It’s only been recently that grape tomatoes have become popular amongst gardeners and cooks. These small, cherry-type tomatoes are set apart by their egg-like shape and their sweet flavor. They are generally smaller than cherry tomatoes – roughly the size of a grape, in fact. They grow well and are prolific in their fruit bearing.
Best Soil for Growing Grape Tomatoes
Like most tomatoes, grape tomatoes need a loose, nutritious, slightly acidic soil (about 6.0-6.5 pH). They need full sun and plenty of water.
Proper Care of Grape Tomatoes
Although the fruit is small, grape tomatoes are still full-sized tomato plants, so be prepared to grow them as such. They are best started indoors about eight to ten weeks before you’ll be ready to give them a permanent spot in your garden. They should be transplanted well after the last frost and when the spring sun is warming the soil to nearly 70F daily. Make sure to harden the young plants before transplanting, of course.
Most grape tomatoes will require staking or caging to do well. Spacing should be 24-36 inches apart (in all directions) and stakes or cages should support the plant and individual stems as needed. Once tomatoes begin to appear, they begin to really crowd in there, so be ready for a large harvest.
Fertilize your grape tomatoes often. Liquid fertilizer or compost tea is best and should be applied with enough water to dilute it down so it doesn’t burn the plants: 1:20 for liquids and 1:10 for tea.
Finally, make sure to water them often. Grape tomatoes, like most varieties, need a lot of water to do well and to grow healthy, tasty tomatoes.
When To Harvest Grape Tomatoes
In about 70 days, you should begin to see grapes turning red. Once they are nearly full red, they will become loose on the vine and can be easily picked. A tiny shoulder around the stem should be green when you pick – any later and the tomatoes will soften and begin to lose flavor.
Harvesting should be done carefully, as grape tomatoes easily bruise.
Grape Tomato Pests and Diseases
Most of the mid-summer diseases and pests that attack tomatoes will be interested in your sweet grapes. Use the usual measures for tomato disease prevention and don’t be afraid to use insecticide soap and other methods liberally. Watering in the morning (rather than evening) and with a deep soak rather than a sprinkling will go a long ways towards preventing most rot and disease. Make sure there is plenty of calcium in the soil as well, to prevent blossom end rot.
Tips for Growing Grape Tomatoes
First and foremost, your grape tomatoes should not be planted until the weather is warm. Tomatoes love heat and the cooler it is overnight, the slower they’ll mature.