How to Grow Tomatoes

A versatile harvest from your own backyard

Zoë Poulsen
3 min readOct 16, 2022


Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

As the warmth of summer reaches full swing, there are few things that epitomise home grown produce more than enjoying delicious tomatoes harvested fresh from the vine.

Having been conditioned to the relative uniformity of supermarket produce, often few of us realise the extraordinary diversity of tomato varieties that are available to the home grower.

Tomatoes can vary in size from vast beefsteak varieties such as as “Gigantomo” that can reach up to 3 lb in weight to cherry tomatoes such as “Tiny Tim” that produce fruit of 3/4 inch across and are the perfect choice for container growing.

These lucious fruit vary in color too. Although deep rich red is the color most commonly associated with tomatoes, they also come in yellow, pink, orange, green, and purple, with some varieties such as “Green Zebra” having stripes.

So how can you grow this diverse and delicious fruit? Let’s take a closer look.

Growing tomatoes from seed

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Once you’ve chosen your tomato varieties, it is time to get growing. Tomatoes grow easily from seed, but need to be protected from frost. They are best grown in a well lit area such as a greenhouse.

You can sow your tomato seeds in individual seed modules or small pots with 1–2 seeds per pot.

If you are growing your seeds for transplanting outside, you’ll want to sow your seeds 6–8 weeks before the last winter frosts. For tomatoes being grown under glass, you can sow them earlier.

Once sown, tomato seeds should be kept moist, but shouldn’t be too wet to avoid problems from damping off earlier in the season. You can expect tomatoes to germinate 7–14 days after sowing.

Transplanting tomatoes into the garden

Photo by www.zanda. photography on Unsplash



Zoë Poulsen

Botanist, freelance writer and conservationist based in Cape Town at the heart of South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region.