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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

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.
20 Apr 18, Mac (Australia - temperate climate)
Very, very good advice Mike and please don't forget that Tomatoes are very shallow rooters so keep a well rotted compost around them during the summer. Don't forget to use a fungicide and Neem Oil spray to keep the white fly at bay. I have grown Grosse Lisse for years which will fruit from early summer to late autumn.
23 Apr 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have only grown cherry tomatoes the last few years - first just letting them run on the ground from early spring to Xmas. Now I have wire netting between 2 x 7' posts (7-8' apart) and plant 4 plants. I use baling twine (12$ at Bunnings) to hold the bushes up. In March I planted out some self germinating seedlings and then put some half composted mulch around the plants. I didn't do a lot to the soil - a bit of trace elements, P, lime and worm tea. The plants are going to the moon. They are now 6' high and growing 2-3" a day. I might have to extend my posts to 8 or 9' high. Never had plants so big bushy and healthy.
04 Apr 18, Dale (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I noticed on the veggie chart that tomatoes are not on the growing list for autumn. Is it possible to grow some now? I really want to grow some tomatoes.I have some cherry tomatoes struggling with things eating the fruit ,and they seem to be taking ages to ripen. I'm guessing it is this unusual weather we are having. At the moment it is wet and no sun.( Also I have noticed some tomato seedlings popping up in the patch.- might that be a sign that I can plant them ???)
Showing 1 - 10 of 553 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

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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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