This online guide has been created for you to successfully grow a variety of plants that thrive in the tropics, using native seeds and plants to get growing with wise advice from fellow backyard gardeners and farmers.   You are welcome to add your wisdom and share growing and harvest tips and recipes. Send to Welcome to the Pro-Organic Belize
Tropical Garden Grow Guide

Where you are the student and the teacher

cherry tomatoes

Botanical Name
Salanum lycopersicum
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Full Sun
Soil Type
Fertile, well drained, loose soil
Soil pH
5.8 to 6.8
7-14 days
Maturity 7 to 9 weeks
1 to 2" per week
Fruit size Thumbnail to golf ball
4 ft between rows

Cherry tomatoes originated from wild tomatoes cultivated in the Andes by Inca peoples about 80,000 years ago.

Cherry Tomatoes - February 2023
Cherry Tomatoes are the best variety to grow in hot climates, as they have better resistance to heat and humidity

The basic difference between cherry tomato plants and other tomato plants is that cherry tomato fruits and seeds are smaller. They both contain the same nutrients, both are healthy sources of vitamins A and C.

Direct sowing into the garden is not recommended for tomatoes. Sow seeds into a sterile seed starting mix, 1/8"-1/4" deep. Keep the soil moist and seeds will germinate in 1 to 2 weeks time.

When transplanting into the garden place in deep holes 8-10 inches deep provide plants with a mixture of good topsoil, compost, and bone meal, which promotes flowering and fruit production. Eggshells are also good to place in the soil as they will provide needed calcium and when they begin to produce fruits, regular feedings with compost tea are important.

Cherry tomatoes will quickly outgrow a tomato cage so a trellis or stakes are the better choice for support. These plants prefer full sunlight to partial shade, with at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. and prefer temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees. It is best to water cherry tomatoes in the early morning and drip irrigation is preferred by soaking soil 6 to 8 inches deep. If drip line is not available use garden hose but allow it to slowly trickle. As your plants get to be about 12 inches tall, pruning off the bottom leaves prevents too much moisture  that can spread disease to the rest of your plants and garden. The little sucker plants that grow from nodes can also be pruned, placed in water and when roots appear, added to the garden.  Cherry tomatoes can come in a variety of colors -- most common however are red.

A favorite way to eat them is right off the vine. Because of their size, they are not great for canning but dehydrating cherry tomatoes in direct sunlight is a good way to preserve them for up to 2 years at room temperature. A bit of dribbled olive oil can be added to them with some herbs for extra flavor.

Troubleshooting -- Blossom drop can occur if it gets too hot, so providing a bit of shade will help bring the temperature down. Sun scald can be avoided if you drape  some of the larger branches to shade developing fruit. Many of the pests that like tomatoes can be controlled with neem oil, though this should be avoided when plants are flowering. Crop rotation is probably the best way to avoid fungus diseases on your plants.


Zucchini Panzanella Salad

Ingredients Directions
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-in. slices
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 French bread Baguette - cut into cubes
1 1/2 C halved cherry tomatoes
1 medium chopped green pepper
1/2 medium red onion
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp jarred minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 C mozzerella cheese cut into small pieces
  • Place zucchini in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake, uncovered, at 400° until tender and lightly browned, 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Transfer to a baking dish. Bake at 400° until lightly browned, 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Place the cooled zucchini, toasted bread, tomatoes, green pepper and red onion in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, seasonings and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Drizzle over salad; toss gently to combine. Add the mozzarella and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Crispy Bread Crumbs

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces green beans or yellow wax beans, or a combination, trimmed
  • 1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 slices rustic bread with crusts removed and torn into pieces
  • 2 TBLSP butter
  • 10 large halved cherry tomatoes or equivelent
  • 1 oz. cheese finely grated
  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving platter; lightly drizzle with oil.
  2. Pulse bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form (you should have 2 cups). In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter over medium. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in breadcrumbs. Top beans with warm tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; serve.