Growing Tomato

Lycopersicon esculentum : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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

(Best months for growing Tomato in Australia - temperate regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed

August: Frost tender. Start undercover

  • 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 16°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm 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.

Determinate:

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.

Indeterminate:###

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

28 Jul 23, SilverShine (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Does anyone know where I can source some seeds for the Alboran variety. It is a winter variety for very low temps.
29 Jun 23, (Australia - temperate climate)
I live on the NSW Central Coast. I have been given some Siberian Tomato seeds from a fellow gardener. I have been told that they are pretty cold resistant. I planted seed in about April. All 5 seeds germinated. I gave 2 to a friend, planted one in a pot outside in half sun, and 2 in my garden. I killed the two in my garden with kindness. Too much fertiliser and water. The one in the bot has bloomed, is about 18 inches high and flowering. To complicate things there is a self sown Mini Roma which is about 3 ft high and booming, full of flowers and some fruit. Very keen to see how the Siberians will go through the winter. It is 1 July here cold nights frost free. Has anyone grown Siberians? Cheers Pete
02 Jul 23, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Go to australian seed website and read about them - they just set fruit at lower temperatures, otherwise grow much the same as other toms. Better to grow just one bush in a 2-3' pot.
19 Feb 23, Belinda (Australia - temperate climate)
Right now my tomatoes are very big and look almost successful however they arn't turning red?! A few of them have but the rest are just happy sitting in greenville for quite some time. I would love some help! I planted around october from memory. Its they are beefsteaks. Thank you so much for your help. I would love to show my 7 year old that we can do this!
27 Feb 23, Judy (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Belinda, when I grew tomatoes in Armidale NSW, I used to pick them just as they started to turn, the put them somewhere dark and ripen them that way. Worked every time. Also didn't have to worry as much about birds and critters!
20 Feb 23, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
They do take a while to ripen.
02 Jun 22, KATE (Australia - tropical climate)
Tomato seedlings get up to about 2 inches high, then just fall over and die. Spinach did the same. In tropical Darwin. Tried growing seedlings in trays first, plant them out only to loose them about a week later. Trying to Grow in a raised bed as no success into garden soil. Raised bed built mostly of potting mixtures with bags of compost and sand added. Lots of Dynamic lifter, turned over and left fallow for the wet season. Seedlings did the same death rate in the raised bed. What am I missing. Been here for 3 years and first season crops were really abundant. Now everything dies except for my Lime, Lemon and Guava Trees. Is it just to hot for Tomatoes and spinach now?
06 Jun 22, Anonymous (Australia - tropical climate)
Tropical climate - plant tomato seeds May, transplant June and July. Your soil mix is very porous, it would dry out very quickly especially in hot Darwin. And with watering it would leach out the fertilisers. With your soil mix you probably needed to water 3-4 times a day. The wet season probably leached all the Dynamic Lifter out of the soil. Ok- potting mix has a lot of wood in it. Material like this grabs the nitrogen before the plant does. Compost would do the same if it is not completely broken down. Here is what I do, sub tropical, in the fallow season Nov to April, I dig/turn my soil over adding grass clippings, shrub trimming etc mulched with the mower. With normal rain it will keep this moist and help break down the grass etc. You can add a little D Lifter. By late April /early May after the wet season you should have some good friable soil (depends what the original soil was like). You could add some more compost if you like and maybe manures, about 3-4 (?)
01 Mar 22, Gary Hall (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Did anyone else have problems with tomatoes this year I had to convert back to my tiny Toms ( skin too tough for those pesky pests next year I going back to Nicotine spray that'll knock them around a bit) .
07 Aug 22, Tom (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My summer toms had a lot of rust but I kept cutting out the infected foliage and the rest of the plant produced just fine. The vines didn't look great but I had bumper crops of large, delicious tomatoes. Also a long season the seed came up in early spring and they produced for 6 months.
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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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