Growing Tomato

Lycopersicon esculentum : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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

(Best months for growing Tomato in USA - Zone 5a regions)

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

18 Sep 23, Tania from Hyde (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I sow mine in late Sept in trays which i then put in the bottom of a large Sistema container with lid...I pop this out in the sun during day...moving lid around for heat and close it at night...if really cold pop in shed with a blanket....or do the same in the tunnel house....it double walls/protects...you can always throw a rug over the sistema for extra....in the morning undo the sistena and before long you have healthy plants. When planting out, i use cardboard boxes to cover at night, as less condensation and if really cold night.....pop that big Sistema over the cardboard box...really helps with protection. Had great sucess over the last few years. Also put sheep dags over the soil in the winter and dig them in before planting out...great microbiome and nitrogen for soil.
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.
04 Jul 23, Mary Terrill (USA - Zone 9b climate)
What do I need to make a home made good potting soil for grow bags, to grow vegetables?
11 Sep 23, Sid (USA - Zone 10b climate)
A simple potting soil can be made with peat or Coco coir, perlite and any compost in a 1:1:1 ratio. You can use steer manure from lowes or home depot since it is pretty cheap or if your city has a composting program use that for free compost. It's a good idea to add 1-2 cups of fertilizer per cubic foot of soil you prepare with the above recipe. If you want to keep it simple, but a 10-10-10 balanced fertilized and add 2 cups per cubic foot. If you want a more detailed and balanced soil recipe I recommend checking out Buildasoil for info https://buildasoil.com/blogs/news/17627464-build-a-soil-from-scratch-in-2-simple-steps%20
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 Jan 23, Irma (USA - Zone 9b climate)
I always gets my seeds From Burpeeā€™s online. They have always yielded great amount of tomatoes.
Showing 1 - 10 of 775 comments

Use shade covers. I set 4x4's . 8' high. 40% white shade cloth. Prune bottom leaves to insure plenty of air flow. You can get a higher shade cloth, for your zone, I would get a 50% white shade cloth. I only use mine for late May, June, July and August. I take them down when I see the temps go below 95 deg. I also mulch to retain water. I do not water the leaves, only at soild level and in early mornings. During the hottest months, I water daily.

- LouElla Chevalier

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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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