Cherry tomatoes have different varieties and Sungold tomatoes are among them. Sungold tomatoes are becoming very popular. They are tiny fruit-bearing crops having a golden orange color and are known as the sweetest tomato. Sungold cherry tomato is an indeterminate cherry tomato plant.
Container gardening is a fun activity and growing your favorite crop in a small and compact space is always very pleasing. Urban gardeners have shown much interest in growing cherry tomatoes because they are easy to grow, can be grown inside containers, and have a ridiculously delicious taste.
Growing cherry tomatoes is a lot of fun and we shall be learning in this article about how to grow Sungold cherry tomatoes in a container. We shall be explaining each and every step involved from start to harvest and then storing. But before this let’s have a look at the history and basic information about Sungold tomatoes.
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes Plants
The sweetest of all the cherry tomatoes and it is also “Like a party in your mouth”. This has a tart flavor. It is best for salads, sauces, and quiches or it can be eaten fresh as a snack. Its foliage is toxic so avoid eating that.
Sungold plant ripens early and produces lots of fruit, twice a week once they start producing fruit. Its fruit size is 1 inch and it grows in bunches. They are resistant to Verticillium and Fusarium.
History of Sungold cherry tomatoes
It is known that the Sungold tomato was introduced to America by the Japanese. Some say that Red cherry is the parent of Sungold. It is also supposed that Brandywine heirloom, is its parent. But these are all speculations.
Before Planting Sungold cherry tomatoes
Sungold cherry tomatoes are perfect plants to be grown in containers, grow bags, pots, and small spaces. Growing in containers and pots has its own benefits, it keeps the plant out of the reach of pests. You can place them anywhere you want. Container plants are easy to be taken care of.
You can start the plant from a good quality seed or you can also start from seedlings. Another method is to start with a Sungold tomato by making slices of the fruit and then planting it. Start with a smaller container or a pot and when the seedlings grow to about 7 to 8 inches you can shift them to a larger container or pot.
This plant will keep on giving fruit throughout the season until the next frost.
Choosing the Right Container
Choosing the right-sized container is very important for Sungold cherry tomato plants. The Sun gold tomato is an indeterminate variety and it grows to about 7 feet tall. So choose your container wisely before starting the process.
The container size should be at least 14 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep. This is the size of an average 5 Gallon container. As the plant grows big, so this sized container will be suitable. Grow one plant in this container and avoid overcrowding. This ensures the healthy growth of the plant and also it keeps unwanted life away.
Seed or seedlings? How to Start Sungold Tomatoes?
Starting from seeds is a lengthy process. If you have 6 to 8 weeks before frost and you love to start the growing process indoors, I recommend you start from the seeds. If you are not patient enough or don’t have time, you can buy seedlings online or from any good plant store near you.
Other ways to start Sungold Tomatoes
There are a couple of other ways to start your Sungold Cherry Tomato plant. The first one is to start from the slices and the second one is to start from the seeds of the Sun gold tomato itself.
You can start sowing the starter seeds in small containers indoors, this gives you plenty of time before the growing season begins. Use a starter seed kit and plant them about ¼ inches deep in the soil. Your soil should remain wet for good results.
Seedlings will start to appear within one to two weeks. Indoor seed germination will also help you to save your plant from frost. Use any kind of fluorescent or glow light for better growth. 16 hours of light per day is necessary for the plant. Do not keep the light on for the whole day and night.
Transplant to next pot
Once the seedlings are about 3 to 5 inches long, you can shift them to other small pots. You can skip this step and directly plant the seedlings in the main container in your garden, but it is recommended that you do this step as this ensures full growth and strong root development of the plant.
You can also use styrofoam cups for this step. Just make sure to have some holes beneath the cup. Until this stage, the plant does not require any fertilizer, so don’t worry about that. You can think about adding fertilizer when the plant is about one month old.
Prepare your soil for Sungold Tomatoes
Prepare the soil for better results. A High-quality and organic potting mix is important. You can use coco peat, peat moss, vermiculite, crab meal, bone meal, etc. Use a suitable mix. Put it in the final container and transplant your plant in it. It should be rich moist organic soil.
Find the right Place for Container
The place you choose for the container must be a sunny spot. It must receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day. It would be much better if the direct sunlight time is up to 8 hours a day.
