You don't have to spend the summer tilling the soil to enjoy the taste of tomatoes eaten right off the vine. Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow in containers on a deck or a patio and require minimal care, so they're perfect for even unambitious gardeners. The plants yield more (and often tastier) fruit than regular tomato plants, and you'll get hundreds from midsummer through the last frost. Try the Super Sweet 100 or Sungold varieties for the juiciest, most flavorful harvest.
- Use ties and stakes, like this tomato spiral ($23.50 for five, leevalley.com), to prevent plants from flopping over and damaging the fruit. Place the stake when you plant the seedling to avoid damaging roots.
- Buy an organic potting mix instead of using dirt from the garden to avoid transferring diseases or pests to your plant. Check the soil daily to see if it's dry, and keep it consistently moist. Position the pot so it gets at least six hours of sun daily.
- Use a pot that holds four to six gallons of soil. Plastic, fiberglass, and foam work well (these materials won't let water evaporate quickly from the roots), but any kind of container will do, from a terra-cotta planter to a garbage can. Just be sure it has drainage holes in the bottom (use a hammer and a nail to create them in a plastic or metal bucket).
- Start with seedlings from a nursery (instead of seeds) to shorten the time from soil to salad bowl. The time to plant them is in early June. Buy indeterminate varieties, which produce tomatoes throughout the season rather than all at once.