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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 beside): Asparagus, Chervil,Carrot, Celery, Chives, Parsley, Marigold, Basil
  • Avoid growing close to: 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 Apr 17, Jim (Australia - temperate climate)
Some self-seeded cherry tomatoes came up at end of summer in a small bed on south side of fence. It's obviously not ideal location and most of the fruit are still green. Is it worth moving it to a sunny spot or just rip it out since it's autumn now?
21 Apr 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
Plants are not likely to transplant this late in the season. I suggest you make some Green Tomato Pickles with them and start early next season.
15 Apr 17, gill (Australia - temperate climate)
Where can I purchase reisetomate seeds please? Will they grow in Canberra?
15 Apr 17, John (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Tomato 'Reisetomate' should grow in Canberra. Get your seeds started indoors ready for planting out in late october and you should be able to grow a good crop of this unusual tomato.
15 Apr 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
'Reistomate' seed is available from Diggers Seeds on the Mornington Peninsula South-east of melbourne
13 Apr 17, Carmen cantone (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I live in wallan Victoria. I have my tomatoe seeds. Not sure what month I should put the seeds in the ground outside Can I put them in a polystyrene container first and cover them with a glass lid till their germinate. If so what month should I start this
14 Apr 17, Brian (Australia - temperate climate)
Carmen I'm a bit north/east of you. I wait till the last week of August usually and mine do well. Tomatoes are prone to damage by frost and severe cold. planting in August/September is best, You still may need to protect them with a cover (clear plastic is what I use) overnight until the last of the frosts.
14 Apr 17, Giovanni (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Despite the plants you see in the nurseries and shops from August, tomatoes will not do well until late October and into November. The sunny Spring days are enjoyable but the soil needs to warm up to about 15-17 degrees before tomatoes will do well. You could start seedlings off inside in late August using the cells of egg cartons or as you suggest, in a polystyrene container with a piece of glass over it. The edge cutouts on the container will provide ventilation. Ensure the seedlings don't 'cook' through the glass by covering with a piece of old net curtain or a leafy small branch on a bright day.
10 Apr 17, Desmond thomas thomas Curnow (Australia - temperate climate)
Why as soon as you start to pick or before the plants get mottled leaves and die .getting few or no tomatoes
11 Apr 17, gaz (Australia - temperate climate)
You maybe need a bit of the insect repellent,or Derris dust but that will kill everything,the thing I cant remember is puperon or somthing,it is a good insecticide,but wait a day or 2 before eating any produce,,.
Showing 1 - 10 of 473 comments

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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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