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 = Sow seed

  • 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 beside): Asparagus, Chervil,Carrot, Celery, Chives, Parsley, Marigold, Basil
  • Avoid growing close to: Rosemary, Potatoes, Fennel, Cucumber
  • 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

24 Nov 21, Dan (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Good morning sorry to bother you I just want to know about planting tomato in Capetown what is best time? thanks a lot (Gardenate says: Make sure that you select your zone at the top of the tomato page, then you can see which months are suitable)
06 Nov 21, Clara (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have good success with oxhearts and rouge de marmande. They fruit all through winter too and I'm more southerly than you. You can get these varieties in DT Brown seeds from Reject Shop for $2 a packet. Mine self seed after the first season and I'm about to harvest a pair of oxhearts weighing 300gms each. They don't seem to revert to wild tomato types when self seeding which a lot of other varieties do. Cherry toms are prolific fruiters and easy but a PITA to harvest and not useful for sandwiches. But perfect to toss into a salad. I prefer the larger types. I harvest the toms as soon as I get a small blush of pink/yellow on the skin and then they ripen perfectly inside without inviting pests. But you need to let them get the colouring enzymes going on the vine first in a small amount for this to work.
06 Nov 21, Clara (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I never use anything and get large crops. Maybe I am just exceptionally lucky? Who knows.Try tomato fruit bags. These are fine mesh bags you tie over the green fruit trusses that prevents insects from getting at them. If you can sew you can probably make a heap out of an old fine net curtain to save $$$ as they tend to be rather pricey to buy. Just a rectangular bag with a drawstring large enough to house the truss.
01 Nov 21, John Ellis (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Tomatoes grew well last season until whitefly arrived. I found that Pyrethrum spray only reduced the numbers for a week or two and then it was basically ineffective. Suggestions as to effective control?
04 Nov 21, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I basically only grow cherry tomatoes, they are fairly disease resistant. Bigger tomatoes the fly and grubs just feed on them especially when the warmer wet weather comes.
03 Sep 21, Pete (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just planted some bush beans, can someone tell me approx how high they grow? Cheers and thnks in advance
07 Sep 21, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
A question about beans in the tomato section. Beans (dwarf) about 300-400mm. Bush tomatoes 1m.
27 Aug 21, Anthony Jennings (USA - Zone 13b climate)
Last year I planted cherry tomatoes from seedlings in January. I saved some seeds. When and how should I plant the seeds to develop seedlings for the coming year and how do I plant the seeds?
01 Sep 21, (USA - Zone 6b climate)
Plant in a fine potting mix or similar soil (light and free draining) or a mixture of soil and potting mix about 1/4
09 Aug 21, Lonnie quick (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Plants are growing great but not too many tomatoes are setting. Any ideas? it has been a 100 degrees (37C) almost every day. I water every day with drip about 1 1/2 gallons per plant thank you
Showing 1 - 10 of 729 comments

Tomatoes need to be planted deep and then watered deep. A really good watering 3-4 times a week. If your climate is really hot and or dry then maybe plant a bit earlier to avoid the hottest part of summer.

- Anonymous

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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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