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)

TOMATOES


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.

Determinate:

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.

Indeterminate:

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

20 Feb 22, Debbie (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi I live in Central Otago and have a variety ot tomato plants that have flowers but no fruit. Am I wasting my time, will they produce fruit & ripen?
31 Mar 22, Wendy (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I find the shorter growing tomatoes like early girl do much better - anything longer than 8 weeks seems to only just have fruit at the end of the season and then no time to ripen
22 Feb 22, Anonymous (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
It says plant spring/summer, give them time to grow.
29 Jan 22, Ash (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I sow tomatoes in Nov. the tomatoes are still green. Should I leave them on the vine and let them ripen indoors?
31 Jan 22, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Just let them ripen - it takes awhile.
19 Jul 21, Jan Shearer-Paulson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can you please recommend a tomato variety which will grow, in-spite of cool nights (WANAKA)
18 Aug 21, Philip Wills (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Maybe Baxter's Early or Russian Red
21 Jul 21, (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Are you cool mountain or temperate. That will determine your planting time. Plant whatever variety you like.
02 Aug 20, Bruce (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Will a plastic grow tent protect seedlings from frost
03 Aug 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Maybe if it is totally air tight. You are really stacking the odds up against yourself. It is recommended to start planting seeds in Oct/Nov in cool/mountain NZ and you are trying to grow them in winter. More chance of a good crop when the conditions are with you than against you.
Showing 1 - 10 of 38 comments

I find the shorter growing tomatoes like early girl do much better - anything longer than 8 weeks seems to only just have fruit at the end of the season and then no time to ripen

- 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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