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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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16 Dec 14, Kevin Spencer (Australia - temperate climate)
Try Dipel, it is an environmentally friendly product which is dynamite with caterpillars.
13 Dec 14, kevin spencer (Australia - temperate climate)
My tomatoes (mortgage lifter) are growing and flowering but not setting fruit. Are they dependent on bees? If so can I manually pollinate?
29 Nov 14, Michael J Garrett (Australia - tropical climate)
As I suffer from Gout.I am looking for a non or low acidic tomato plant,which will grow in Cairns Qld Humid Clmate. Regards Mike
20 Nov 14, Shaun (Australia - temperate climate)
Try scattering a handful of lime around the base of your plants and water it in and also as Derbyiter mentioned, some ash from burnt, untreated wood. Has done wonders for my tomatoes. Comfrey tea will set them free.
13 Nov 14, Greg (Australia - temperate climate)
Can over feeding with seasol curl new growth leaves on tomatoes.
30 Oct 14, Morgan (Australia - temperate climate)
My tomato plant has been attacked by green caterpillars. I have been picking them off by hand but they are prolific. What else can I do?
27 Oct 14, Maxine Palmer (Australia - arid climate)
I live in Cloncurry. It seams to hot for the bees. Can I pollinate the flowers myself. New to gardening.
24 Oct 14, Chris (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I planted my tomatoes two months ago in raised beds with a lot of rabbit manure. They already have a lot of fruits on them and have grown very strong stems. Thank you rabbits. Chris 23/10/14
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)
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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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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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