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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 = Plant in the garden.

  • 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 in same bed): Asparagus, Chervil,Carrot, Celery, Chives, Parsley, Marigold, Basil
  • Avoid growing in same bed: 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

19 Mar 17, Kaycee (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in a temperate climate and have an area to container plant ( wicking beds) that is reasonably protected. Is it possible to raise tomato seedlings in wicking beds now, and later transplant them into a green house that is not ready yet? Thank you for taking the time to let me know.
19 Mar 17, Jo (Australia - temperate climate)
Raised beds such as wicking beds will still be warm so if the seeds germinate you could rise them and then transplant them to the greenhouse. The window for germinating tomatoes outside is nearly closed so I suggest you put the seeds in small pots and sink them up to the neck in the beds so you can move them up and re-pot them with minimal disturbance ready for the greenhouse.
19 Mar 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
Tomatoes in Gippsland Vic. I had a bad crop of Tomatoes this year. The tomatoes ripened with a yellow blotchy appearance. What would be causing this?
20 Mar 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
Sorry to hear about your bad run with tomatoes. I also live in Gippsland (Vic) and had the same problem with some of my tomato varieties last year but not others. I understand it is called Tomato (or Tobacco) Mosaic Virus. It is soil-borne and can also be transmitted by smokers when handling plants. I would look for virus-resistant varieties for next season and don't plant tomatoes, potatoes or capsicums in that spot for 3 seasons. We planted 'Tommy Toe' this year and have had an abundance of fruit with no disease. TT is a golf-ball sized tomato that bears heavily and has a great flavour.
16 Mar 17, Joan Fox (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Would tomato plant grow and produce fruit if planted in a pot on a sheltered veranda during winter months?. Would get all morning sun.
17 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Tomatoes need heat to grow and produce. If you can where the soil in the container will stay warm enough you could certainly give it a try. You would need maximum sunshine and protection from frosts and cold winds. I have heard of people putting pots against a brick wall so that some of the heat absorbed by the wall can help overnight. If you have a sunny spot near a window inside what about planting them inside in a pot or a hanging basket. 'Tumbler' is a good hanging basket variety that bears very well and looks good. Let us know on this site how you get on.
18 Mar 17, Robyn (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I agree that Tumbler is a great "cherry type" tomato, and a great performer. I grow both yellow and red variety. Plant two plants in each large hanging basket, feed well and you should get toms from Oct till April. I hang mine off the picnic table on my deck, we pick our own for meals, easy!
12 Feb 17, Joe (Australia - temperate climate)
I planted a crop 6 plants of Roma in virgin beds this year and did quite well, how ever in years gone by have had poor results in beds previously cropped with tomatoes, why is this so?
13 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
The tomatoes would have done well because of your 'virgin' beds. Vegetables have varying nutrient requirements, with leaf crops able to take lots of nitrogen from recently manured soil. If you follow a leaf crop with a fruit crop, such as tomatoes, beans or pumpkins (or plants from within that family), then complete the cycle with a root crop such as carrots you will end up with a fairly good balance. After the root crop add more manure or compost and start the cycle again. The only extra thing I will say is - don't plant tomatoes, capsicums, potatoes or egg plant in the same spot next year as this will encourage soil borne diseases that they are susceptible to. Trust this helps.
13 Jan 17, Penny (Australia - temperate climate)
Is it too late to plant a Roma tomato plant now? Ta
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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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