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Why Tomatoes Are One of the Easiest Vegetables to Grow

Since 2010, Tomato Dirt has garnered 4.6+ million views, making it the web’s leading online source for growing tomatoes in the home garden. Award-winning writer and Tomato Dirt owner Kathy Widenhouse has helped thousands of home gardeners grow healthier tomatoes. Be one of them when you get Tomato Dirt’s Growing Guide here.

Posted 3.21.24

Did you know that tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow?

Which begs the question of which of these two options you’d prefer.

  1. Mass-produced tomatoes at the grocery store that taste more like cardboard than fruit.
  2. A juicy, ripe tomato plucked right off the vine.

If you’re like me, then it’s #2, hands-down. There's something incredibly satisfying about growing your own food, especially when it tastes better. Grocery-store tomatoes are specifically bred as large fruit that ship well. In the process, those commercially-produced cultivars lose many of these important flavor chemicals than homegrown varieties. 

And all that luscious fresh-picked goodness is available to you.

You don’t have experience with gardening – or if you’ve tried in the past and are still unsure of yourself – don’t feel daunted. Tomatoes are a beginner gardener’s best friend. Here’s why tomatoes are so easy to grow.

Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow with Tomato Dirt #GrowTomatoes #GrowVegetables #BeginnerGarden

Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow for beginners

If you’re a new gardener, you’ll find that tomatoes are easy to grow for their …

  • Resilience. Unlike some finicky vegetables that demand perfect conditions, tomatoes are surprisingly forgiving. With more than 20,000 varieties, you can choose tomatoes that thrive in your climate, whether it’s a hot, sunny garden or a cozy urban balcony. Even when conditions are not perfect and a tomato plant’s growth is stunted – such as with a cold, wet snap in the spring – tomatoes can snap back and produce a bumper crop.
  • Convenience. Tomato seedlings are readily available at garden centers, discount centers, nurseries – even grocery stores. It can be less intimidating and easier for beginning gardeners to start their tomato-growing journey by planting seedlings rather than starting plants from seeds. 
  • Low maintenance. Don’t have much extra time? You can cultivate healthy and productive tomato plants with minimal effort and resources. Once planted, staked, and mulched, tomatoes can flourish with just a bit of attention – 1-2 inches of water a week and regular checks for diseases and pests should do it.
  • High yield. Even with minimal care, tomatoes generously reward you with abundant harvests. The University of Maryland Extension reports a single plant produces an average of 10-15 pounds of fruit in a season. Of course, the numbers of tomatoes per plant depend upon the variety. Cherry tomato plants will yield dozens while larger beefsteak tomatoes, which can weigh 8-16 ounces, may produce 20-30 fruit.
  • Versatile growing options. You can grow tomatoes in traditional soil beds, raised beds, containers, greenhouses, cold frames – even indoors. This flexibility makes tomatoes ideal for gardeners of all kinds – even those with limited space or resources.
  • Disease resistance. Thousands of tomato cultivars have been bred to resist tomato blight, tomato wilt, and blossom end rot – the most common tomato diseases. Disease resistance reduces the need for pesticides (a benefit for organic gardeners) and intensive monitoring (a benefit for beginner gardeners).
  • Short growing cycle. From seed to fruit, tomatoes are ready to harvest in 60-100 days, depending upon the variety. Short season tomatoes like Early Girl, Fourth of July, and Sub Artic Plenty can be harvested in as little as 45-59 days. This means you can enjoy your homegrown tomatoes within just a few weeks after planting. But even if you plant long-season tomatoes, you can get results in just a couple of months, rather than waiting season after season for a plant to mature and produce.

Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in pots

If you’d like to grow tomatoes in containers, you’ll find they offer …

  • Efficiency. Container tomatoes offer flexibility, making them ideal if you have with limited space. You can place pots on balconies, patios, rooftops, porches, or elsewhere outdoors. That offers the joy of homegrown tomatoes if you live in an urban area or if you live in a small space.
  • Good drainage. Choose containers with holes in the bottom. Then, if you over-water the excess will seep out the bottom. Punch holes in bottoms of containers that don’t have them already. Your container should also enough room at the top to allow for adequate watering. Pots provide excellent drainage compared to traditional soil beds, which reduces the risk of waterlogged roots and promotes vigorous growth.
  • A controlled planting medium. When you grow tomatoes in pots, you can choose the potting mix rather than being subject to the soil that’s in your garden plot. A sterile mix prevents diseases. 
  • Portability. Containers are mobile. You can move them to areas of your patio that receive more sunlight … shift them to the shade when weather is overly warm … protect your tomatoes from harsh weather or pests. This mobility also allows you to rearrange your garden layout or bring plants indoors during colder months.
  • Less weeding. Pots have less exposed surface area than an in-ground garden. That reduces numbers of weeds, which saves you time and effort in maintenance. When you grow tomatoes in pots, you can focus on nurturing your tomatoes without worrying about invasive plants competing for nutrients.
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Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in raised beds

If you’d like to grow tomatoes in raised beds, you’ll find this crop is easier than others because raised beds mean …

