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How to Grow Tumbler Tomatoes

By Deborah Waltenburg ; Updated September 21, 2017
Huge tomato flavor in travel-size packages

The Tumbler tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is a determinate, cherry tomato variety that matures within 49 days of planting and provides seven to 10 days of harvest. Healthy Tumbler plants can provide up to six pounds of sweet, smooth-skinned fruits that grow up to 1 1/4 inches in circumference. Perfect for snacking, salads and pasta, Tumbler tomatoes grow best in locations that provide full sunlight and healthy, well-draining soil, and adapt well to containers, window boxes and hanging baskets.

Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last expected frost for your location.

Fill peat pots with lightly moistened potting mix and sow one to two seeds in each pot, at a depth of 1/4 inch.

Cover the seeds lightly with soil and water to set.

Place seed pots in a warm location and cover with a plastic bag to help pots retain moisture and heat during germination. Once the seeds sprout, remove the plastic bag.

Set the seedlings in a location that offers full sunlight and constant temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F.

Water the seed pots lightly to maintain constant moisture without oversaturating the soil.

Remove the weakest seedling from each pot when plants develop one to two sets of true leaves.

Harden off established seedlings before planting outdoors. Set the plants outdoors in the sun for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the time span until the plants spend the entire day outside.

Prepare the permanent location by incorporating equal amounts of sand and organic compost or peat with a pitchfork or garden tiller. Work the amendments into the soil at a depth of at least 6 inches.

Dig holes with the trowel large enough so that the top of the peat pot sits at least 1 inch below the soil line.

Place each tomato plant into its hole and pack soil around the pot and base of the stem.

Insert a stake into the ground next to the seedling. Stakes should be in place at planting time to avoid injuring roots later in the season. As the Tumbler vine grows, tie it to the stake with strips of soft cloth, such as cut up T-shirts or pantyhose.

Water tomato plants with at least 1 inch of water per week, increasing to twice per week during periods of drought.

Apply one tablespoon of water soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer per plant once at planting time, according to manufacturer's directions. The University of Illinois Extension recommends making two more applications, three and six weeks after planting.


Things You Will Need

  • Tumbler tomato seeds
  • Peat pots
  • Seed-starting potting mix
  • Organic compost or peat
  • Pitchfork or garden tiller
  • Trowel
  • Water
  • Stakes
  • Soft strips of cloth
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • Applying a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant helps with moisture retention and keeps soil-borne diseases at bay.


  • Avoid watering foliage of tomato plants; residual moisture can attract water-borne diseases.

About the Author


Based in Ohio, Deborah Waltenburg has been writing online since 2004, focusing on personal finance, personal and commercial insurance, travel and tourism, home improvement and gardening. Her work has appeared on numerous blogs, industry websites and media websites, including "USA Today."