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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

30 Mar 20, Jenny (Australia - temperate climate)
For tomatoes what is the best ph level
31 Mar 20, Liz at Gardenate (New Zealand - temperate climate)
6.5 is a common pH level for vegetables and works for tomatoes.
30 Mar 20, anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Look up ph levels for vegetables on the net. Then you will know for all vegies.
04 Mar 20, Anna (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
My tomato vines are full of fruit, all of it green. I've often had the problem of ending up with lots of unripe fruit at the end of the season so I was wondering it there is a sure-fire way of ripening the tomatoes on the vine before the first frosts?
30 Mar 20, Eddie (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
My dad said he used to pull the whole plant out and hang it in a shed and the tomatoes would vine ripen then finish off on the windowsill.
04 Mar 20, ML (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Ethylene gas ripens tomatoes and some other fruit. Add a few bananas to them. Suggest you read up about how to ripen tomatoes on the internet. Read different articles. Also see if you can start your seedlings earlier in future so that they grow/ ripen earlier in future.
08 Mar 20, anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Also most fruit take a few weeks from being fully developed to then ripen, 3-5 weeks. Same applies to pumpkin, rockmelons, watermelons etc.
27 Feb 20, Luke (Australia - temperate climate)
Any advice on best cool climate tomato varieties for a greenhouse in Melbourne between March and October? Thanks in advance
01 Mar 20, Anon (Australia - temperate climate)
You are temperate, a greenhouse will raise the temperature in it. Most varieties would grow in it. Ask at your local nursery etc.
09 Feb 20, WALTER (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Hello, what kind of tomato variaties can be grown in East African conditions more so in central Uganda.
Showing 1 - 10 of 658 comments

My butter beans plants are producing lots of beans that are growing and then curling up at the ends. What could be causing this and can i treat it with a fertilizer or a spray? I also have Zucchini that the flower covers all of the end rather then the tip they grow about 3-4 inches and then go yellow and shrivel up?

- Bill

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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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