Fast Growing Vegetables – Learn About Vegetable Plants With Quick Growth
By: Liz Baessler
Sometimes you garden for a challenge, and sometimes you garden to get exactly the vegetables you want. Sometimes though, you just want the most bang for your buck, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Luckily, some vegetables grow very fast and put out a big reward in flavor. Keep reading to learn more about vegetable plants with quick growth.
Fast Growing Vegetables for the Garden
Whether you have a short growing season, planting late in the season, or you just plain want results soon, fast growing vegetables are plentiful and deeply satisfying to grow.
Here are some of the best vegetable plants with quick growth times:
Radish– Ready in 20 to 30 days. Radishes are the king of fast growing vegetables. Their seeds sprout after just a few days and the plants grow very quickly.
Leaf lettuce– Ready in about 30 days. Not to be confused with head lettuce, leaf lettuce puts out individual leaves that can be harvested one at a time. After very little time, the leaves are big and plentiful enough to begin picking. The plant will continue to put out new leaves, too, which means this fast growing plant keeps on giving.
Spinach– Ready in about 30 days. Very similar to leaf lettuce, spinach plants continue to put out new leaves and the first ones can be harvested just a month after planting the seeds. These very early leaves are called baby spinach.
Arugula– Ready in 20 days. The little leaves of arugula have a sharp, bitter taste that goes great in salads.
Bush beans– Ready in 50 days. Unlike the leafy plants in this list, bush beans have to grow an entire plant and then put out pods. That doesn’t slow them down very much, though. Bush beans are small, self-supporting plants, not to be confused with their slower growing pole bean cousins.
Peas– Ready in 60 days. Peas are very fast growing vining plants that are extremely satisfying to watch as they cover a trellis in a short span of time.
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Read more about General Vegetable Garden Care
Vegetables You Can Grow in Two Months or Less
There are times when you need a crop to run its course in a short time frame in order to keep the garden productive while the weather is warm. Here is a list of crops to consider when you are planting against the clock.
Snap beans are useful in warm summer weather. In addition to cropping rather quickly, beans are soil builders that benefit ensuing crops by fixing atmospheric nitrogen in their roots then releasing it when the plants die off. The fastest to produce are the bush types, ready to harvest in 50+ days. Try ‘Provider’ or ‘Contender’ varieties.
Cucumbers are another option for the middle of summer. The best varieties for quick production are the early pickling types like ‘Picklebush’ and ‘Northern Pickler’. These varieties also require less space than the normal season types.
Onions are grown from seeds, sets, or transplants and all varieties of onions are usable from the moment they emerge. Onion sets look like baby onion bulbs and are sold for cropping the bulb types of onions. Transplants look like very immature scallions, they are bulbing types as well. Both sets and transplants are readily available in early spring from the same places that sell seeds, and will produce green onions very quickly. In late summer or fall, onion seeds are the most widely available option. For seed starts try white lisbon or evergreen white for good sized scallions in 60 days.
Asian greens are also fast producers of cool season vegetables. These small sized brassicas can produce mature crops in about a month. A few to consider include bok choy, mizuna and tatsoi.
English Peas are a cool season legume, offering similar soil building benefits as beans do in warm weather. Work them into a rotation before or after leafy greens. Look for early varieties like ‘Alaska’ or ‘Daybreak’ to beat the 60 day deadline.
15 Best Vegetables to Grow for Gardeners of Any Skill Level
Lettuce, tomatoes, beans, and more.
Fresh vegetables are never better than when they're harvested right from your own backyard. Juicy tomatoes, snappy green beans, and crisp cucumbers are just some of the best vegetables to grow in your garden this year. Best of all, you don’t need a huge yard to learn how to start a vegetable garden! Containers on your patio, deck, or balcony are great homes for your plants too. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even grow seeds indoors a month or two before you plan on planting them in the ground to get a head start.
To get the best harvest possible, you'll want to make sure your garden or pots receive eights hours of direct sunlight, or they won’t produce. Also, remember that some plants like different temperatures! Peas, for instance, like chilly weather and can be planted in early spring. But if you're wondering how to grow tomatoes, these heat lovers can’t be set out until after the last frost. (If you’re not sure when that is, check with your local university coop extension service so you won’t put your young plants out too soon!) And if you’re growing plants such as squash, which need pollinators to form fruit, don’t forget to plant some flowers too. There are plenty of spring flowers and even edible flowers to add to your garden!
Now, pull on your gardening gloves and break out your gardening tools for these easy vegetables to grow.
