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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
  • 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

17 Jun 18, Jane (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have sown various and different tomato seeds (climbing and other) trays in the greenhouse and now they are seedlings. 1. How big must they be before I plant them out(sown 25/5/18) and 2. How can I stop bugs/insects from attacking/destroying the tomatoes? 3.I want to put up a frame and netting/shade cloth all around but my concern is that if I do so then how to the tomatoes get pollinated if the bees can't get to them (and other plants)? :( Thanks.
18 Jun 18, Mike Logan (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Use derris dust or some other home made organic spray - look on the internet. Plant as soon as they have a few true leaves. They grow better in the ground than in a pot. Tomatoes are self pollinating - by the wind - or give them a gentle shake. Google about this if you like. Try Greenpatch Organic for vegetable netting 3.5 and 6m wide $4 and $7.50 by the meter. We are going into cool/cold weather so next time plant earlier (Feb- March) or leave it until spring time.
11 Jun 18, Phillip (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
I have a field and considering to plant Tomatoes and green pepper Limpopo province NZHELELE TO BE SPECIFIC.Is it the right time for me to start now?
12 May 18, Penny (Australia - tropical climate)
My tomato seedlings keep shrivelling up and dying, they grow really well and then one day they justshrivel up. When I look just below the soil they seem to have a brown part on the stem, almost like it has rotted? Someone suggested it was some type of worm?
14 May 18, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Could be wilt. Try the internet.
18 Apr 18, Lyn (Australia - temperate climate)
When do I transplant my tomatoe plants I have started germiating my seeds & have little plants already living under my pergola I live in south west of sydney nsw & our winter is near (we had a long summer) Do I plant them in a bigger pot as they are in a cut down soft drink bottle 1.5l with holes in the bottom at the moment or do I wait til aug. to transplant outdoors into my above ground vegie planters? Tomatoes are Alans early red & Cherokee purple would like to try more types any ideas?
26 Apr 18, Wayne (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi ,im out at West Wyalong and i thought it was to early to put in tomato seeds. We are still having warm weather so can you start early plants. Going off the sowing chart it says not for a couple of months. Not sure but advice most welcome
27 Apr 18, Noel Tobin (Australia - temperate climate)
Tomatoes are frost sensitive. You can grow from seed trays indoors about 6 weeks before the end of winter and then plant out when the danger of frost has passed. They grow best under shade cloth as the hot summers are too testy for them and they get sunburned. Best to water well, in composted well drained soil. Stagger planting times for long harvest but best to finish planting in December. My plants are still producing fruit but with frost coming, producing days are numbered.
28 Apr 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Where I live is frost free so I grow crops from early March into the winter and then from early spring to late Nov. Summer is too hot - need a lot of watering. Can also have heavy down pours of rain and be very windy also. Summer is a time to replenish the soil with some mulch/compost.
19 Apr 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Plant anytime from when the seedlings are 4-6" high. They will grow better/quicker when put into the ground - more soil for the roots to spread into. Keep as much soil as possible attached to the roots when planting out. In the future better to put seeds into a pot (150mm and 150mm deep) first up as then you don't disturb the soil and roots when planting out. You mention veggie planters - I hope these are quite large as tomatoes need something like an area for each plant of 750-900mm across and 4-500mm deep of soil.
Showing 1 - 10 of 557 comments

Bush varieties (determinates - like Roma) of tomatoes will produce a crop all at the same time basically. Where as indeterminates (cherry) will produce over several weeks/months. Yes you need to plant successive crops if you want to be picking all year.

- Mike

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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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