  • Better soil. Your raised bed offers the deep planting you get with an in-ground garden which promotes strong root development and healthy tomato plants. – so important for tomatoes and their extensive root systems. Once you work the soil beneath the elevated sides of the bed, you can add your own topsoil mix. Most raised bed soil recipes include screened topsoil, compost, and peat moss, coconut fiber, or coarse sand. You control over the soil composition when you fill the beds. That ensures optimal pH levels and nutrients. Plus, your sterile raised bed soil mix prevents excess weeds. 
  • Better drainage. Tomatoes suffer when waterlogged, which leads to root rot. But raised beds are set higher off the ground. Water drains out more easily, which is particularly beneficial during heavy rainfalls or in areas with clayey soil.
  • Warmer soil. Raised beds are elevated off the ground, which allows the soil to warm up faster in spring. That creates a favorable environment for early tomato planting, extends the growing season, and boosts your plants’ productivity.
  • Reduced pests. Slugs and snails find tomatoes in raised beds to be out of reach, thanks to their elevated height and defined borders. You can also implement organic pest control methods more effectively in raised bed gardens.
  • Accessibility. Raised beds minimize bending and stooping. They make it easier for gardeners of all ages to tend to their tomato plants. 

Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow indoors

If you want to bring the joy of gardening inside, you’ll find that growing tomatoes indoors means …

  • You can save space. Unlike sprawling vegetables that require ample room outside, tomatoes can thrive in compact indoor environments. You can use windowsills, countertops, or dedicated indoor garden setups to grow tomatoes without the need for a backyard garden.
  • You can provide a consistent environment. Growing tomatoes indoors means you control environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and light intensity. Tomatoes love consistency. With just a token effort, you can create an ideal setting for tomatoes to grow steadily and produce a healthy harvest. 
  • You can protect plants. Pests. Extreme weather. Fluctuations in soil moisture. When you grow tomatoes indoors, you needn’t worry about these factors. Indoor tomatoes make it easy to reduce the risk of diseases, pests, and stress. That leads to higher success rates.
  • You have an extended season. When you grow tomatoes indoors, you can have a longer season – one that extends far beyond the traditional outdoor timelines. Sure, you may need to supply supplemental lighting when daylight gets shorter. But you can enjoy fresh tomatoes throughout the year, regardless of outdoor weather conditions. 
  • You have adaptability. Tomatoes grow well to containers, making them perfect for indoor gardening setups. Top tip: choose compact or dwarf tomato varieties suited for container growing. 
  • You can control pollination. Tomato blossoms rely on insects and spring breezes to become pollinated. But early heat or cold nights can mean blossom drop or slow fruiting. Indoors, In you have greater control over pollination. You can manually pollinate tomato flowers simply set up an indoor fan … brush plants lightly with your hand while they are blossoming … use a gentle shaking motion or a small brush during pollination.
  • You have less maintenance. Indoor tomatoes are not subject to variables like weather and pests. If you consistently water plants, re-pot them as they outgrow their containers, and stake them if necessary, you reduce the work required in raising tomatoes. Fresh produce is manageable!

Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow year round

If you love fresh tomatoes, you can grow them for 12 months of the year, no matter where you live or what your climate is like. Simply stagger plantings and grow a continuous supply year-round.

Outdoor planting

  • Early spring. Start by planting early-maturing tomatoes outdoors in early spring after the last frost date for your region. These varieties typically produce ripe fruits in 60-70 days.
  • Mid-Spring. Follow up with mid-season tomato varieties a few weeks after the early planting. These varieties take around 70-80 days to mature and produce fruits.
  • Late spring/early summer. For a prolonged harvest, plant late-maturing tomato varieties in late spring or early summer. These varieties can take 80-90 days or more to reach maturity but extend the harvest season into late summer and early fall.

Indoor planting

  • Early indoor planting. Start tomato seeds indoors several weeks before the last frost date in your area. This allows you to transplant healthy seedlings outdoors once the weather is favorable.
  • Successive indoor plantings. Continue sowing tomato seeds indoors every few weeks throughout the growing season. This staggered approach ensures a continuous supply of young seedlings ready for outdoor transplanting or indoor growing.
  • Overwintering indoors. In regions with cold winters, you can overwinter plants indoors. Prune the plants and provide adequate light and warmth during the winter months to keep them alive and productive – and you’ll have an early spring indoor harvest.

Greenhouse planting
Use a greenhouse or cold frame to extend the tomato growing season. Plant tomatoes in the greenhouse earlier in spring and continue planting new crops or maintaining overwintered plants for year-round production. Control the greenhouse environment by adjusting temperature, humidity, and light levels to mimic optimal growing conditions for tomatoes throughout the year. 

Another benefit of being one of the easiest vegetables to grow

Few experiences match the simplicity and joy of growing tomatoes. Their resilience, productivity, and versatility make them the ultimate choice for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike.

Since tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, you may find a happy problem. Whether you’re a beginner gardener – or a gardener who wants to grow tomatoes in pots, raised beds, or indoors – you can enjoy a steady supply of fresh tomatoes that you grow yourself.

But that can be a problem: there’s a good chance you’ll pick more than you can use. Which means you’ll have plenty to share with neighbors and friends, who will be in awe of your green thumb.

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