the tomato plants to promote vertical growth and keep the fruit off the ground (I firmly recommend using trellis or a support cage for most tomato plants)
  • Visually checking the plants for signs of disease and/or common pests like aphids or tomato worms daily and addressing issues as soon as they are spotted

Pro tip from the Garden Boss: To enhance your tomato-growing success, ensure consistent watering to prevent cracking and blossom-end rot. Simply watering plants adequately isn’t enough. You need to ensure the water is directed to the root zone of the tomato plants and avoids soaking leaves and fruits.

Requirements for Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes, like any garden plant, of course, have specific needs that need to be met in tandem with taking proper care of them (as outlined above).

The most significant requirements for tomato plants are:


Tomatoes are sun-loving plants that thrive in full sunlight. That means you must provide them no less than 6 hours of direct sun (though 8 to 10 hours often yields better results).


To achieve the best results, ensure your tomato plants receive at least 1 inch to 2 inch of water per week. Consider using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to provide consistent and deep watering directly to the roots.


Creating a solid foundation for tomato growth involves working with proper soil for the species. Most tomato plants require a well-draining, loamy type soil with a rough pH range between 6.0 to 6.8. Amending the soil with compost before planting enhances nutrient availability as well.

Physical Support

To support their growth and prevent branches from snapping stake tall varieties or provide a trellis for climbing tomatoes.

Pro tip from the Garden Boss: Avoid over-fertilization, as excessive nitrogen often leads to lush foliage but fewer fruits. In other words, use a minimal amount of fertilizer. I suggest soil amendments with manure before planting or slow-release nutrient stakes.

Harvesting Tomatoes

A perfectly ripe red tomato on the vine, in a green vibrant tomato garden.

It can be tempting to harvest early, as tomato plants take approximately 2 to 3 months to produce ripe fruits. But, harvesting tomatoes at the right time ensures you enjoy the peak of their flavor and texture.

To ensure the best fruits when you harvest:

  1. Wait until the fruit has reached its full color and is firm but not too hard
  2. Gently twist or cut the tomatoes from the vine to avoid damaging the plant
  3. If needed, you can allow the fruit to mature further on a windowsill after you pick it

Once gathered, it’s up to you whether you eat them raw, use them as fresh ingredients, can them, dry them, give them away or sale them!

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Tomato Plants

Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden plants to grow, no matter where you are from… but they are not lacking common issues that often need solving, regardless of their supreme popularity.

10 Tricks to Grow Tons of Tomatoes via YouTube

Common Pests and Diseases

Tomatoes are susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as aphids, hornworms, and blight. These issues often destroy the leaves, stalks, root systems, and fruits of tomato plants within a matter of days to weeks if left unchecked.


To combat these issues, implement organic pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects and using natural insecticides. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of disease or infestations, and promptly take action to prevent further damage.

Improper Watering

One of the quickest ways to make a healthy tomato plant suffer or even fail altogether is practicing an improper watering routine. Whether you underwater or overwater your tomatoes, the result is often the same… a limp noodle of a plant with yellow and brown leaves (possibly with black spots) that is destined to die if you don’t quickly step in and correct the situation.


To ensure proper watering, establish a consistent schedule based on weather conditions and the plant’s needs. Water deeply at the base of the plant to encourage strong root growth. Consider using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to provide even moisture directly to the roots.

Lack of Physical Support

Most of the biggest, strongest, and best-producing tomato plants I’ve grown and cared for have had physical support of one sort or another. That’s because tomatoes grow on plants that are basically vertical vines. A lack of physical support for most tomato plants spells disaster.


Tomato plants can become heavy with fruit, leading to sagging or breaking branches. Provide adequate support by using stakes, cages, or trellises to keep the plants upright. As the tomatoes grow, gently tie the main stem to the support structure to prevent bending and damage.

Wrong Soil / Lack of Nutrients

Tomato plants have a preferred soil type and require specific nutrients in certain quantities. Fail to plant them in the correct growing medium and/or allow them to lack the right nutrients, and your tomato harvest (if you have one) will not be a pretty sight.


