Growing tomatoes is a passion of many gardeners. Nothing beats the taste of a homegrown tomato but the heat of the summer and disease will take a toll on our tomatoes, so planting a second later crop means we can enjoy ripe tomatoes on into the fall. In the Southeast early June is a good time to plant a late crop of tomatoes. It takes about 70 to 80 days to get ripe tomatoes once they are planted in the garden. In my area of the country( Middle Georgia) that means we need to have all our tomatoes planted before July 4 so that they will have time to produce ripe tomatoes before the cooler days of fall. If you have tomato plants in your garden now you only need to cut off some suckers or side shoots and root them in water to get a crop of free plants that will produce a later crop of tomatoes.
The process is simple and is much faster than starting from seed. At each leaf there is usually a side shoot that is growing next to a main stem. Use a sharp knife and cut off a side shoot that is 4 to 6 inches long from the upper part of the plant. Too big of a cutting and they will not root as easy. If you take the cutting from the upper part of the plant where you have fresh new growth it will be more likely to be free of disease. Place the cutting in a glass of water with the water covering half the stem, keeping it in a cool shady place. Within a week or two you will have roots on your new plant and you can transplant it to the garden or at least a 5 gallon container to grow more home grown tomatoes.
Transplant your new cutting into soil amended with lots of compost and keep it watered well. Grow it on as you you would any tomato plant. Planting your late crop of tomatoes away from where you have tomatoes now and a different spot from where they have been in the last 2 to 3 years will help with disease control.
Enjoy your Free tomato plants