How to Grow Tomatoes

Nothing beats homegrown tomatoes. Sow seed indoors in early spring and pot up as plants grow, or buy young plants in late spring.

Sungold Tomatoes Bred for Sweet Fruits

Sungold Tomatoes Bred for Sweet Fruits

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - Fruits and Vegetables

Step 1: Plant Tomatoes After Threat of Frost

Plant Tomatoes After Threat of Frost

Plant Tomatoes After Threat of Frost

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Once nights are frost free and plants are hardened off, fill a pot, at least 10in (25cm) wide, with compost to 2in (5cm) below the rim. Plant the tomato deeply, as the section of buried stem will send out extra roots.

Step 2: Stake Tall Tomatoes

Stake Tall Tomatoes as They Grow and Set on Fruit

Stake Tall Tomatoes as They Grow and Set on Fruit

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tall cordon cultivars need training up a support. Push a couple of tall bamboo canes or other sturdy stakes into the compost to keep the plant stable. Bush and trailing types do not need the help of supports.

Step 3: Stake and Pinch Sideshoots

Stake Growing Tomato Plants and Pinch Sideshoots

Stake Growing Tomato Plants and Pinch Sideshoots

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

As the plant grows, tie the main stem loosely to the stakes using garden twine. Pinch out fast-growing sideshoots growing between the leaves and main stem on cordon cultivars. Leave sideshoots to develop on bush types.

Step 4: Water and Fertilize

Fertilize Tomatoes When First Fruits Appear

Fertilize Tomatoes When First Fruits Appear

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water regularly. When the first fruits appear, feed weekly with a tomato fertilizer, and add extra compost if the roots become exposed. Pinch out the growing tip as the plant reaches the top of its stake. Ripe fruits twist off easily.

Grow Tomatoes in Small Spaces 04:58

Here are two unique and efficient ways to grow tomatoes in small areas.

Next Up

How to Grow Epic Tomatoes

Author Craig LeHoullier shares 30 years' of gardening experience on growing over 200 delicious varieties.

How to Sow and Plant Fruiting Vegetables

Large leaves, golden flowers and heavy yields make squashes, zucchini and cucumbers ideal plants for productive pots.

A Guide to Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a centerpiece to any garden, producing a colorfully delicious ingredient for homemade sauces and summer salads.

How to Sow and Plant Mediterranean-Style Vegetables

The jewel-like fruits of these decorative plants make beautiful displays in pots in a greenhouse, on a windowsill or in a sunny spot outside.

Bag Up Some Tomatoes

Tomatoes grow very successfully in grow bags in a greenhouse or outdoors. Crops can be improved by inserting bottomless pots full of soil into the grow bag to increase the volume for better root growth.

Planting Tomatoes

Tomatoes need at least six to eight hours of sun a day to produce well — and full sun is best, especially in cooler, more northern climates. 

How to Grow Tomatoes in a Raised Bed

Are your tomato plants not getting enough drainage? Follow these steps on growing tomatoes in a raised bed.

Training Tomatoes

The best way to keep tomatoes trim and healthy is to train them onto supports and prune tall-growing kinds during the growing season. 

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes

Extend the season by ripening year-end crops indoors.

How to Grow Parsnips

For the best winter parsnips, sow as soon as the soil has warmed up in spring. They will grow all summer, forming sweet and starchy winter roots.