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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 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
  • 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 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

01 Dec 19, Tom (Australia - temperate climate)
What is the best fertilizer for tomatoes?
03 Dec 19, anon (Australia - temperate climate)
A general all round fertiliser grows most things.
29 Nov 19, Allan Fraser (Australia - temperate climate)
my tomatoes are being bored into with some sort of caterpillars also some with black spots any ideas on how cure this organiclly or failing that anything to stop it ???
02 Dec 19, Another gardener (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Look up natural sprays for caterpillars and Qld fruit fly on the internet. The holes caused by pillars and black dots are probably qld fruit fly. Chemical for QFF is LEPIDEX.
17 Nov 19, Allan Clarke (Australia - temperate climate)
Hello to all at Gardenate, I see that you say that tomatoes can be frozen, but it is my experience that on thawing they go all soggy, and will not hold there shape, is this correct. Have a great day, Allan.
18 Nov 19, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
If frozen I don't think you could use as a fruit to slice etc. I think you could make sauces or similar.
02 Nov 19, Anna (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I'm looking to grow cherry tomatoes close to my sweet Peppers and wondered if they are compatible together? Can't seem to find an answer on the net.
04 Nov 19, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
If you can't find anywhere where it says don't grow next to each other then I would assume it is OK. Just give each crop it's room to grow. Think where the sun will be throwing shade during the day. You don't want the tomatoes shading the caps all day.
28 Oct 19, karen maslen (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi there I liveiinnthe Tallebudgera Valley..near Burleigh Heads...I am an experienced gardener who ..always has had success nn Victoria growing large tomatoes but here they seem to go lengthy and spindley and do not produce large. fruit..same with the zucchini I water them every second day via an on the ground little spray..maybe i should be watering them deeply?They are in rich soil with sugar cane mulch. Please would you advise me what i am doing wrong? Regards karen maslen
29 Oct 19, anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I assume you are trying to grow the same variety of tomatoes. Any crop requires sunlight, water, nutrients and something to grow in - soil, water etc. 1. Tomatoes need good fertile deep soil. They need DEEP watering every 2-3 days. A little ground spray line just doesn't do it. A few comments back I gave some tips on growing tomatoes. Some people recommend you dig a trench 400-500 deep, throw in some fish heads/backbone etc, aspirin, Epson salts, compost/fertiliser. Put some soil back in and add some more compost/fert and mix it up. Still with the trench 200-300 deep plant the seedlings. As they grow fill the soil back in. Tomatoes are deep rooted so fert and water deep. 2. Zucchini need plenty of water also.
Showing 1 - 10 of 633 comments

We grow short season tomatoes successfully, like Early Girl.

- Wendy

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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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