All About Growing Tomatoes

Learn how to plant, grow and harvest tomatoes, plus peruse our recommended tomato varieties.

  • Tomato Varieties
    Try growing some of these beautiful tomato varieties in your vegetable garden (from left to right): ‘Green Zebra,’ ‘San Marzano,’ ‘Brandywine,’ ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘Mr. Stripey,’ ‘Juliet,’ ‘Yellow Pear’ and ‘Black Cherry.’ 
    Illustration by Keith Ward
  • Tomato Sandwich
    Use your juicy, homegrown tomatoes to make the perfect tomato sandwich. All you need: bread, mayo and fresh tomato slices!
    Illustration by Keith Ward

  • Tomato Varieties
  • Tomato Sandwich

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

The exquisite flavor and irresistible juiciness of homegrown tomatoes put them at or near the top of most gardeners’ planting lists. Fruit size, color and flavor differ with each variety, but all tomatoes grow best under warm conditions. For the best flavor, provide fertile, organically enriched soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5, and plant your tomatoes in a site that gets plenty of sun.

Tomato Types to Try

Many organic gardeners include varieties of the following three types of tomatoes in their gardens each year.

Cherry tomatoes and salad tomatoes produce small fruits in a rainbow of colors and an array of shapes, including round, pear-shaped and teardrop-shaped.

Slicing tomatoes are round and juicy, making them ideal for eating fresh. Fruit size and color vary, and some varieties produce surprisingly large fruits.

Paste tomatoes, also called canning tomatoes, have dense flesh and little juice, so they are the best type for cooking, canning and drying.

4/3/2016 6:25:57 PM

Why doesn't MEN have a search feature for archival articles? I'm looking for how-to-grow tomatoes upside down.

8/28/2014 6:46:15 AM

I have 6 tomato plants in cages, and now staked because they are so laden with fruit. BUT they are mostly green - even though large - some the size of a large orange. Now turning orange, but if I wait to pick them when they are fully ripe the bugs or something else get to them first. Should I pick them orange and windowsill ripen them? Will they be as good on the inside - meaty and delicious? Should I leave a piece of the stem to nourish them while ripening? Ot just take my chances on the vine...

7/21/2014 1:05:05 AM

I am having my most successful year to date with tomatoes, and have the dilemma of not planning for their upward growth. I have used large premade tomato cages in the past, but they are not tall enough. My husband thinks I should cut them off and just grow the lower branches, but I don't want to do this unless I have to. Want them tomatoes! What can you suggest?

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