The Easiest Tomatoes to Grow

Depending on what you’re making and where you live, some tomatoes really are better! With more than 7,500 varieties, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for.

So whether you say to-may-to or to-mah-to, we’re here to help you choose the easiest tomato variety for you.

Cherry Tomatoes ­­are the easiest tomatoes for beginners to grow. They produce crop after crop and have very few problems! Here are a few of the best.

Super sweet 100 tomatoes.

Super sweet 100 tomatoes.

Super Sweet 100

The name says it all – these are sweet and easy. Just one plant can bear more than 1,000 tomatoes. Super Sweet 100s grow in long strands or clusters of more than 100 tomatoes. You’ll have thousands of tomatoes that are high in Vitamin-C by the end of the season.

  • Disease Resistance: V, F and N
  • Growth Type: Indeterminate
  • Time to Maturity: 60-70 days
  • Taste and Texture: Super sweet and juicy with a firm texture
  • Light: Full sun
  • Plant Size: 8-12’
  • Spacing: 18-36” apart
  • Staking: Yes – Cage or stake

Napa Grape

This classic tomato tastes and looks just like its bigger rivals, but has a higher sugar content than any other grape tomato. Known to be one of the tastiest tomatoes out there, the Napa Grape produces sweet tomatoes that taste yummy in salads or as snacks.

  • Disease Resistance: Very disease resistant
  • Growth Type: Indeterminate
  • Time to Maturity: 65 days
  • Taste and Texture: Sugary with a firm texture
  • Light: Full sun
  • Plant Size: 4-6’
  • Spacing: 24-36” apart
  • Staking: Yes – Cage or stake

Golden Nugget

These sweet tasting tomatoes love cool weather and can withstand the heat. Looking more like tangerines than tomatoes, Golden Nuggets ripen early and produce lots of fruit.

  • Disease Resistance: V and F
  • Growth Type: Determinate
  • Time to Maturity: 55-65 days
  • Taste and Texture: Balanced, mild with a hint of sweetness and a thin skin
  • Light: Full sun
  • Plant Size: 2-3’
  • Spacing: 18-24” apart
  • Staking: No
Yellow Pear Tomato

Yellow Pear Tomato

Yellow Pear

Tangy, beautiful and tiny, Yellow Pear tomatoes look charming in salads or as snacks. A favorite of chefs, these dynamic tomatoes love to sprawl, so contain them with a cage or stake.

  • Disease Resistance: Not susceptible to blossom end, but can develop early blight
  • Growth Type: Indeterminate
  • Time to Maturity: 75-80 days
  • Taste and Texture: Tangy yet mild with a slightly firm and mealy texture
  • Light: Full sun
  • Plant Size: 6-12’
  • Spacing: 24-36” apart
  • Staking: Yes – Cage or stake

 

Sungold tomato

Sun gold tomato

Sun Gold

These orange tomatoes taste like tropical fruit and thrive in hot, sultry climates. Grown in long clusters of 10-15 tomatoes, Sun Golds produce fruit well into fall. Plus, these cherry tomatoes can be grown in containers.

  • Disease Resistance: V, F and T
  • Growth Type: Indeterminate
  • Time to Maturity: 55-65 days
  • Taste and Texture: Sweet and fruity taste with a firm, crisp texture
  • Light: Full sun
  • Plant Size: 5-10’
  • Spacing: 24-36” apart
  • Staking: Yes – Cage or stake

 

Go forth, and grow! When you’re organic gardening, be sure to feed tomatoes lots of Tomato-tone during the growing season.  

And if you’re looking for more info on tomatoes, such as growing heirloom tomatoeshybrid tomatoes or non-red tomatoes, please visit our Organic Tomato Gardening Guide for more tips and tricks.

Seed to Succeed! Seed Starting Secrets

Step aside houseplants. Not now indoor herbs. There’s a new indoor winter gardening project in town… indoor seed starting!

Find the Prime Time: When to Start Seeds Indoors

One of the biggest mistakes when starting seeds indoors is starting too soon.

Before starting seeds inside, look up the last spring frost date in your area,  then count back 4-6 weeks. That’s the best time to start seeds indoors.

This handy seed starting chart from Organic Life makes it easy to calculate when to start and transplant your seeds.potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

To Sow or No? Best Veggie Seeds to Start Indoors in Winter

Not all seeds succeed indoors! Save root crops and cold-hardy seeds for when it’s warm enough to plant directly outside. Or, you can grow two crops of broccoli and lettuce. Start seeds indoors now then sow more outside later.

potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

Here are the best vegetable and herb seeds to start indoors in winter.

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Parsley 

Seed to Succeed!

There are three secrets to starting seeds indoors: warmth, light and an organic seed starting mix that promotes root growth.

Start with Espoma’s Organic Seed Starter – a gardener’s favorite! But don’t take it from us. One of our customers, Shelia, shared that she used a lot of seed starter in her day, but “this one is just OUTSTANDING!” Her plants came up just perfect, and she “will never use anything else, ever again.”

Fill seed trays to within ¼” of the top and lightly water. Follow the instructions on the seed packets to see how deep and far apart to plant. Cover with soil, press down and label.

Place tray in a larger pan of shallow water for a minute so thewater seeps up from the bottom.

Place seeds in a warm spot between 65-75°. Try the top of the fridge!potting soil, starting seeds indoors, organic seed starting mix, growing tomatoes

Loosely cover tray with plastic wrap or the cover from your seed-starting kit. Check seeds daily for moisture. Find even more detailed instructions here.

Give seeds 12-16 hours of light daily. Supplement sunlight with grow lights if needed.

Once you see sprouts, remove the cover and move seeds to a sunny, south-facing window that is 65-75°F. Then, turn the container a little each day to prevent leaning seeds.

