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Growing Tomato

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

(Best months for growing Tomato in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

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

  • 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)

TOMATOES


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.

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

26 Jul 14, Deepak Bhatia (New Zealand - temperate climate)
How much sunlight does the tomatoe plant need Thanks
30 Mar 16, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
For best results, 6 - 8 hrs of direct sunlight per day. Calculate every hour before midday as being only a 1/2 hr. For instance, if your plants are sheltered from the morning sun until 10:00am, calculate that as only 1 hr, therefore you require another 5 - 7 hours of afternoon sun.
02 Oct 13, Peter (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Liz, what would be the best mulch to apply to the soil under tomato plants and vines? I'm growing them in a raised bed for the first time. The soil is very dark, whether wet or dry and I'd like to keep their roots cool until they can supply their own shade. I'm in Hawkes Bay. Thanks.
25 Dec 12, rob (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
have you had any experience with siberrian tomatoes?
01 Feb 17, Karen (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I live on the North Shore, Auckland and have done container growing for several years now, This is the third year of growing tomatoes on a large scale - predominantly determinate varieties. I source my seeds from Kings Seeds who supply a determinate variety called Sub Arctic Plenty which I have experimented with variable results. All plants raised indoors, gently hardened off then potted out into 15L tubs. I use 50/50 new compost/previously used container soil from a non-tomato pot mixed well with added slow release fertiliser and half a cup of powdered eggshell.. The top is mulched with straw and 4 marigolds to attract the bees. They also need a 5ft stake. Generally the plants like the morning and late sun and need shade from the glaring hot midday temperatures. Each year I am growing them earlier to avoid the heat of summer. The pots on the decking facing North fully exposed struggled, the pots that were shaded midday grew much better. Next year I plan to plant out in July/August and see how they get on then. They have a mild taste, personally I prefer the richer flavours of the dark toms but they are good for dehydrating. I also found that they prefer dryer soil than some of my other varieties. I liquid feed them once a week using a litre of water. Don't let them stand in trays, they need full drainage. Any run off from the trays I use on something else (the pineapple sage is very grateful). Spay every part of the plant with a brew of bicarsoda to pre-empt and control powdery mildew weekly. Please let me know if you want any other info - happy to share. Let me know how you get on.
16 Oct 11, graham michelle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Am wondering which is the best tomato plant to grow in glasshouse on the coast in southern new zealand
11 Dec 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Tony, check that your potting mix is not too soggy. Although tomatoes like plenty of water, they also need good drainage. Have you got your bag slightly raised off the ground so that excess water can drain away?
24 Aug 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Gareth, you can use chook poo but it is very strong and can damage plants if used fresh. Make a 'tea' with it by putting in a bucket of water and leaving it for a few weeks or else use chook poo mixed with compost and broken down.

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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. GardenGrow 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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