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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 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

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.
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!!!!
21 Jun 15, Brian (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Don't know about the wrong time. I am just planting mine now, for Winter, and every year have an abundant crop. Summer, too many bugs. Mine last year were weli over 10ft high. Had to use a ladder to get the top ones Another tip, do NOT water the whole plant just the base. They don't like it. If no bees, use a feather to cross pollinate yourself. We had to do that on Manus Island as no bees there. Worked a treat.
07 Jun 15, kierian (Australia - temperate climate)
I'm trying to grow oxheart tomatoes and its been 12 weeks since they have been planted. I've steaked them and they are growing lushly and beautifully, flowering a lot too. I've even been keeping lower branches and suckers snipped but alas no fruit yet. I feed them every week with power grow for vegie gardens also. What else can i do to get these plants to bear fruit?
22 Jun 15, Paul (Australia - temperate climate)
Too cool for tomatoes, they need about 25 degrees or more consistent day temps to set fruit. Bees not required; they will grow in closed green houses!
09 Jun 15, dieter (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Kierian, it could be that there are not enough bees around to pollinate them, but it could also be just the time of the year, or the plants are still too young. Do they have flowers on them?
Showing 1 - 10 of 323 comments

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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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