5 Fast-Growing Vegetables to Try
Here are five super-speedy vegetables for a harvest in just a few short weeks! Not only will growing a few edibles at home reduce trips to the grocery store, but also you’ll also enjoy better-tasting, fresher food—and the tonic of the plants and the outdoors! (Note: Full article text included with video demo.)
If you’re a beginner gardener, it’s satisfying to see vegetables grow quickly. For greens and radishes, you can harvest the early leafy greens within two to three weeks! (Just leave a few plants to grow to their full size for a bigger harvest later.)
Also, as a gardening season progresses, gaps will inevitably start to appear in your garden as plants are harvested. It’s a bad idea to leave those gaps as the bare ground will attract weeds and be prone to erosion during summer storms. Plus, it’s a wasted opportunity to grow another crop! You’ve done so much work preparing the soil and establishing your garden, sprinkle some more seeds to yield a fresh harvest of veggies?
But you don’t need to leave gaps at all, even if you have plans for fall crops later on. With plenty of heat and long days in summer, some plants require very little time to go from sowing to harvest time.
We’ll look at five of these super-speedy vegetables that go from sowing to harvest in very little time at all.
Sowing to harvest: 25 days
Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables, taking just three to four weeks to reach harvest time. They’re also exceptionally easy to grow.
Seeds can be sown into prepared ground or pots of potting soil. Sow the plump seeds very thinly, spacing them about one inch apart. Sowing small batches every few weeks until the very end of summer will give you a continuous crop of the peppery roots. The seedlings will pop up within three to five days. If necessary, thin the seedlings so the roots have enough room to expand.
You can harvest the radish greens (and thinnings), too!
Keep the ground free of weeds, and water in dry weather. Harvest the roots before they get too large, when they can turn woody in texture and become overpoweringly hot.
2. Salad Leaves
Sowing to harvest: 10 to 25 days
10 to 15 days to harvest: grow microgreens
14 to 21 days to harvest: baby arugula and pea shoots
25 days to harvest: baby leaf lettuce
30 days to harvest: baby kale and swiss chard
Ever-versatile salads present a symphony of leaf shapes, textures and tastes ideal for livening up meal times. Grow individual varieties or create your own salad blend by mixing two or more varieties together before sowing. Suitable salads include lettuce, mustards and other Oriental leaves, kale, and arugula.
For the quickest results, sow a mix of salads sold for repeat, or cut-and-come-again harvesting. Sow the seeds very thinly into drills spaced around 6 to 10 inches apart. Cover the seeds back over then gently pat the surface of the soil down. Water along the rows then keep the soil moist and weed free as the seedlings grow. If summers are very hot in your area, you may need to wait a few weeks or use shade-cloth to reduce temperatures for germination and good growth.
Harvesting can start just three weeks after sowing. Take two or three outside leaves from each plant at any one time. This allows the remaining leaves to grow on and provide another cut in a few days’ time. Cut little and often for best results.
See the Almanac’s Growing Guides to Lettuce, Swiss Chard, and Kale.
3. Bush Beans
Sowing to harvest: 60 days
The quickest pods in town, bush beans, can be sown immediately after a previous crop to give a speedy picking before the end of the current growing season. Taking just two months from sowing to pod production, these trouble-free beans are a must – and kids love them!
In summer the beans can be sown directly into the ground or into pots of potting soil. Poke the seeds into the soil so they are 10 to 16 inches apart. Sow a batch once a month until the end of summer. The short, bushy plants will soon come into flower.
Pick the pods every few days, as they appear, so that you are always enjoying them while they are still smaller and more tender. Regular picking encourages plants to continue forming pods. Savor the beans lightly steamed with a curl of butter and a grind of the peppermill.
Sowing to harvest: 50 days
Carrots are not the most obvious speedy vegetable, but choose a quick-growing finger-sized variety and you can expect sweet, crunchy roots in just six weeks.
Sow into pots of potting soil, spreading the seed thinly over the surface, then cover with a thin sieved layer of potting soil. Or sow the seed into drills spaced about 6 inches apart, cover back over, and water.
If you have pests (carrot fly), a row cover will help. Once the seedlings have appeared, thin them on a rainy day when there will be fewer carrot flies about, or on a still, cloudy day to about an inch apart. Water afterwards to settle soil back around the roots.
Pull up the tender carrots while they are still young, if necessary using a border fork to first loosen the soil.
