How Long Does It Take For Tomatoes To Grow?

With so many people making the move to home agriculture, there are a lot of questions. One of the most popular food items for people to grow in their garden is tomatoes. When starting your own food garden, you may want to know how long it takes for tomatoes to grow.

Tomatoes grow differently depending on where you are in the season. Early-season tomatoes take 50 to 60 days to become harvestable. As the season goes on, they will take longer. Tomatoes grown late in the season could take more than 80 days. 

There are many things you can do to help your tomato plants grow as robust as possible. Tomatoes are a great first crop for a new home gardener and are absolutely delicious. In this article, we have outlined many tips to help you grow amazing tomatoes.

Are Tomatoes Easy to Grow?

One of the reasons that tomatoes are so desirable for home gardens is that they are fairly easy to grow. When looking for a crop for your garden, you want to have something that has the best chance for success. This will keep you interested and wanting to garden more.

Tomatoes are easy to grow because they have an incredibly long season. Many food crops require a very short or specific period of time to be viable. Tomatoes, however, are able to thrive throughout many months of the year.

You can grow tomatoes easily in most seasons except for winter. Tomato plants do not like to be subjected to frosty conditions. If you live in an area that frequently frosts over, make sure that you are growing your tomatoes in the spring or summer.

Best Conditions For Growing Tomatoes

If you are looking to grow tomatoes yourself, you will want to consider your area’s weather. Tomatoes grow the best in moderate temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area that frequently dips below or above this, it might not be ideal.

One of the things that can happen if the temperature in your area is not correct is discolored tomatoes. If they are frequently subjected to temperatures above 85 degrees, tomatoes will not turn red. They will stay a pale green color and become bitter and inedible.

Tomatoes like to be exposed to a full amount of sun. They are very happy in direct sunlight at a moderate temperature. To grow tomatoes, make sure to plant them in an area of your garden that receives sunlight throughout most of the day.

Making A Tomato Plant Grow Fruit

One of the best ways to ensure that your tomato plants will bear fruit is to make sure they are getting enough nutrients. Plants are just like people in that they need lots of water, sunlight, and the right amount of food. To grow tomatoes, you will have to have the right soil.

To create the most ideal soil for tomatoes, use an organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer contains potassium and potash. Both of these nutrients encourage the growth of flowers. Tomatoes are the flowers of the tomato plant so potassium or potash will help encourage their growth.

Another way you can be sure that your tomato plant will grow fruit is to plant the seeds far down in the soil. By doing this, you are giving the plant a deep root system that will efficiently soak up nutrients. This is a key step towards giving your tomato plant the best possible chances. 

How to Tell What Kind of Tomato Plant You Have

There are two types of tomato plants: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants will grow a lot of fruit in a short period of time. If your tomato plants are indeterminate, they will grow less fruit over a much longer period of time.

One way to tell what kind of tomato plant you have is to look at the branches. If the branches of your tomato plant are long with not much foliage, odds are it is indeterminate. If your tomato plant is indeterminate, you will have to use a stake to support it since it will grow much longer.

Another way to find out if your tomato plant is determinate or indeterminate is to look for suckers at the bottom of the plant. These small growths are usually at the crotch of the branches and their presence is an indicator of a determinate tomato plant. They must be pruned back. 

How Long Do You Have To Wait For A Tomato Plant To Bear Fruit?

As we have discussed, the length of time it takes to grow tomatoes depends on the season. Tomatoes grown earlier in the season will flower and mature faster than those grown later. This is usually due to higher sun exposure in the spring and summer.

In general, Tomatoes take 3 to 4 weeks to be harvestable after they have flowered. Allowing this amount of time to pass will give your tomatoes plenty of time to soak up the nutrients in the soil. These nutrients are what turn into flavor for your homegrown produce.

Be sure not to harvest your tomatoes before they are ready. Tomatoes picked too early will be hard, bitter and a waste of all your hard work. The secret to gardening is patience and growing tomatoes is no exception.

Typical Tomato Plant Fruit Yield

One of the reasons why tomatoes are so popular as a home crop is that they tend to produce quite a bit of fruit. It can be frustrating and disheartening to spend a lot of time growing a plant and have it not yield much food. Tomato plants are a great exception to this.

Even with minimal work and cultivation, most tomato plants can yield up to 15 pounds of fruit. Tomatoes grow in a robust, clustered way that tends to yield more food per square foot. This makes them perfect for home gardeners who don’t have a lot of space for plants.

How much fruit your tomato plant produces will be dependent on how it is grown. Tomatoes that are grown on stakes tend to yield less fruit. However, tomato plants that are grown on a trellis or cage can yield upwards of 20 pounds in the most ideal situations.

When to Pick Tomatoes

Many people feel that knowing when to pick tomatoes is a difficult process. However, tomatoes are unique in that they can continue to ripen even after they have been pulled off the vine. This makes them much more foolproof than other types of fruit plants.

Tomatoes will reach a stage known as the breaking point after 2 to 3 weeks of flowering. You will know that your tomatoes are at the breaking point when they are about half red and half pink. After this breaking point, you can take the tomatoes off the vine and they will continue to ripen.

One of the best reasons to pick your tomatoes at this breaking point is that it will help with the longevity of your tomato plant. Fully grown tomatoes can add quite a bit of weight and strain on the vines of your tomato plant. Picking them at the breaking point will relieve that strain.

Pollinating Tomato Plants

Another great feature of tomato plants is that they are self-pollinating. Many plants require you to keep a male and female together in order to keep producing fruit. This is not always possible for home gardeners who might not have enough space for two plants.

Since tomato plants are self-pollinating, it is perfectly fine to keep your plants separate. they are also unique in that you could potentially just grow one tomato plant. You do not need much space to do this and it could be a good entry into the world of gardening for food.

Tomato plants pollinate themselves by producing their own pollen and flowers. As the plants grow, pollen falls from the top of the vine to the flowers below. This cycle perpetuates itself and keeps your tomato plants flowering almost year-round.

Related Questions

Do tomatoes grow better in pots or in the ground?

Plants will always grow better if planted in the ground. However, tomato plants generally do well in pots. If you are growing tomato plants in pots, make sure that the pots drain and there are no saucers underneath. These can make the roots of your plants soggy and they will deteriorate.

Can I grow tomatoes in a 5-gallon bucket?

When growing tomatoes in a pot, the bigger the area the better. This makes a 5-gallon bucket an ideal pot for growing tomatoes. There is enough room in the bottom and the sides for a robust root system that will soak up the proper amount of nutrients.

Can tomatoes grow in the shade?

While tomato plants do love a large amount of full sun, they can also be viable in the shade. One of the varieties of tomato that grows well in the shade is the cherry tomato. Cherry tomatoes are small and perfect for gardeners without a lot of space or sun.