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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)


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.


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.


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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05 Oct 14, Kika (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
I have a few tomato plants, they seem to flower a lot but no fruit comes from the flowers. What am I doing wrong? Too much/little water?
22 Sep 14, clive sea lake (Australia - arid climate)
Justin Bendigo, planted out my( seed grown ) tomatoes last week . when I consider frosts are waning .I harvest the seed from the best looking fruit put them down in punnets about July then transplant up into pots .this years plants were about 30/40 cm high I always plant them deep about the 2nd leaf (remove bottom leaves)
21 Sep 14, justin (Australia - temperate climate)
hi I live in Bendigo Victoria when is the best time to plant tomatos? thanks.
22 Aug 14, allen lee (Australia - temperate climate)
Tried the new tomato seed Black cherry found it a prolific fruit bearer with very tasty fruit was away a month and these tomatoes when I returned few had ripened and were very sweet they weren't watered and relied on nature for water.great tomato.
18 Aug 14, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Can I grow tomatoes directly into soil in late August in South Victoria, a temperate climate
09 Aug 14, Deb (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I'm looking at growing tomatoes in containers - not got a lot of space on my balcony & I have so many veggie plants already. What would be the best small plant which is delicious. I've had trouble in the past, it6's a bit hit & miss?
26 Jul 14, Deepak Bhatia (New Zealand - temperate climate)
How much sunlight does the tomatoe plant need Thanks
21 Jul 14, Hester (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
I live in the Klein Karoo, winter everythig dies with frost and in the summer the birds eats everything the sun don't scorge. I want to put up a hot house. Which variety is best for growing in a hothouse?
05 Jun 14, mike millar (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I grow tomatoes and peppers in my small town house garden. The fruit of both of these plants get stung by something leaving a black dot on the outside. When you open the fruit the inside is all rotten. What can I do to stop this from happening. Regards Mike
02 Jun 14, christo (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Hi there, I 've got tomatoes,1.8m high.They suffered a lot fr red spider bug.I treated it insecticide called MICTA sucsesfully.They bear nice fruit bit the new flowers get dry before making a little fruit. Can somebody tel me WHY.
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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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