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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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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.
15 May 14, allan nicolas (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My tomatoe bushes grow real healthy and get flowers and only some turn into fruit but then the fruit dosent grow and ripen Help please
12 Jul 14, Yuri Dreason (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
You grow wrong type for your climate. Try a good heirloom such as Reisetomate or a cherry tomato such as yellow pear.
09 May 14, Bernie Bernhardt (Australia - tropical climate)
I live in Thailand and would like to know the names of tomatoes best grown in this region. Thank you, Bernie.
27 Mar 14, (Australia - temperate climate)
when I pick my appolo tomatoes they leak juice and when I cut them open they have a brown strip through the centre
24 Mar 14, Ronald mayanda (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
How do i protect my tomato plants from getting burnt in winter with coldness
01 Mar 14, Stephen Matthews (Australia - temperate climate)
I have been told that some varieties of tomatoes can be grown successfully in winter. Has anyone done so? What varieties can be used and what special provisions...e.g. frost protection?
02 Mar 14, Paul (Australia - arid climate)
I grow tomatoes year round in wire cages with shade cloth around them to protect from too much sun in summer and frost in autumn and winter. Not found one type to be useless but the best are San Marzarno, Apollo, Roma and any of the cherries. Be careful of overwatering and fungal disease in areas other than arid zones. I make sure the cage is large enough for the plant to have good air circulation and room for the flowers to form fruit, no less than 1.5m long ring lock joined to form a circle. Chooks scratch around the outside and keep earwigs etc away.
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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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