Sowing to harvest: 30 days
The smooth, succulent leaves of spinach are extraordinarily versatile. Use them in salads, as a key ingredient to quiches and flans, or stirred into risottos or pasta dishes. Start it off once a month to enjoy right up until the first frosts.
Sow into rows about a foot (12 inches) apart. Set the seeds an inch apart then thin the resulting seedlings to roughly 8 inches apart. Plants can quickly bolt in hot weather, which causes the leaves to turn bitter. Prevent this by sowing in light shade during the heat of summer and by always keeping the ground moist.
Cut the leaves away using a sharp knife or scissors. Don’t let the leaves get too big, and remember to harvest little and often. Later sowings can be covered with a row cover or tunnel to help growth along as the weather turns cooler.
For more information on planting vegetables, here are all of our free Vegetable Growing Guides.
Preparing the Ground
Sow your super-speedy crops into well-prepared soil. This simply means ensuring that the soil has enough nutrients to support healthy growth and has the right texture to encourage even germination. In most cases all that’s needed to prepare the ground is to sprinkle on a top-up of organic fertilizer before raking the soil surface to a fine tilth.
All of these super-speedy vegetables can also be grown in pots of good-quality, multipurpose potting soil.
Protecting Against Pests
While our quintet of super-speedy vegetables will have little time to attract pests, do take a few precautions. Carrot fly has already had a special mention. Use the same row covers protecting your carrots to guard against flea beetles on radishes and some salad leaves. Slugs can decimate seedlings, so set up beer traps or shady retreats such as an upturned grapefruit shell, then collect up and discard any slugs you find.
It’s perfectly plausible to sneak in some super-speedy vegetables even up until surprisingly late in the summer. Try some of these quick croppers and get ready for a bonus harvest in next to no time. We’d love to hear what other super-speedy vegetables you recommend for your area, so why not drop us a comment below and tell us.
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We’ve made the garden planner free for seven days. A week is ample time to play around on your computer and plan a garden!
7 fast-growing vegetables you can harvest in no time
Perfect for impatient gardeners who want results quickly.
Looking for easy vegetables to grow? If you're dreaming of harvesting your own homegrown produce but want super-quick results, we've rounded up seven fast-growing vegetables which produce impressive results in no time.
For example, cress can take as little as five days from sowing, and radishes in as little as three weeks. Best of all, these vegetables don't require much ongoing maintenance, so they're perfect for the impatient gardener, and for beginners who are starting a vegetable garden.
The best thing about growing your own veg is that it will save you lots of money in the long run, and you get a great sense of joy and self-satisfaction at eating your own homegrown produce. If you need any advice on sowing seeds, take a look at our quick and simple guide here.
On that note, here's our pick of seven fast-growing vegetables for your garden.
One of the fastest-growing vegetables you can grow is cress. To grow your own, sprinkle cress seeds over the surface of a pot or sow in the ground quite close together (for example in a tight-knit row). Place on a kitchen windowsill or outside for the best results.
Sowing to harvest: 5-7 days
Lettuce takes around 21 days to grow, so you'll have a fresh green bunch of leaves in no time at all. Chris Bonnett from Gardening Express explains: 'For the quickest results, sow the seeds very thinly spaced around 15-25cm apart. Cover the seeds over gently and pat the surface of the soil down. Water along the rows then keep the soil moist and weed-free as the seedlings grow.'
Sowing to harvest: 21 days
Looking to grow your own radishes? These will take around three to four weeks and can be grown either in small pots on your kitchen windowsill or in your garden. When placing the seeds in soil, make sure you sow them very thinly, spacing them about 2.5cm apart.
Sowing to harvest: 25 days
To grow your own spinach at home, sow into rows about 30cm apart and set the seeds 2.5cm apart.
Top tip: ensure you grow spinach in light shade during the heat of summer to avoid the leaves turning bitter.
Sowing to harvest: 30 days
One of the UK's favourite vegetables, growing your own carrots will save you plenty of money in the long-run. While these generally take slightly longer to grow than others, you can still expect sweet, crunchy crops in just six weeks.
Chris says: 'Sow into pots of potting soil, spreading the seed thinly over the surface, then cover with a thin sieved layer of compost'.
Sowing to harvest: 50 days
Kids will love slipping on their gardening gloves and helping to plant tasty green beans. During the summer months, beans can be sown directly into the ground or into pots of potting soil (which is great if you have a balcony). Poke the seeds into the soil so they are 25-40cm apart. Water well and enjoy!