Tomatoes thrive in well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting to provide essential nutrients. If the soil lacks specific nutrients, consider using a balanced fertilizer suitable for tomato plants.

Exploring Popular Tomato Species to Grow

Two green tomatoes growing on a green vine, water is dripping from them.

Before you pick up the first seed packet of tomato seeds or starter plants from the local farmers market, take the time to delve into the world of tomato species a bit.

Learning about the most popular tomato species ensures that you end up growing the best sort of plant for you and your preferred tastes.

Some of the most popular types of tomato species to grow in home gardens, including classic heirloom varieties that boast unique flavors and captivating colors:


Renowned for its sumptuous flavor and substantial size, Brandywine is a beloved heirloom tomato variety. Its juicy, sweet taste and meaty texture make it perfect for slicing and savoring in fresh salads or sandwiches.

San Marzano

Hailing from Italy, San Marzano tomatoes are the go-to choice for crafting delectable sauces. Their elongated shape, thick flesh, and low seed count make them easy to peel, cook down, and transform into rich, velvety pasta sauces.

Sun Gold

Delightfully sweet and incredibly prolific, Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are a gardener’s treasure. Bursting with a tropical, fruity taste, these vibrant golden-orange gems are a delightful addition to salads, skewers, or a quick on-the-go snack.

Green Zebra

With its eye-catching green and yellow stripes, Green Zebra stands out in both appearance and taste. The tangy-sweet flavor, coupled with a slightly firm texture, adds a refreshing twist to salads and complements various culinary creations.

Purple Cherokee

This heirloom variety boasts a deep purple hue and a unique, smoky flavor. Its large, beefsteak-style fruits are a favorite among tomato enthusiasts for their exceptional taste and striking appearance.


Also known as the Italian plum tomato, Roma is perfect for making rich and flavorful sauces. Its firm, meaty flesh and its low seed count make it a popular choice for cooking and canning purposes.

Brandywine Pink

A close relative of Brandywine, this variety offers the same delicious flavor but in a lovely pink shade. It’s known for its sweet, slightly tart taste and is a favorite among gardeners seeking an old-fashioned, authentic tomato flavor.

Sweet 100

This cherry tomato variety lives up to its name by delivering an explosion of sweetness in every bite. The small, round fruits grow in clusters and are perfect for snacking, salads, or adding a burst of flavor to various dishes.

Black Krim

Originally from Russia, Black Krim tomatoes have a dark, dusky color with deep red and purple tones. This medium-sized beefsteak tomato has a rich, sweet, and slightly salty flavor, making it a gourmet treat for tomato enthusiasts.


Just in case I didn’t answer your question with my article (above), here are some of the most helpful frequently asked questions about growing tomatoes:

How often should I water my tomato plants?

Water your tomatoes deeply and consistently, aiming for 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Adjust the frequency based on weather conditions and the plant’s growth stage.

Why are the leaves of my tomato plant turning yellow?

Yellowing leaves can indicate overwatering, underwatering, or nutrient deficiencies. Ensure proper watering and provide adequate nutrients through fertilization.

Can I save tomato seeds for next year’s planting?

Yes, you can save tomato seeds from open-pollinated or heirloom varieties. Allow the fruit to fully ripen before scooping out the seeds, rinsing them, and drying them thoroughly.

Should I remove the suckers from my tomato plants?

Removing suckers, the small shoots that grow between the main stem and the leaf branches, is a personal preference. Removing them directs the plant’s energy to fruit production, resulting in larger and more robust tomatoes.

How can I protect my tomatoes from pests and diseases organically?

Introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to the garden, encourage biodiversity, and use organic insecticides such as neem oil or insecticidal soap to control pests naturally. Proper garden hygiene and crop rotation can also help prevent disease spread.

A Final Word About Growing and Caring for Tomato Plants

A giant green tomato growing in a lush green garden.

With my Ultimate Guide, you’re well-equipped to cultivate tomato plants and take in a successful tomato harvest from your garden. If you have additional questions about how to grow tomatoes for me, or tips and tricks to share with my audience, feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading!

Suggested Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Growing Sunflowers