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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

13 Sep 18, robyn mee (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
please advise growing tomatoes in a garden bed with sun in afternoon and not much sun in morning when best time to water when to put stakes in to hold and what pressure to i put on the ties we also have a lot of different wild life birds from our back yard as we live on the back of a reserve protected how to keep insects away and some of the birds how far apart should i plant them and what can i plant with them eg. carrots ect any help would be helpful. i live on the gold coast currumbin on Simpson road
14 Sep 18, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
I suggest you find a place with sun all day. You are really just wasting your time if you don't. Then google how to grow tomatoes. Water in the morning or at the base of the plants. Put stake in when you plant. Put the tie around the plant and cross it over and then around the stake and tie it off - have it a bit loose - a few inches. Plant them about 60cm apart and in rows 90cm apart. Don't plant anything near them (that is close to them). the shade from the tomatoes will stop the other plants from growing strong. Plant tall things near each other and small things near each other. Read up as much as you can about growing them. When they are about .5m high give them a good side dressing of fertiliser and put some mulch all around the plants .3m diameter.
19 Aug 18, Jane (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello. On Saturday I had a nice round red tomato. I thought, 'I'll pick that tomorrow,' and promptly forgot about it. Last night (Sunday) I was out late after dark checking my vege gardens. I remembered the tomato and lo and behold, you guessed it - Gone! Who or what could have relieve me of my tomato? The garden in question is fully fenced. About 4' high or so. Thank you in advance, Jane :(
20 Aug 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Sounds like someone took it. Should have picked it Sat - they will ripen up inside once they start showing some colour.
31 Aug 18, Jane (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Mike, yes. That's what I thought... I took yr advice and pick them as soon as I see them start to ripen now. (Can they be picked green to ripen indoors?)
14 Sep 18, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
They need to start to change colour before picking. Best to leave on as long as possible if you can.
30 Jul 18, John Mason (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi I'm building a small 90° double skinned tunnel house on the Nthn side of shed. I have Defiant VF2/PHR seed and wondering the earliest I can raise seed for planting.
31 Jul 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Don't really know what a double skinned tunnel house is - a hot house?? I have no idea what Defiant VF2/PHR tomatoes are. I suggest you go to NZ cool/mountain climate zone - tomatoes and read the whole article. It is there if you read it - it is pretty simple - it says plant seeds (S) in Oct Nov - and (T) transplant seedlings in Dec Jan.
23 Jun 18, Mike Ktori (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
We have recently moved from the Derwent Valley in Tasmania to Sandstone Point in Queensland. We formally had to plant our tomatoes under glass and never succeeded in having fruit in time for Christmas.Now we have room for a few raised beds whereas we had acreage in the valley; I'm wondering if, in this warmer climate, I can have tomatoes year round.
28 Jun 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You can grow all year round. Summer can become a but hot and very wet (as in inches of rain in hours) -use mulch around the plants. Best to grow a crop from late Feb for a winter picking crop and plant in mid August for crop into summer. Or even plant a succession crop each time also - 4-6 weeks between each planting. Only need 2-4 plants each time. .
Showing 1 - 10 of 568 comments

I have sown various and different tomato seeds (climbing and other) trays in the greenhouse and now they are seedlings. 1. How big must they be before I plant them out(sown 25/5/18) and 2. How can I stop bugs/insects from attacking/destroying the tomatoes? 3.I want to put up a frame and netting/shade cloth all around but my concern is that if I do so then how to the tomatoes get pollinated if the bees can't get to them (and other plants)? :( Thanks.

- Jane

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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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