Why Growing Tomatoes In Your Garden Is Easier Than You Ever Imagined

Whether or not you consider it a fruit or a vegetable, the mighty tomato is a fan favorite. It can top your guilty-pleasure cheeseburger, form the basis for your go-to pasta sauce, or add the perfect component to a fresh summer salad. In addition to their versatility, tomatoes come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors, from bite-sized grape tomatoes to ugly yet delicious heirloom tomatoes.

This produce staple is so popular that, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, people flocked to buy tomato seeds to grow at home, even leading to a tomato plant shortage. Now, you may be thinking that only true master gardeners are able to coax juicy, ripe tomatoes from those tiny white seeds. And, it's true that starting with seeds requires extra time to see anything sprout, but you can also opt for a seedling, which is a mini plant, that's easier to grow — and quicker.

In fact, tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables you can grow. Here's why.

Tomatoes are pretty tough

One reason tomatoes are easy to grow is that they're tough plants. Even with a little neglect, your tomato plants will flourish — and produce fruit all season long — as long as they receive sufficient water and sunlight, per TK.

According to Grow Veg, tomatoes grow best with at least eight hours of sun. Just leave your plant where it can get the most light, and let the magic happen. But part of what makes tomatoes easy to grow is that they're adaptable. Per Gardening Know How, tomatoes can grow in shade as well as indirect sunlight. The only downside to less light is that your plant will produce less fruit.

Tomatoes do need regular watering, but that part is easy, too. After the top soil dries — but before it is severely dehydrated — give your plants a drink. Pots with drainage holes will help your plant from rotting in case of overwatering. For even more convenient watering, try the gardening hack of DIY plant waterers. It helps to streamline the process and makes for a fun recyclable craft.

The best varieties of tomatoes to grow

The best variety of tomatoes to grow depends on your local gardening environment, especially how much sun and rain you receive. Another aspect of picking the best variety is what these plump beauties will be used for, like making tomato candles (yes, you read that right). 

Some plants produce grapefruit-size tomatoes best for slicing while others grow grape-size tomatoes best for popping in your mouth. Likewise, some varieties take just under two months before they're ready to eat, and others require an entire season of warm weather to bear fruit, according to Grow Veg.

Piedmont Master Gardens shares that there are two main categories of tomato plants, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants grow fairly quickly to a peak height before blooming. The Rutgers, Roma, and Celebrity varieties are popular determinate tomatoes. They're relatively smaller plants, making them ideal for container growing. So, lacking a garden is no excuse to shy away from growing tomatoes. 

Indeterminate tomatoes grow long vines that require pruning and months of growth before producing fruit. Popular indeterminate varieties are Beefsteak, Goldie, and Cherry tomatoes. They need a little more room to grow but can still produce fruit after the growing season is over.