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Growing Tomato

(Lycopersicon esculentum)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    S P P P            

(Best months for planting Tomato in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. P = Plant direct in garden where they are to grow.


  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 61°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 16 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 8-17 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Asparagus, Chervil,Carrot, Celery, Chives, Parsley, Marigold, Basil
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Rosemary, Potatoes, Fennel
  • a) Seedlings
  • b) 6 weeks old
  • c) Tomato Roma (acid free)

TOMATOES


There is nothing like the taste of a freshly picked tomato, warm from the sunshine. In the smallest of gardens or even an apartment with a window-box, it is worth growing at least one tomato plant for the pleasure it will give you. They will grow in pots, troughs or even hanging baskets.

Tomatoes should be grown in shelter or under cover in cool climates.


Tomatoes need feeding. In a garden bed, compost and mulching will produce a crop from one or two plants. In containers, use some suitable long term fertiliser pellets or feed regularly when you water. Feeding also improves the flavour of the fruit.


When you plant out, put the seedlings in a deep holes, up to the top set of leaves. The covered stems will put out extra roots and you will have a stronger, healthier plant.

There are many different varieties of tomatoes but they all have one of two growth habits.

Determinate:

Compact bush growth, stops at a specific height and useful for containers. If left without supporting stakes, they will form a dense carpet which excludes weeds and keeps the soil cool and damp.

Indeterminate:

Will continue growing a main stem, or vine until stopped by frost. The majority of heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate.

Both types need stakes to give them some support otherwise they will sprawl across the garden.

Varieties include Acid-free, Bush, Tall, Cherry, Yellow and many others.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Tomato

Use in sauces, with fried meals, in sandwiches. Can be frozen whole or in pieces.


Your comments and tips

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20 Apr 15, Jane (Australia - temperate climate)
We had a great crop of mixed tomatoes this year but could you please tell me why the skins on the tomatoes are tough. Many thanks
21 Apr 15, TOM TOM TOMATO (Australia - temperate climate)
they would be hybrids which are bred for a tough skin for transport so they don't bruise.
13 Apr 15, Mars (Australia - temperate climate)
can I grow burnley bounty tomato in my area
10 Apr 15, Helen (Australia - temperate climate)
My Roma tomato bush is laden with fruit but don't seem to be turning red as this is my first time growing these how long does it take for them to turn red please.thanks for your time
12 Apr 15, ALFONZO (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
how long is a piece of string ?
12 Apr 15, Rob (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
About 7 weeks from when the fruit first appear, varies depending on soil and climate but that's the average.
21 Apr 15, Alan c (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi .Roma normally put out a lot of laterals. If they are all left on the vine not much will ripen quickly as the plant makes more trusses. To ripen I pinch most if not all of the new laterals off , the plant put energy into ripening the green tomatoes . A week or so later new laterals appear with more flowers etc. I do this with all indeterminate plants to make them ripen when I want them to .
08 Apr 15, naymi (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Sydney and currently have a thriving tomato plant still producing tomatoes. With the temperatures dropping, I want to know what to do with the plant. Do I just let it slowly die? Will it actually die in winter temps in Sydney? (not sure if we get actual 'frost') Thanks :)
10 Apr 15, Mikaela (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Naymi, If your plants still have little green tomatoes, you can dig up the whole plant (including the root) and hang it upside down in a dry covered area. Some (not all, unfortunately) of the green tomatoes will still ripen over a few weeks. Here's a vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtN9Ud17tjM (watch out for rot as the rains have picked up.) Also, tomatoes deplete nitrogen, so I like to plant a pea/bean over winter to recharge the soil. I just plop a bean seed in when I dig up my tomato plant. In contrast, let the nitro-fixer stay in place and till the dying plant into the soil so it can get all the benefits as it composts in place.
29 Mar 15, Neil (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I have established my first veggie garden and have just won the war with caterpillars attacking my tomatoe plants by spaying them with tablespoon molasses and a teaspoon of dish liquid mixed with a litre of water and spayed on. However I am writing to ask about whether tomatoes need to planted fresh each year or can a tomatoes bush flower and fruit year after year. Any thoughts would be very appreciated. Many thanks.
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i amm growing gross lisse variety of tomatoes they are pretty huge on the vines but none of them are ripening as of yet ..what should i do theplants are a fairly average size with los of leaves and flowers and unripe fruits..

- stella


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