Stages of Tomato Growth in Photos

This is a companion article featuring photos to go with my post Growing Tomatoes in a Short Season Climate. The pictures show the rapid growth of the plants better than any amount of writing can possibly do.

I planted the tomato seeds March 14 or March 15, I have forgotten exactly which day. I photographed the first seedlings March 22. I should have gotten them out sooner, but was busy.

Tomato Seedlings

The first photo shown is a double. The top half shows the germinating flat with the dome lid removed. The bottom half of the picture shows the leggy seedlings planted into their pots so they do not have to go back into the dimly lit hot frame.

First Potting Up

Initially the plants grow relatively slowly. April 6 was the day I potted them up into the taller pots. The photo above shows the plants with the right half in their new pots and the left half waiting to be potted, which I did immediately after photographing.

I discovered something was wrong with the first pack of Stupice, my favorite early tomato. Germination was poor, which is not typical. I tried a different packet and planted them along with a few other varieties about March 30. Germination was excellent.

Two weeks difference in tomato growth

Although I was annoyed at the delay, it provides a great example of the difference in two weeks growth in the plants. The middle flat shown above holding the shorter pots is the two week younger flat. This photo was taken April 21 immediately prior to potting them all up into larger pots. Notice the typical large leaves of the Stupice tomato plants.

May 2 Photo of Tomatoes Prior to Potting Up the Younger Plants

On May 2 the younger plants were ready to be planted in the gallon containers like the older plants. I did not pot up the older plants as they are difficult to handle in the larger containers when planting. This photo shows the two sizes of the tomato plants with the younger ones on the right in the green pots.

Tomato Plants Four Days After Potting Up

Four days later on May 6 you can already see greatly increased growth in all the plants. The little plants in the front on the right are rose bushes started from seed that don’t really belong in the photo, but there they are.

The First Tomato Showing Four Days of Growth

The most definitive photo showing four days growth is this one. Click on the photo for a larger image if needed. The first tomato to form on one of the Stupice plants is shown here with my hand behind it in each of the two shots. On the left is May 2 and the one on the right is May 6.

As another comparison of interest, I had exactly two dozen little tomatoes formed on the four Stupice plants before the first tomato formed on an Early Girl. These plants were all from the first planting and therefore the same age. Stupice tastes much better too!

At this point I think I will manage a ripe tomato by June, which is not easy in this climate. We will see if all goes well with this project. I am impatiently tapping my foot, waiting for more growth and that lovely red color to appear!

If you are using any of my methods, let me know how it is working for you. And if you are using other methods, let’s hear about that too!

Related Articles: Growing Tomatoes in a Short Season Climate and Planting Tomatoes in Ground with Photos

The My Favorite Plant Carnival, featured this article along with some other articles of interest.



Copyright © Lexi Sundell 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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23 thoughts on “Stages of Tomato Growth in Photos

  1. Lexi Sundell

    Nothing wrong with buying plants if you can get what you want when you want it. I prefer to grow varieties that are not necessarily available in nurseries and garden centers. None of the ones that are available are started early enough to suit me.

    I would say there is nothing like a fresh homegrown tomato!

  2. WolfQueen

    Wanna bet? Try White Chocolate Amaretto cheesecake in bed when everyone is asleep and you have the whole thing to yourself. That will beat a tomato any day of the week. I am such a hedonist.

  3. Lexi Sundell

    ARE YOU KIDDING?!? I am far too sloppy to put a cheesecake in bed, yuck! And given the option of either the cheesecake or the tomato, I would have to test both to be sure of rendering the correct decision.


  4. Tim

    I am doing a school project called tomatoesphere were we are growing tomatoes that have been in a space like condition and not all of them germinate, well actually most of them, don’t, i’m surprised how good you grow yours. I was wondering the average time it takes you to germinate the seeds?

  5. Lexi Sundell

    I put the flats in my hot frame with the soil heating cable buried in the sandy soil on which the flats rest. I have the temperature set so it is about 70 degrees. The seeds germinate quickly so I have seedlings in 4 to 6 days. I do not bury the seeds deeply in the potting mix.

    Good luck with your experiment. Can you tell me more about the “space like condition”?

  6. Hitomi

    I’m doing a biology EEI and my topic was seed germination. I’m focusing on the effects of different variables such as water salinity, etc, in the growth of tomatoes but I’m also looking at how effective coffee is as a fertilizer…
    Do you think coffee would be a effective fertilizer for tomatoes?? Would you recommend it??

  7. Lexi Sundell

    I have not used coffee grounds for germination but have used it in the soil where I grow my tomatoes. The primary purpose was to feed the red wriggler worms I had introduced, as they love coffee grounds. Originally the soil was poor with many grubs. Between adding soil amendments and establishing a thriving red wriggler population, the grubs have entirely disappeared.

  8. Patty

    Hello, I happend upon your website accidentally, I am growing tomotoes and I’m a little confused hopefully you can help. I live in Central Florida and I planted my tomatoe plant about a month ago, beefsteak varity. the plant took off beautifully, I’ve never seen such a huge I have been getting flowers, but I’m noticing that the flowers are drying up, at least that’s what it looks like, my husband says that’s what supposed to happen before the tomatoes grow. is this true? or is there something wrong? I keep getting flowers but have yet to see fruit. Please advise. thanks

  9. Lexi Sundell

    Yes, the blossoms do wither and fall off. There is supposed to be a wee green tomato when they do. However, tomatoes do not set fruit if it is too hot in the daytime or too cold at night. You might still be too hot during the day. As you go into cooler fall weather you will probably find them setting fruit. In Arizona I used to grow tomato plants outdoors that would get to be two years old, but they only set fruit in the fall and the spring due to the temperatures.

  10. Patty

    Thanks Lexi, you’re probably right we’ve been having extremely hot weather. I’ll let you know when it gets cooler whether I get tomatoes or not. thanks

  11. jason jenkins

    all this information is very halpful as this is my 1st year attempting a vegetable garden, and as well I am getting pictures, but spacing them apart as to have a better idea as far as growing more for the next season, my question then I guess, would be does it help if you plant your tomatoes along side other veggies, or am I better off having a seperate plot designated for just tomatoes?

  12. brendan

    i’m doing a science project to see whether growing toamtoes in a field is better than growing tomatoes in a greenhouse. Can anyone tell me the advantages and disadvantages in growing in a greenhouse compared to growingn in a field

  13. Alexis Griffith

    The information from this page really helped…… im engaged in an experiment that is determining the best pH level for plants to grow fastest and healthiest…… by comparing the growth of your plants to mine, i was able to cut the work i needed to do in half!!!! lex

  14. Pingback: Tomato Growing Cycle

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