Sowing to harvest: 60 days
Peas are a dinnertime staple and take almost no gardening experience to plant at home. They are a cool seasonal crop that flourish best in temperatures of around 13–18C. To grow your own, sow peas in two parallel lines in soil. Make sure your space them around 10cm apart. Then, cover with soil and water well.
Chris suggests: 'Remember to provide supports for your pea plants to cling to, and cover trenches with chicken wire or netting after sowing, as birds love to steal pea seed.'
Sowing to harvest: 60-70 days
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30 Fast Growing Vegetables In Pots (Growth Time Mentioned)
Growing vegetables and herbs in pots are very easy and enjoyable. But there are some vegetables that we can grow very fast in pots and containers. You can also grow these vegetables in your raised bed garden. If you are new in kitchen gardening, you should read this full article. You will learn a lot about fast-growing vegetables.
Here are 30 fast-growing vegetables in pots and containers.
Number one: Lettuce.
Lettuce is one of the fast-growing leafy vegetables. You can grow lettuce directly from seeds. It took about 45-50 days for lettuce to become fully mature. But you can also regrow store-bought lettuce. Just cut the end of lettuce about 2 inches and plant that piece in the soil. In a week, leaves will appear. Lettuce can be harvested 2-3 times per year.
Number Two: Spinach.
Spinach is another fast-growing leafy green. After 4-5 days seeds start to germinate. And in 30-50 days spinach will ready to harvest, but you can cut and use spinach before they get mature. Use Potting mix in the pot to grow spinach in pots and containers.
Number Three: Mustard Green.
Must green is at number 3 on our list. They are very easy to grow in pots and small containers. There are so many kinds of mustard green you can grow. Mustard green plants take about 30 days to grow fully and ready to harvest.
Number Four: Onion.
There are different varieties of onion you can grow. Different varieties have different growth times. Dry bulb takes about 100-150 days. But we can harvest green onion in just 20-30 days. Use a little deep container for the onion to grow. Grow a lot of onions and store them for later use.
Number Five: Mushrooms.
You can grow smaller mushrooms in a day or two. But if you wanted to grow bigger mushrooms (size of your plate) it can take up to 6 days. Which is pretty crazy too. Grow mushroom in a slightly bigger container and add an extra flavor to all of your favorite dishes in no time.
Number Six. Tomatoes.
Growing tomatoes in pots and containers are very easy and satisfying to watch. You can harvest your first tomatoes in 40-50 days after planting the tomato plant. Use a good potting mix in the pot for tomatoes. Make your own trellis or buy from the market to support the plant as it grows in length.
Number Seven. Cherry Tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes are very easy to grow in pots like normal tomatoes. They take a little longer than normal to give fruits. The growth time of cherry tomatoes in 60-65 days. Grow cherry tomatoes from seedling, not seeds. Growing from a seedling is an easy and fast way to grow these bite-size tomatoes.
Number Eight: Beets.
Select a pot that is 12 inches deep. Put some potting soil in the pot and grow beets. After 45-60 days, they will fully ready to harvest. Keep watering the beet. Do not let the soil dry or the roots will turn stunted. Beets are very easy to grow because they don’t have any serious kind of disease.
Number Nine: Carrots.
If you wanted to grow longer carrots, choose deeper pots and containers to plant carrots. Carrots are grown directly from seeds. The growth time is a little longer (70-80 days). But if you don’t want to wait that long, you can cut and eat their leaves. Carrots leaves are totally edible and are healthy.
Number Ten: Cucumber.
Cucumbers growth time is about 55-65 days. Harvest cucumbers when they are still immature or the seeds of fully ripe cucumber get hard and are not edible. Plus fully mature cucumbers can suppress the growth of new flowers. If you want more cucumber, harvest more cucumber.
Number Eleven: Pepper.
You can grow any kind of pepper in pots. Harvest pepper fruit in 60-90 days after plantation. You can grow peppers from seeds or from the seedling. Obviously, from seedling, they will give the fruit a little earlier. If you wanted to grow hot pepper, it can take up to 150 days. But both sweet and hot peppers are great to grow in pots with potting soil.
Number Twelve: Radish.
There are two seasons of growing radish. If you are growing spring radish, it can take 20-30 days to mature. Winter radish can take a little longer than spring radish. The growth time of winter radish is 50-60 days. Both are very easy and fun to grow in pots. Grow them directly from seeds.
Number Thirteen: Spring Onion.
Spring onion only takes 6-8 weeks to grow fully. This vegetable is perfect for small containers and pots. If you want a continuous supply of spring onion, plant them every 2-3 week. This kind of onion don’t of any bulb at the end. They grow directly from seeds.
