big tomato plant on trellis

This is one plant. Really. (Photo: Ben Ostrowsky/Flickr)

There is no feeling quite like eating a ripe tomato, fresh off the vine. Growing tomatoes isn't hard, but there are definitely some tricks to the trade. Successful tomato growers tend to prune and support tomatoes carefully, fertilize with compost and mulch well, and keep the plants watered well.

Here's your first tip: Prune off the bottom six to eight inches of stems from the main stock to promote easy watering at the roots and good air flow to the plant.

The photo above shows a single tomato plant, growing on a trellis. Did you catch that? A. Single. Plant. How did the grower get her tomato plant to be so big and to produce so much fruit? According to the National Gardening Association, there are some tricks to growing huge tomato plants. Compost and other fertilizers, starting early, and improving soil quality all are key components of growing a bodacious tomato plant.

tall tomato plants

Photo: Dwight Sipler/Flickr

Wow! These tomato plants are growing 1 foot taller than their stakes! How can you coax tomato plants to grow taller and to produce more fruit? One of the secrets is pruning. According to Fine Gardening Magazine, pruning tomatoes encourages a longer growth cycle for the tomato plants, so that they can put all of their energy into growing tall and producing fruit.

yellow pear tomatoes

Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr

This is a gratuitous photo of yellow pear tomatoes for your salivating pleasure.

pruned tomato plants

Photo: Old World Garden Farms

These are the lovely and vivacious tomato plants of Old World Garden Farms, a sustainable homestead and working farm in Ohio. Jim and Mary of OWGF offered amazing tips for how they grow their huge tomato plants. No surprise, compost plays a major role, as does mulching, pruning, watering, and supporting the tomato plants.

tomatoes grown around bucket


How did this homeowner grow such phenomenal tomato plants from such small starter plants? His growing method is all about watering a lot, and watering early. His secret? Irrigating the plants through the ground, and never through the leaves. He drills holes in a bucket, partially buries the bucket, puts a couple scoops of compost into the bucket, and then adds water to the bucket every couple days. Here are the details of his tomato growing method.

cherry tomatoes


Walter Reeves, The Georgia Gardener, offered up a pro tip on Hometalk. He says that if tomato plants are losing their flowers before producing fruit, tap the flower clusters with a pencil. Shaking the pollen around on hot, humid days will pollinate the plants so that they will bear fruit.

Chaya Kurtz originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.

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