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Growing Tomato

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S P P P            

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

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. P = Plant in the garden.

  • 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
    a) Seedlings
  • b) 6 weeks old
    b) 6 weeks old
  • c) Tomato Roma (acid free)
    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

12 Nov 15, Glenn (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Kierian, I think the most likely reason they aren't doing too well is that you have planted them in March or thereabouts and in your type of climate, tomato season is finished. A general rule of thumb for planting in temperate climate is to wait until after Melbourne Cup Day, when hopefully all the frosts are gone. so now would well and truly be the right time to have another go, also don't over prune them you really only need to pinch the laterals and maybe just not so much fertiliser, a little bit of potash occasionally will improve your fruit and only water at the base of the plant ,not overhead. Hope this helps. Kind regards, Glenn
25 Oct 15, Margaret Winton (Australia - tropical climate)
could your please name varieties of tomatoes' that will grow and bear in tropical Queensland summer
10 Sep 15, Prometheus (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I am also from the Central Highlands, though this will be my first year trying tomatoes here. A lady with many years of gardening experience recently told me that tomatoes shouldn't be planted out here until Melbourne Cup day (5th November). It's simply too cold before then, especially overnight, and late frosts are still possible in October. For best results you should raise seedlings beside a sunny window or in a greenhouse in late September - early October, to plant out in early November. Or simply buy seedlings from a nursery - this is a much easier option but the number of varieties they sell is limited. I have researched on cold-tolerant varieties for this season and here are three that I am trying this year: Siberian, Stupice, and Swift. You may want to try to look for these varieties as they will probably be better adapted for this climate. Generally, any variety from Northern Europe is probably better to plant than typical Australian varieties, which are bred for hotter climates. Finally, make sure you are feeding them correctly. A high Nitrogen fertiliser is necessary early on, but once it puts on flowers you want to only feed it with one high in Phosphorus and Potassium. There are very few of these fertilisers that seem to be available at the big box stores (many have way too much N) but something like liquid potash or a 'flowers / bloom' labelled fertiliser should work. Make sure to include some organic fertiliser or organic compost when planting out your seeds / seedlings as well, so that your soil is not deficient in trace elements. I hope at least some of this advice helps and that you end up with a bumper crop this year. Tomatoes are probably harder to grow here than elsewhere but I have also been told there are less pest problems than up towards the tropics. Best of luck!
04 Sep 15, max (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Ballarat ( or just a bit south) I can grow everything in the vegie line except tomatos.I use the no dig garden method and have tried different methods to grow them with mediocre results. I would be happy with some expert advise on what are the best varieties and methods please.
11 Nov 15, Glenn (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Max, I also live in Ballarat, grow my own tomato plants and have lots of success, have number of varieties, Grosse Lisse, German Johnson, Beefsteak, Black Krim, Black Cherry and more would be happy to give you some plants and help. Kind regards, Glenn
08 Aug 15, anna (Australia - temperate climate)
I brought some tomatoes inside last year and my grandson picked some that were not as red as the rest. I left the not so red ones on the kitchen bench and they became redder over a period of days. I love homegrown tomatoes - they are a joy to cook with - they seem to go redder and are tastier than shop bought tomates
08 Aug 15, Lola (Canada - Zone 3a Temperate Short Summer climate)
my winter tomatoes are starting to ripen, but they are rotting at the top of the fruit, any solutions?
24 Jul 15, brent (Australia - temperate climate)
Looking at growing roma tomatoes this year and looking at doing multiple crops. How long after should i plant the 2nd crop of roma tomatoes to replace them once they have finished? So as soon as they die i can pull them out and put in new transplants.
28 Jun 15, Tassy Michele (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hiya Michael, I believe yellow tomato varieties are low in acid, also find that they are sweeter (probably due to a lack of acid) and very tasty. Have grown them and made Tomato Relish for an arthritic friend -- loved, loved, loved the relish (hadn't eaten home-made relish for years due to acid There are other fruits & vegetables that are yellow fleshed/low acid. Had an uncle grow Yellow Raspberries & yes, they taste the same as red ones. Have purchased yellow tomato plants at our local Bunnings -- don't forget to keep some seeds to grown your own plants from. Hope this helps. Good Luck!!!!
27 Jun 15, Econ (USA - Zone 7b climate)
I planted a tumbling Tom from nursery in mid April and it is doing great. If I had to do over I would have bought 5 or 6. I planted about 8 different tomatoe plants with 7 of them indertiminate. So far the best are Lemon Boy. They melt in your mouth!
Showing 1 - 10 of 371 comments

Post a question, comment or tip about Tomato

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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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.

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