How to Grow Tomato Clusters


Choose a variety of tomatoes that are determinate and have a tendency to cluster. Determinate tomatoes ripen together within a two-week period, so the clusters will all ripen at about the same time. Determinate arieties to try include glacier, an early tomato with many smaller tomatoes clustered together, and Grushovka, which bears egg-shaped, pink tomatoes. Celebrity Hybrid 3980 produces clusters of 8- to 12-ounce fruit in midseason.

Step 1

Plant the seeds in new potting soil that is thoroughly wet by placing the seed on top of the soil, pressing in gently and covering with one-eighth inch of soil. Mist with water. Place in a warm location under grow lights or fluorescent lights. A sunny window sill will do if it gets at least eight hours of sunlight a day. When the seeds sprout, keep them moist but not wet. As they grow adjust the lights higher. Before transplanting to the garden, harden them off by getting them used to being outside for longer and longer periods.

Step 2

Prepare the soil. Rich loamy soil is a tomato plant's dream. Double dig the bed by starting a trench at one end and when you reach the other, fill half of the trench with compost or organic matter. Dig a second trench using that dirt to fill in the first trench. Repeat the trenches and compost technique until the bed has been completely dug. Rake smooth.

Step 3

Remove the lower leaves from the stem of the plant until only the top four to six leaves are left. The stem will produce roots for a stronger plant and a more tomato clusters.

Step 4

Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball. If you're transplanting from 4 inch pots, for example, the hole would be 4 inches deep. Dig a trench from the planting hole that is as long as the stem is high to the leaves. For example, if the stem is 6 inches high, the trench should be 6 inches long. Put the root ball in the hole and lay the tomato plant on its side so its stem is in the trench. Cover the stem with soil and water the plant well. The leaves will right themselves toward the sun in a day or two. Water with water soluble fertilizer at half strength.

Step 5

Water with at least 1 inch of water per week if there isn't rainfall. Tomatoes require consistent deep watering. Cracking, a common problem with tomatoes, is the result of the plant being water deprived so the fruit shrivels a bit in its skin. When water is available, the fruit expands and cracks its skin. Cracking can ruin an entire cluster of tomatoes.

Step 6

Feed every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. There are fertilizers made especially for tomatoes. Since the tomatoes in the cluster will ripen at the same time, the plant will use a lot of energy. Excess nitrogen leads to plants with many stems and leaves and not much fruit. The fertilizer should contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium at a ratio of 5:10:10. Fertilizer proportions are listed on package labels.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use gloves when handling fertilizers.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato variety that clusters
  • Pots
  • Potting soil
  • Shovel
  • Organic matter
  • Fertilizer


  • Tomato Growers: Small Tomatoes
  • Aggie Horticulture: Tomatoes
Keywords: grow tomato clusters, tomatoes in clusters, growing cluster tomatoes

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.