Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

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

30 Jul 18, John Mason (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi I'm building a small 90° double skinned tunnel house on the Nthn side of shed. I have Defiant VF2/PHR seed and wondering the earliest I can raise seed for planting.
31 Jul 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Don't really know what a double skinned tunnel house is - a hot house?? I have no idea what Defiant VF2/PHR tomatoes are. I suggest you go to NZ cool/mountain climate zone - tomatoes and read the whole article. It is there if you read it - it is pretty simple - it says plant seeds (S) in Oct Nov - and (T) transplant seedlings in Dec Jan.
23 Jun 18, Mike Ktori (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
We have recently moved from the Derwent Valley in Tasmania to Sandstone Point in Queensland. We formally had to plant our tomatoes under glass and never succeeded in having fruit in time for Christmas.Now we have room for a few raised beds whereas we had acreage in the valley; I'm wondering if, in this warmer climate, I can have tomatoes year round.
28 Jun 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You can grow all year round. Summer can become a but hot and very wet (as in inches of rain in hours) -use mulch around the plants. Best to grow a crop from late Feb for a winter picking crop and plant in mid August for crop into summer. Or even plant a succession crop each time also - 4-6 weeks between each planting. Only need 2-4 plants each time. .
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?
Showing 1 - 10 of 561 comments

I had some success last year with planting the lateral shoots taken off the main plant (put in water for a few days until roots develop). Great site - very useful

- Judy Ramsey

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Buy the app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on Gardenate. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

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.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.