Shift to the Sungold Tomatoes final Container
Once the seedlings are ready to be transported to the bigger and final container, carefully remove them from the pots. Dig a deep hole in the container soil, a minimum of 4 to 6 inches deep, and bury the seedling. It is better to plant them deeply because this makes the roots stronger.
Once shifted there, gently press the soil around the plant and water it thoroughly.
Sun gold tomato plant height and support
The next step is to support the Sun gold plant because this will grow to about 7 feet tall. Proper support is needed before it starts to grow big. The best thing to use is tomato cages. You can also use wooden sticks or stakes for this purpose. Use one cage for one plant.
One 5 Gallon container should hold a single plant only. If you are using multiple containers try to keep them at least 3 feet apart. This will prevent them from diseases.
Water needs of your plant
The Sungold plant needs to be watered well throughout the season. Especially, if you are growing them in containers, you have to be very careful about the water needs of your plant, as container soils dry up very quickly. Soil should remain wet all the time, so water it often and do not saturate it.
As container soil gets dry quickly, mulching is the best way to retain the moisture level of the soil. This technique also helps in maintaining the temperature of the soil. Use wood chips, hay, dry leaves, or sawdust for this purpose.
Look for the weeds
Weeds will take away nutrients and water from the soil so keep a good eye on them and remove them whenever you find them.
Adding fertilizers at least twice a week is important throughout the growing season. You can use potassium-rich fertilizers. Phosphorus, nitrogen, and calcium are also good for better growth.
You don’t need to prune the plant if you are growing them in tomato cages. But if you are using stakes, look for suckers and side shoots. Removing them will ensure proper air circulation through the plant and keep the plant safe from diseases.
When to pick Sungold tomatoes
Once you see the fruit color, it’s a sign for you to start harvesting the crop. They will start to ripe from this stage. The fruit will be there in form of clusters. Sun gold is an indeterminate tomato so it will continue to produce fruit throughout the summer season.
Pick the fruit as soon as you see them ripe. It can be eaten fresh and it is also used in ketchup, sauces, stews, quiche, etc. it could also be added to different dishes for flavor. They can be a perfect addition to salads as well. Avoid eating the foliage of tomatoes because this could be toxic.
Save your fruit from birds
Once the tomatoes are near ready to harvest, there is a danger of birds starting pecking holes in the fruit. Such tomatoes become useless. So you must watch out for this problem as well. It’s better to cover the plant with a bird’s net. You can also use plastic owls and put them in your garden near the plant. This will scare the birds away.
After picking up the fruit, store them in a shady place, at room temperature and let them ripen fully. Temperatures less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit will damage the flavor that’s why do not refrigerate them. Temperature more than 80-degree Fahrenheit also spoils the tomatoes.
Common diseases and pests of Sungold Tomato plant and their cure
If you see dark green mottling of the plant leaves, know that this is a sign of the virus. If that is the case remove the affected plant and also those plants that were on the sides of the affected one.
It is a common disease in Sun gold plants. If you see concentric brown rings appearing on the lower leaves of the plant, that is a sign of this disease. Leaves fall off of the plant. There are two stages of blight, early blight, and late blight. This is a fungal disease and it can spread to other plants also.
To avoid this, ensure proper air circulation for your plants. Your garden should be neat and clean, it must not contain diseased plant compost. Do not try to grow the same species of plant in the same place for 3 years.
This is also a fungal disease common during the hot season. Early symptoms include the appearance of yellow leaves. If you see this sign immediately destroy the affected plant.
This is a bacterial disease and it can cause death to your plant. Rapid wilting is the sign of this disease. Avoid this disease by not growing the same family species in the same spot for 4 to 5 years.
Blossom End Rot
The blossom end of the plant starts to grow large brown or black spots. This disease is caused because of calcium deficiency in the plant. To avoid this, test the calcium level of your soil. Ensure proper pH level of the soil. Mulching also helps reduce the chances of this disease.
If the fruit of your plant is cracking, it’s a sign that the tomato plant did not receive even moisture. To avoid this, water thoroughly and deeply once or twice a week. Mulching is also helpful.
Wilt or stunted plant or swelling on roots are the signs that your plant has been attacked by this organism. The cure for this is to plant Nema gone near the tomato plant and not use infested soil for the plant.
Green-colored and large-sized caterpillars can damage the plant. Destroy them whenever you see them
This is a sucking insect and it could be green, red, or black colored. Spray them with some insecticidal spray or you can introduce lady beetles or wasps to your garden. They will feed on them and this way you can get rid of these insects.