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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

17 Aug 17, John C (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi folks, Looking for a seedless, or near seedless, tomato please. (My partner cannot physically handle the seeds but loves tomatoes.) Lots of people tell me they do exist (near seedless at least) but nobody I know has any clues on where to find them. I've looked in lots of catalogues but no luck. Any tips/leads would be greatly appreciated.
12 Aug 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Read the notes for tomatoes. Plant seeds now and keep in a warm place. After the frosts have finished plant out in the garden.
11 Aug 17, Joanne (Australia - arid climate)
Hi, can i sow seeds in my greenhouse or is it still to cold, or can i start tomatoes that are allready baby stage. Jo
17 Jul 17, brian jones (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Should i remove yellow flowers from immature plants just planted?
20 Jul 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
What variety of tomato have you planted. No, they will flower as they grow. If it is a bushy type of tomato most of the fruit will ripen at the same time. If it is an indeterminate type of tomato it will keep growing - as it grows it will keep flowering and when you come to harvest them, the harvest will be spread over weeks months. If it is not a bushy type (determinate) it can grow to several meters high.
03 Jul 17, Len (Australia - temperate climate)
How early can I grow tomato seed under a cold frame in Victoria? We don't get frosts, but I was hoping to start sow seeds late July then repot under cover a couple of times before planting out in the garden in October. I know traditionally you wouldn't plant out tomatoes until Melbourne Cup day. I've yet to grow any tomatoes in my garden as this is a new project. Any feedback would be beneficial
07 Jul 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
The guide says start seedlings in Aug Sept. Planting seeds and growing them for 1-2 mths isn't as easy as it sounds, especially if growing undercover. They can become spindly if trying to find light. I'd suggest you wait until August and after they have developed a few leaves give them some sunlight each day to toughen them up.
07 Jul 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
I'd probably wait until September to sow seed in a cold frame to reduce the chance of having 'leggy' plants.
16 Jul 17, Len (Australia - temperate climate)
Thanks John and Mike. Will hold off until Mid to late August. Much appreciated.
30 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Further to my posts below. I have found this which I believe is the problem with my bunchy curly leaves on cherry tomatoes. It is called -Tomato yellow leaf curl virus. TYLCV. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Qld In March 2006, tomato leaf curl disease was found in cherry tomato crops in the south and west periphery of Brisbane. The disease has been found in many crops, with infection levels ranging from 5 to 100 per cent of plants. Losses in severely affected crops have been very high and the disease is a major threat to tomato production. In April 2006, infected plants were also found around Bundaberg. By June 2007, the virus was present in the Lockyer Valley, Fassifern Valley, Esk, Caboolture and Redlands areas. Since 2009 it has become a serious production constraint around Bundaberg. In February 2011, it was found in backyard tomato plants in Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands. Tomato leaf curl disease is caused by viruses in the Geminivirus family of plant viruses, and is spread by whiteflies. The virus causing this disease is tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). This virus is distinct from tomato leaf curl Australia virus (TLCV), which occurs in the Northern Territory and at several locations on Cape York Peninsula. Silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci Biotype B) was first recorded in Australia in 1994, it is now a widespread pest in Queensland and Western Australia and could become a major pest in most irrigated agricultural areas of Australia. Silverleaf whitefly (SLW) is also known as poinsettia or sweetpotato whitefly and in USA literature it is now referred to as Bemisia argentifolii. SLW has a wide host range (over 500 species) of crops and weeds, and is difficult to control as it has developed resistance to conventional insecticides. Biotype Q was discovered recently in Queensland. There is also an Australian native species. These three biotypes are indistinquishable in the field.
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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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