Growing Tomato

Lycopersicon esculentum : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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

(Best months for growing Tomato in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • 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
  • Tomatoes on plant
  • 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 like lots of food! 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 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

08 May 24, Carla Stacy (USA - Zone 7b climate)
I’m growing tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket. I have flowers but no fruit. Planted April 19th. Last year same thing lots of flowers but no fruit. What am I doing wrong?
27 May 24, Victor (USA - Zone 9b climate)
Just lightly tap the flowers in order to pollinate them and they will form tomatoes.
19 May 24, s ott (USA - Zone 3b climate)
Try watering with a mixture of epsom salt (1 Tbsp per gal of water). Also, if you,ve seen the banana peel water combination I swear by these two methods. I have the biggest plants and the tomatoes are just loaded on every single plant. It works great for peppers too!
12 May 24, Texas Grown (USA - Zone 10a climate)
Maybe you don't have enough pollenators. Have flowers around. Make sure you're not spraying something that kills or repels pollinators.
11 May 24, (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Try a bit of pot ash or potassium.
21 Mar 24, Louise Shaw (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Can I grow tomatoes all year round and do they reproduce
05 Apr 24, (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Read the notes here for cool mountain areas. Plant spring 8-17 until harvest and then pick for a few months ??? Tomatoes left on the ground will self germinate when the soil temperature is right for germination.
19 Mar 24, warren (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
i would like to grow tomatos over winter in a glass house..any tips on what type
02 Apr 24, faith Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Of course there are lots of factors (soil watering etc.), I\ll point out a few you may have issues with. I'm a little concerned about your night time temperatures harming the growth or steady growth of your tomatoes -- in addition Blossom drop will occur in if daytime temperatures are warm but night temps drop below 55 F. (13 C.) -- a condition that can easily occur in a greenhouse in winter. When you look at days to harvest for tomatoes -- they are assuming spring/summer growing -- which means the NUMBER of daylight hours is HIGHER. Your area may drop from 12 hours of daylight in summer to 9 in winter.... that's a big difference. Additionally the INTENSITY of the sun is not as great in winter as it is in summer. This means the plant is not collecting as much light. I would GUESTIMATE you need to at double the DAYS to harvest to account for your growing conditions. If you decide to go forward I would opt for varieties that tend to grow well in colder climates that NATURALLY have less intense sun and shorter days (or install lighting if you don't have it and perhaps some heat). REMEMBER your soil temp needs to stay at about 16c -- so if your pots are on the ground or if you are planting directly into the soil, the cold may creep into the soil from below. There are specific tomato varietals bred for cold hardiness which will tolerate conditions at or below 55 degrees F. (13 C.). The best choices for colder climates are short to mid-season tomatoes. These tomatoes set fruit not only in cooler temps, but also reach maturity in the shortest number of days; around 52-70 days. I would look to some indeterminate cherry or plum size tomatoes (so small tomatoes) with very low days to harvest. I have never grow this tomato -- but -- Originally developed for cool rainy nights, Quedlinburger Frühe Liebe (or as I like to say, QFL) is a German heirloom tomato variety that’s ready for harvest in just 40 days after transplanting (!!!) and keeps producing until killed by a freeze. This makes it quite an amazing all-season plant and a real keeper in the garden if you’re prone to cold snaps. QFL is sweet and flavorful with small, juicy red fruits ==> tomatofest (internet site in the USA) says : Old German potato-leaf variety means "Early love of Qued Linburg". Small spindly vines produce 1 1/2-inch, round, 4-lobed fruit in clusters of 4. These tomatoes have great flavor with good acidity. Developed for cool rainy nights. Prolific even during colder summers. **** you really need to review the conditions in your green house -- day and night time temps, hours of sunlight --and you need to choose your variety wisely -- and even then, this might be difficult -- a lot depends on your greenhouse.
21 Feb 24, Jenni (USA - Zone 7a climate)
I have had AMAZING results with planting tomatoes with Epsom salt in the planting hole, mixed in the soil. Then I use Super Thrive when I water, it's available at Walmart and Amazon. You can use it on any plant,indoors or out. Just try it. You'll love it!. I also feed with a good organic fertilizer. Foxfarm is the best for me, as well as their soils. Can't be beat.
Showing 1 - 10 of 793 comments

What type tomatoes are best or grow area 10a and should they be determinate or indeterminate?

- Joe Musselwhite

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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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