Number Fourteen: Kale.
Kale is a super tough plant. They often called bulletproof plants. Because they can survive any kind of harsh conditions. If you are new to kitchen gardening, you should start with kale. You can grow kale with seeds and seedlings. From seeds, they are ready to harvest in 55-60 days. With seedling, they are ready just in 20-30 days.
Number Fifteen: Potatoes.
Potatoes are very easy to grow in potato bags. Potato bags are very large kinds of pots. They give a great yield in potato bags. Water them every day, because dry soil can cause a lower yield. The growth time of potatoes is between 70-129 days.
You can grow store-bought potatoes. If your potatoes have little eyes, it means they are ready to grow. Just buried the potatoes in potting soil eye facing up.
Number Sixteen: Garlic.
Choose a large bulb of garlic. Break this bulb into cloves and select the bigger cloves and plant them in the pot with potting soil. 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart is best to plant garlic. Garlic takes a long time to make the bulb from the clove. But you can cut the leaves of garlic and use them in your dishes the whole time.
Number Seventeen: Squash:
Any kind of squash can grow very well in pots and containers. But yellow squash is the best of all kinds. They are easy to grow and took only 50-70 days to harvest. They act like cucumber when start to give fruits. Harvest more squash to get more. If they don’t harvest in time they can reduce the production of new flowers.
Number Eighteen: Zucchini.
Zucchini is also known as summer squash. Zucchini is easy to grow and only takes about 35-50 days to grow fully mature. You might want to harvest zucchini every day because they can grow about 2 inches in size in one day. When fruit is 4 inches long, it means it is ready to harvest. They can grow from young plants or seeds both.
Number Nineteen: Turnips.
Turnips are very versatile crops. They are like beets. You can grow them in pots very easily. The growth time of turnips is 60 days. In just 60 days, they are fully grown and ready to harvest. You can grow them in fall or in spring. They grow directly from seeds. They grow very well with carrots.
Number Twenty: Asian Green.
Asian green is very easy to grow in pots. They can grow at any time of the year. The growth time of Asian green is 45 days after plantation. You can also harvest baby Asian green in just 20 days after plantation. They go very well with chicken or any kind of salad.
Number Twenty One: Asparagus.
Asparagus can take up to 90 days to grow fully mature. But they are easy to grow in pots with potting mix. Asparagus can take 2-3 years to grow from seeds, but when they first harvest, they will return and can harvest year after year. 1 mature plant will give you a yield of asparagus for more than 20 years.
Number Twenty Two: Swiss Chard.
Swiss chard is ready to harvest after just 55-60 days of the plantation. Harvest the leaves of chard when they are just 3 inches long. The leaves can grow up to 10 inches long, but you don’t want that. It is a cool temperature crop but is very tough in summer too. Grow best from seeds directly.
Number Twenty Three: Broccoli.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables out there. If you are a fitness freak, you already know about its importance of broccoli. The growth time of broccoli is about 90 days. Extremely easy to grow. It is best if you grow them from seedlings. Choose a slightly bigger pot or container for broccoli.
Number Twenty Four: Green Beans.
There are so many kinds of beans. But the green beans are the best of all in terms to grow in pots. The growth time of green beans is 7 weeks. The harvest is the same as a cucumber. Harvest more green beans to get more. Do not try to grow green beans inside, they love full sun. So put green bean pots outside.
Number Twenty Five: Peas.
Peas in pots using a good kind of compost. Sow their seeds deep in the soil. Water them and watch them grow. In just 7-8 weeks peas will be ready to harvest. Peas plants do very well if the seeds are sown deep in the soil, so choose pots of a good height. You can also grow peas from plug plants.
Number Twenty Six: Cauliflower.
The maximum growth time of cauliflower is 8 weeks. Cauliflower required at least 6 hours of full sunlight for best growth. Cauliflower can grow from seeds and seedlings both. But it is best if you start with the seedlings.
You can grow cauliflower with broccoli or kale. Growing cauliflower is a bit challenging for beginners gardener because they require constant care, a little change in temperature, sunlight and water requirements can disturb their growth.
Here are some fastest-growing herbs you can grow in pots.
Number Twenty Seven: Mint.
Mint is so versatile in growth and in its use. In 90 days, mint can grow up to 1-2 feet. But you can harvest mint before 90 days and use them in your tea or mint water. You can grow mint from seeds or regrow from the store-bought mint.
