Growing your own tomato tree from seed to sapling in simple containers (Willem Van Cotthem)

Many people in the drylands are looking for a fruit tree species to grow in their small kitchen garden.  Many citizens would like to have a such nice fruit tree close to their house.  Here is my recommendation : try to grow a tomato tree (Cyphomandra betacea).

It is extremely easy !

Let me show how I started on a windowsill at home in Belgium, where seedlings and young plants have to be kept inside during wintertime, the species being a tropical plant, not frost-tolerant at all.

One day I bought two tree tomatoes (the fruit of the tomato tree) at the local supermarket and then it all started.

A tree tomato (Cyphomandra betacea) from my local Belgian supermarket (Photo WVC)
Cross-section of the fruit with its dark seeds, like in a regular tomato (Photo WVC)
The reddish pulp contains hundreds of seeds (Photo WVC)
Washed seeds loose their red colour (Photo WVC)
Seeds germinating in a tray with potting soil on my windowsill (Photo WVC)
First transplantation of seedlings in another tray with potting soil (Photo WVC)
Seedlings are growing quickly in the sunshine (Photo WVC)
I kept them moistened by putting the tray in a ordinary plastic bag, my mini-greenhouse (Photo WVC)
Second transplantation in a deeper icecream tray (Photo WVC)
Young tomato tree saplings are now growing quite rapidly (Photo WVC)
After transplantation of every single sapling in a yogurt pot, the growth is really spectacular (Photo WVC)
Potting soil in the yogurt pot is kept humid for a longer time by keeping the lid on the pot after cutting a small hole in it for the stem (Photo WVC)


From here off I leave it to you to take good care of your young tomato tree when it is planted in your frost free garden (or in a frost free veranda in a bigger container ?).

Wishing you good luck and a multitude of tree tomatoes after  3-4 years !



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.