Summer gardening for many Australians means tending to tomato plants. With some sun, water and a bit of care, it's not too difficult to ensure a bumper crop of tasty fruit.
The ideal position for tomato plants is in full sun, protected from strong winds. Prepare the soil before planting by digging in some organic matter then water in thoroughly using a liquid fertiliser. Ease the seedlings out of the container and plant them at the same soil level as they were in the punnet. Water in the seedlings immediately after planting. Plants requiring staking should be planted at least one metre apart. Bush-type tomatoes should be planted 50cm apart.
Most tomato plants benefit from staking to encourage fruiting. It is best to stake early while the plant is young and to ensure a nice straight stem. The best plant ties are made from a soft material as they won’t cut into the stems as the plants grow. Any type of support structure may be used.
Tomatoes do require regular feeding. Apply granule fertiliser, supplemented with a soluable or liquid fertiliser regulary at recommended rates.
Regular watering is more effective than frequent light sprinkles. To prevent disease occurring avoid watering the foliage. Early morning around the base of the plant is the most beneficial method.
Please post your tomato growing tips and your tomato questions by replying below.
What variety are your tomatoes @Cooks76? Some are bred for tough skins as they are meant for drying. They can also be good to deter pests.
But the best way to ensure your fruit doesn't have tough skin is regular watering and using shade cover on really hot days as the tougher skin is a survival mechanism to react against high temperatures and under watering.
Unforunately not @Jason. Since moving house I have only planted a few herbs in some pots out the back. Was thinking of what else to put in over the summer months though...
I am growing tomatoes and quite a few other vegies as well.
I had a huge set back this season with my plants. I sowed my own collected seed back in August into a mini hot frame.
It was still cool and it took quite a while for them to germinate.
They were only a couple of centimetres tall, with only their initial two leaves when we got a couple of fairly sunny days and I forgot to open the front up, so they were virtually cooked.
I perservered with these little seedlings and when I went away Melbourne Cup weekend at the start of November they were no bigger.
I thought that if they weren't watered while away they would be gone by the time I came home, (nearly two weeks) especially if my daughter couldn't get round to water them because we were going to have a hot week.
What I did was water the area where I was initially going to plant them and stick them in the ground, which may have given them some hope of surviving.
I wasn't real confident of that happening though.
On return to my surprise they were growing stongly and were about 10cms tall.
Now I have plenty of tomatoes coming especially after the first seedlings sown I had planted more seed and I have tomatoes popped in the patch everywhere.
These are large tomatoes that I collected seed from a few years back from a friend who originally got them from an old Italian gardener. They can grow up to 1.5/ 2mts tall and the fruit to half a kilo or more. My first one last year weighed in at 365grams.
I had a Sweetbite Tomato that I potted up last season but didn't plant out and it survived through winter, so I put it in the garden and it is now nearly 2 mts tall and I had two ripe tomatoes between Christmas and New Year.
Our weather has gone mad with the wind, 43degrees one day then 20degrees the next, the plants don't know what season it is.
Good work @bergs. I haven't got any fruit yet. The weather has certainly been up and down lately.
How are everyone's tomatoes going?
@kel It looks like yours are growing famously!
yes they are jason,only grew 2 tomato plants this year,one cherry tomato and one gross lisse.i had 2 ripe tomatoes from the gross lisse in november,which was very early ,so i was expecting more for xmas,but strangly enough no,plenty of tomatoes but not ripening.now i am getting heaps.