Number Twenty-Eight: Sage.
If you wanted to grow from seeds, it will be a long run of 2 years. But the best way to grow sage is from it cutting. Choose some green cuttings of sage put these cuttings in the water bottle, if a few days, roots will appear. Now plant them in the pots.
Number Twenty-Nine: Thyme.
The process of growing thyme is the same as sage. No need to grow from direct seeds. Use some cuttings of store-bought thyme and put them in the bottle of water. Plant these cutting in the pot when roots appear.
Number Thirty: Basil.
Select some healthy cuttings of basil. Remove the leaves from cutting, leave only 2-4 leaves at the edge of cutting. Put the cutting in a bottle filled with water. If your water is chlorinated, use boiled water. In two weeks, cutting will produce roots. Now, it’s time to plant these cutting with roots in the soil. You can plant them in soil, a container, or anything that is available.
I hope you get some knowledge from this list. Please share this with your friends and family.
These juicy, colorful fruits require a little soil and staking love in the beginning, but are often hands-off crops once established.
Feed tomatoes well
Before planting, it’s crucial to provide your tomatoes with nutrient-rich soil—mix in several inches of compost and a high-quality fertilizer, preferably one specifically made for tomatoes. Fertilize as necessary throughout the season, providing extra nutrients if the leaves become discolored.
Choose a spot with full sun
Tomatoes need 6-8 hours of full sun to thrive, so it’s best to give them their own plot out of the reach of trees and structures.
Plan to transplant
There are two ways to buy tomatoes—as seeds or seedlings (tomato starters). If you’re buying tomato seeds, you’ll want to start the seeds in trays indoors about 6-8 weeks before you plan to transplant them. Don’t plant them until the soil is warm enough to work comfortably.
A successful planting venture requires three main components—deep planting, good watering, and staking or caging.
Help the tomato roots get established
Tomato plants do best when they’re planted deeply enough that their roots can take a firm hold early. To that end, trim off the bottom layer of baby leaves on your transplants, then plant the stalk and cover it with soil up to the new bottom layer of leaves.
This is even more effective because tomato stems have little hairs on their stems. If these hairs are covered with soil, they will often develop into full-grown roots, which provide you with a stronger root system.
Immediately after planting, give the baby tomatoes a good watering to help them get established after the change in environment. Keep watering regularly throughout the season to avoid issues such as cracked fruit.
Stake and cage right away
Stakes and cages should both be added immediately after planting to encourage proper (and stable) growth of your young plants.
Stakes and cages serve one primary purpose—and that, of course, is to keep them growing upright instead of dragging their fruits on the ground.
Why is that important? Tomato plants are far more prone to infection by diseases and pests if left untethered.
Alternative support methods
Aside from straight stakes and round cages, there are a few more creative ways to support your tomato plants. For example, you can try trellises (overhead supports, often used as a decorative feature and usually requiring that tomato vines be tied to the support with string).
Tomatoes can also be held up with row-long stake designs with several layers of twine running between two poles across the row. For this method, you also need to secure each plant to the twine using twist-ties, string, or similar materials.
To prune or not to prune
Some gardeners say that pruning non-productive new stems (sometimes called sucker stems) is a must for increasing tomato yield and growth speed—less branches to feed should mean more energy going to the fruit. Others say it makes no difference. The scientific verdict is still out, but if you choose to try pruning, here’s how:
- The space between the main stem and its offshoot branches (which produce tomatoes) forms a “v”. This is where small “sucker stems” form—prune these with shears or another sharp cutting device.
- Don’t start pruning until the plants are at least 12 inches (30 cm) tall otherwise, the damage may harm the young plants.
Handling tomato pests and diseases
Unfortunately, humans aren’t the only ones addicted to tomatoes. Many pests and diseases are, too.
- Tomato hornworm: This giant, green, worm-like creature loves to munch on the leaves and fruits of your tomato plants. They’re both gross and potentially crop-ruining, so work to combat them by removing and killing them on sight, employing insecticides, or experimenting with companion plants.
- Blight: Like many edible plants, tomatoes are susceptible to a nasty fungal infection called blight that’s made worse by damp conditions. If you notice this moldy tomato plague, remove and destroy the infected plant immediately.
- Rot and fungal diseases: Tomato plants are susceptible to other dampness-induced diseases that can ruin a crop. If you live in a particularly damp area, consider growing tomatoes in a small greenhouse otherwise, this can be avoided by hand-watering directly at the soil (instead of at the plant) or installing a simple drip irrigation system.