You can read all about Wall-O-Water mini greenhouses, early tomato varieties, special fertilization methods and countless other ways to get the jump on your garden tomato season and try to implement them with varying degrees of success depending on the weather and rainfall in your area. Or, you can follow my easy, step-by-step instructions for the earliest garden tomatoes right here. It’s your choice.
This is the easiest, fastest (by about 2 months!), and foolproof method. It’s a little like scoring a deal on a cute pair of shoes from Target: you might not want to tell anyone how you did it, but you’ll feel a little guilty if you don’t. That’s my disclosure.
Are you ready?
1) Buy a medium to large tomato plant from a nursery with tomatoes already growing on the plant. Frankly, I don’t think these plants transplant very well, nor do I think they thrive in the garden as well as smaller plants, but don’t worry, because that won’t matter. I bought my beautiful plant in an 8″ pot for only $6.95.
2) Protect your plant from the elements and very gradually harden it off to sunlight and wind. This is important! You don’t want your plant to be stressed when you plant it outside! Most nursery tomato plants have been grown under glass or plastic. Moving them outside into direct sunlight (and even a little wind) can stunt the plant’s growth.
3) Once your plant is hardened off, place it in a protected area of your garden until you are ready to plant it with the rest of your tomato plants.
4) On planting day — this is important — forget to plant your large and pampered tomato plant. In order to get the most ripe tomatoes in the fastest amount of time, also forget to water the plant for approximately 4 days. It is helpful if these four days are also hot and sunny.
5) Wait 7 days.
6) Harvest red ripe tomatoes and brag to neighbors and friends.*
*Disclaimer: This article neither defends nor denies the use of artificial growing methods. Due to challenged diameters, tomatoes are a potential choking hazard for children under 6. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family; vines are toxic to humans and animals. Methodology is not intended to be a long-term growing strategy nor does it survive cost benefit analysis.