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Growing Tomato

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

(Best months for growing Tomato in Australia - temperate regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings.

August: Frost tender. Start undercover

  • 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 16°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm apart
  • Harvest in 8-17 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Asparagus, Chervil,Carrot, Celery, Chives, Parsley, Marigold, Basil
  • Avoid growing close to: 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

11 Jun 17, LenM (Australia - temperate climate)
Planning to grow some heirloom cherry tomatoes when the time is right. Has anyone here in Vic -Aus had any success with the Florida Weave as a support method .? Cheers
19 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
They are grown similar to that commercially in Qld. They put a post in the ground each end of the row. Then 2" square posts each 5 m or so. As the plants grow they run wires along both sides of the plants. They then crimp the two wires together at the post. Rows are about 3-4' apart. I have done something similar this year - 2 posts 8' apart with a post in the middle. Run twine each 12" and pull together and tie at the middle post. Saves tying 10 times to a stake for each plant.
15 Jun 17, Giovanni (Australia - temperate climate)
I haven't done exactly that but have seen it done. The advantages of it a easy vine management, easy picking, and more airflow which will reduce fungal problems.
08 Jun 17, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I haven't grown tomatoes much - usually fairly cheap where I live. I have grown cherry tomatoes the last few years at the end of the growing season (Mar- Oct) and just let them spread all over the garden. Have had pretty good crops. This year I have staked them. I have planted Roma and Cherry next to each other. Done this twice. A row with 3 Cherry and 1 Roma. I know the Cherry tomatoes are Cherry because I just use them when they germinate from one that had fallen on the ground. The Roma I purchased seeds - can't be totally sure they are Roma. On a couple of the Cherry plants they start out big spread out leaves and then turn to very tight bunched leaves. You would think they are turning into Roma. IS there some deficiency in the soil to do this. And the Roma are just producing a lot of growth and little fruit. The fruit on 1 Roma is like a Cherry - very small. The weather here has turned cold for here, Night temps have fallen from low 20's to low teens in the space of 4-5 weeks. Last night was about 8. Anybody have any clues to what is happening to my tomatoes. Help!!!
11 Jun 17, Darren (Australia - temperate climate)
Try some potash on your tomatoes. This will encourage them to fruit. And cut down any other fertilizer you might be using. As Sean has said, there could be too much nitrogen.
19 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have usually dug in some mulch and let it rot, put a bit of lime on and some fert N- 15.3 - P-4 - K 11.7. I know this is high N and will be using one with about 12 N 3.5 P and 14 K in the future (recommended by fert company that supplies to a lot of commercial growers of veggies around here). From the above I generally have very strong looking plants - I will say I realise I should cut back on the N and will be in the future. I have just started to make some compost the last few months. On a replanting now, I'm putting on about 3 x 20 liter buckets of compost/mulch per sq meter and adding lime and some fert. Will see how that goes - still probably too much N. I'm also adding some trace elements and Epsom salts to my soil. It should be good soil lol
09 Jun 17, Sean (Australia - temperate climate)
Cherry tomatoes do tend to have smaller, more deeply cut leaves and Roma has larger flatter leaves. This is not a rule though as they are both derived from the same wild species. If you have a lot of large, leafy growth it could indicate an excess of nitrogen which will stimulate leaf growth at the expense of fruit. trust this helps.
11 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Thanks. My plants are a bit the opposite. Cherry big and leafy and roma tight and small leaves. I planted some cherry tomatoes in late Jan in a section of the garden (against a fence that runs E-W) that has sun in Jan-Feb and starts to be shaded in March April etc. The soil was quite good and the plants grew well. When they were 5' high I trimmed the top - this just made them sucker big time. I kept trimming the top off. This is what is happening now with my first plants - just a lot of spindly growth - the romas. My second lot of tomatoes 3 cherry and a roma in a row - a couple (cherry) are growing quite strong (that are a bit shaded by some nearby corn). A bit funny this year - in some ways the more I try to do things better is causing problems. Have done a lot of reading and will try a few things different next year.
27 May 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
People say to plant tomatoes in a deep hole. Another options is to hill the plant up with soil as it grows. I do this with beans corn and tomatoes.
27 May 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Search around the internet to find a guide for planting in your region. A lot of veggies have different planting times depending on where you live in Aussie.
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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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