Seed Saving Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes – Backup I wouldn’t be Without!

Most of the articles that I see online about cherry tomatoes mainly say they’re good for a gardener without much space — or perfect for container gardening.  That always puzzles me because in my garden they take up just about as much ground as regular tomatoes.  Their foliage might not be quite as full, but I don’t see that as a problem – even in containers.

I grow Cherry Tomatoes for backup at the times the larger tomatoes are not giving fruit. Not to mention that they can yield hundreds of tomatoes over the season that are tasty and sometimes even more delicious than the big ones.

Large Cherry Tomato – Backup

Often they’ll be the first to give me fruit — which is always welcomed after 6 months or more without tomatoes.

During the peak tomato season — I keep the cherry tomatoes harvested so the vines will continue to produce — but a lot a times I’ll end throwing them on the compost heap or turn them under in an empty bead.  That doesn’t happen a lot — but I never feel bad about it when it does because they just make more organic matter by returning to the soil.

If you’ve gardened a few years you’ve noticed that after regular tomatoes reach the peak with their first crop — you won’t get ripe tomatoes for while.  That’s the case in my garden right now. They’re making the next crop and are still heavy with fruit.  Now is one of the times that my cherry tomatoes will shine.

This morning I picked a bunch of my favorites. They volunteered from a tomato last year and I love them. They’re a little larger than a walnut (with its shell), and  are delicious and beautiful.  By the time they ripen I’ll be almost out of the bigger  tomatoes  that are in the house and will enjoy these large cherry tomatoes quartered in a salad.

My favorite cherry tomatoes  before they are fully ripened. Harvested this morning.

I have another cherry tomato at the other end of the garden that volunteered.  The tomatoes are grape size and the skin is tough. I’m thinking about pulling it out because I don’t want to take a chance of having it reseed and keeping that characteristic.  Only thing is — it’s giving tomatoes so I’ll have to do on a day I feel brave.  And I can’t let Bill know because he would die if he knew I pulled up a tomato that was giving fruit!

Last year I had one come up in the garden that had such a tiny fruit– but the best taste in a cherry tomato that I’ve ever experienced. I never figured out where  it came from, but it was wonderful.  Foolishly, I didn’t save the seed — thinking it would volunteer the next year.  It didn’t.  Gone forever I guess.

Before a hard frost is expected I’ll harvest what remains of the regular tomatoes.  The night before the frost I’ll throw a tarp or a heavier row cover fabric over the best producing and/or my favorite cherry tomato plant.  More often than not I’ll get another month or so of production out of them. They are the bright star of the garden by then. Finally, I’ll harvest all of them.

I’ve used fresh cherry tomatoes as Hors d’oeuveres for company in the middle of January.  When they find out they’re out of my garden they’re always delighted.  It’s fun.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t already have cherry tomatoes as part of your garden repertoire, why not start some this next growing season. It might take a while to find a favorite, but there are so many good ones you really can’t go wrong.  I think the first one I ever grew was either Sweet Million or Sweet 100.  I’ve never bought seed for cherry tomatoes since then — and believe me — that was a long time ago.


Related Posts for more Reading:

Principle of Diversity – Assuring Your Success

Plan to Succeed – Plan for Backup


Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Theresa,
    I grow cherry tomatoes for a different reason. They are what got me into gardening in the first place. I grew them for my girls – so much fun to watch them come from school and pick them from the garden in their little hands and eat them.

    Last night after I tucked them to bed, I made the most amazing roasted tomato sauce recipe – your recipe! Couldn’t wait for it to cool down and helped myself to several spoonfuls .
    Thanks for a simple delicious recipe.

  • Hello Aparna! I see you’re a nightowl like me. 🙂
    Your reason for growing them is a delightful one. Kids really do love cherry tomatoes and how wonderful that they chose the tomatoes to snack on!
    Glad you tried the roasted tomato sauce. That’s the only way I make sauce now. Couldn’t go back to the other way once I tasted how great the roasted stuff is!
    Thanks for commenting. By the way — how old are your girls?

  • The tiny tomatoes sound just like currant tomatoes. They are a snack in the garden tomato,tiny fruit, big taste.

    My favorite cherry is sungold. I’ve harvested 204, so far, from four plants, a bit ahead of yellow jelly bean and red jellybean grape. They are also first to ripen and will keep churning them out until frost. Needless to say, their sweet tropical taste is the best.

  • Patricia — I don’t know the name of my favorite because I’m not sure where it came from. It may have been a volunteer from the hybrid Dafel, but I don’t know for sure. As I said in my post, it has been years since I purchased seed for a cherry tomato. Wish I could give a more helpful answer.

  • Thanks for the input GardenDmpls. I’ve always hesitated to try sungold — but maybe I should rethink that.

  • Theresa,
    my girls are 10 and 5 yrs.
    Yes, I am getting to be a night owl. I enjoy reading your posts just before I go to bed. After the kids are asleep, I get some ‘me’ time and so I can read your posts without being called for.

    Once again, thank you for the wonderful posts.

  • Thanks for the reply Aparna. I think I have a lot of readers who are Moms that read TMG after the kids are bedded down.
    It’s always nice to have a little “me” time. Keeps us so we can be of more value to our families at other times.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • I grow Sungold every year. This year the seed turned out bitter and thick skinned tomatoes! We were so surprised because that’s not how Sungolds normally are. Other tomatoes were as expected.

    Has anyone else ever had the experience of purchasing a known seed variety that turns out to be less wonderful than you know it should?

    Theresa, Sungolds are supposed to be thin skinned little balls of sweet sunshine! Kids love them.

  • Yes, Sandra, I have had that happen. This year with Dafel tomatoes. They are one of my favorite hybrids and this year they have not been anything like they usually are. Every year they are always been like a medium sized tomatoes that is absolutely beautiful to behold on the vine. Not this year. They’ve been very small and not even on the vine like what I usually see. I’m thinking that the grower did not have the two parents far enough apart from other tomatoes and they crossed with one he/she didn’t intend.

    It probably happens more than we know.
    Good input Sandra. I had been wondering too if anyone else had this problem.

  • Hi Gang;

    Cherry tomatoes have been my primary tomato crop for about 5 yrs., ever since I read that they had more lycopene. It may be because the smaller sphere has more surface area and I think most of the lycopene is in the skin but don’t quote me on that. I usually steam or “smoothie” my tomatoes to help break down the tough plant cell wall to make the nutients more easily absorbed.

  • I’ve occasionally had plants not grow true to seed. I switched vendors for Peter peppers because the peppers did not have the best shape. The growers were probably not taking seed from only the best, doing what they call rouging out, removing plants that aren’t true to type. Last year I decided to save the seed from the best and will see the results this year. I haven’t tried saving sungold because it is a hybrid and I don’t want to lose what makes it unique.

  • I have 2 pots of cherry tomatos on my deck every year. I usually grow Suncherry. This year I have those and Juliet.I think the Juliet are a little tough skinned. Next year I’ll have to try Sungold.

  • The Juliets are a little tough, but I grow them because they are great producers and make these nice little circles in the salad.

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