When leaves grow, add a bit of fertilizer such as Espoma’s Plant-tone or liquid Grow!. Both are organic fertilizers, so they are safe to use on edibles, around children and pets and they help plants grow bigger than ever before.

Once you see that first sprout peeking through the potting soil, homegrown veggies are only weeks away!

A To-Do List You’ll Love: January Gardening

Ah, a whole year of gardening is ahead of us. January is the best time to pause, reflect and prepare for a year of incredible gardening.

OK, tired of reflecting? Here are a few winter gardening tips to keep you busy this January!

Things to Do in the Garden in January:

Ward off those winter blues with a hearty helping of green, gardening thoughts.  potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,

  1. Dream Big. Plan or rework your garden design. Pin inspiration, flip through gardening magazines and daydream ways to make your garden even better. Illustrate your garden plan to visualize the entire space.potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  2. Plan Small. Make a list of organic edible and flower seeds to grow. Get the most of seed starting by growing unique varieties, heirlooms and expensive grocery store plants. See what seeds to start indoors and when to plant them. winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators
  3. Listen to the Songbirds. Nothing livens up a dreary, wintry day like a flock of fluttering birds. Fill bird feeders with tasty seeds this winter. potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  4. Take a Look. Walk around your home and garden with a notebook. Imagine how you could reduce water usage, recycle more, compost or conserve energy. Each week in January, try one idea to see what works! Start by recycling your Christmas tree.

    potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,

    Gather your trusty garden tools, and give them a good scrub. Rinse off the dirt, sharpen the blades and rub vegetable oil on the metal.

  5. Clean It Up. Gather your trusty garden tools, and give them a good scrub. Rinse off the dirt, sharpen the blades and rub vegetable oil on the metal. potting soil, garden design, winter gardening tips,
  6. Taste Summer Flavors. Get your green thumb back in the potting soil. Start an indoor herb garden to harvest a garden-fresh taste on the coldest winter days. See what herbs do best indoors here.

Here’s to a home filled with fresh herbs, the sweet song of birds and a stack of gardening magazines. January’s looking quite charming after all!

Bird’s the Word in Winter. Help Feed Them

Instead of looking out at a still landscape all winter, infuse your yard with movement. During winter, birds are scavenging for food, looking for a place to take it easy for a while.

winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators

While you’re keeping your pets safe in winter, don’t forget about feathered friends. Feed birds this winter, and they’ll happily visit your yard and put on a show — complete with a song and dance! Keep

winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators

Northern cardinals are beautiful additions to winter landscapes.

Chirp, Chirp! Cheap, Easy Ways to Attract Birds to Garden
Start winter bird feeding to attract birds to the garden. With this trick, you can garden for pollinators all year long!

1. Garland in the Garden. If you have leftover popcorn and cranberry garland from Christmas, string it outside for the birds. None leftover? Make it!

winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators

Jays are known for their beautiful bird songs.

2. Field the Feeder. Add a large-capacity feeder or multiple feeders, so you only have to refill weekly. Place in a spot where you can see the feeder that also has a tree or shrub about 10’ away.

winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators

Clark’s nutcrackers nest in late winter when there’s still snow on the ground.

3. Seed to Succeed. DIY a bird seed mix to avoid fillers in bagged birdseed that go uneaten. This way you can attract your favorite birds, too!
• Suet, fruit and peanuts – the ultimate bird party starter. All birds love these!
• Black-oil sunflower seeds – the easy to please seed that cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, goldfinches, finches, chickadees, titmice and nuthatches eat. Plus, these deter squirrels and raccoons.
• Thistle seeds – Goldfinches simply love thistle seeds! Only use in thistle feeders.
• Safflower seeds – cardinals, chickadees, titmice and downy woodpeckers snack on safflower. Squirrels don’t like them either!
• White millet – cheap to buy and charming to sparrows, juncos and mourning doves.

winter bird feeding, attract birds to garden, garden for pollinators

Tits feed on seeds and nuts, especially in the winter.

4. Fill to Thrill. Birds may be slow to find your feeders. Once they do, they’re counting on you. Make sure your feeder is always full, or birds will find a more reliable feeder!

Once you see the first bird enjoying your feeder, you’ll be happy as a lark! A lively, song-filled winter awaits!

Make Like a Garden and Grow

This year, let’s grow your best garden yet! All you need is a sturdy pencil, a blank notebook and a vivid imagination. You’ll almost be able to smell wild lavender and delicate roses.

With a detailed garden plan, your organic garden blooms right off the page.

 Grow On! How to Plan Your Dream Garden

1. Reflect to Perfect. Think about last year’s garden. Jot down all your flowers, edibles and shrubs. Mark your favorite and most used plants. Cross off those that didn’t produce, succeed or required too much effort. What plants do you wish you had? What edibles did you spend too much on at the store? Add those to your plant list.

2. Wise Size. Sketch your current garden space. Should you expand or cut back? Consider if and where you’d like to place new garden beds, raised beds, containers or another vegetable garden. If this is your first garden, plan for 50-75 square feet.

garden plan, garden design3. Site for Light. With your garden design sketched, it’s time to color coordinate! Fill in each area with a different color based on how sunny or shady it is.

4. Single or Mingle. Tweak the list of plants you want to add, keep or remove. Then decide which plants you’ll cluster and which to keep separate. Pair plants with similar water, light and soil needs. Plan where to plant them, and circle the plants you’ll start from seed.

start seeds, plan garden5. Pick to Mix. Scrutinize your list to make sure you have a good mix of: plant types, scents, bloom times, beneficial plants, texture, sizes and color. Do the Safe Paws check to make sure all plants are safe for your pets.

Step back and admire your handiwork! In just a few short months, your hands will be in the soil making your garden plan spring to life.