How To Grow Abundant Tomatoes

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Growing your own tomatoes is one of the most satisfying and rewarding endeavours in the garden. Here are our top tomato-growing tips!

How to Grow Abundant Tomatoes

Choose Your Preferred Type of Tomato

  1. Determinate tomatoes grow on a bush and will produce lots of tomatoes at once (great for making passatas and chutneys!).
  2. Indeterminate tomatoes grow on a climbing vine and produce a steady stream of fruit throughout the warm season.

Consider whether you are growing in the ground, a garden bed, or a pot and choose your variety accordingly. See below for our tomato-choosing guide.

Cherry tomatoes 'cocktail'

Photo of organic, heirloom cherry tomatoes from our seed suppliers

 

Tomato Planting

Sow your seeds when the weather first starts to warm up, usually Aug-Dec in Perth. You can sow the seeds either in seedling raising flats, seedling sized pots, biodegradable pots or directly into the garden. Use or make your own seed raising mix that is not too rich - if the seedlings are grown in conditions with all nutrient requirements met they will not learn to fend for themselves and less fruit will be grown once transplanted.

When seedlings grown in containers are approx. 15 to 20 cm tall and ideally have flowered (due to a week of dry conditions before transplant), plant them out in a sunny spot with good airflow with at least 30cm between plants. 50 to 60 cm is ideal in garden beds.

Remove the bottom leaves from the seedling before transplanting into the ground. Plant in to a depth so that the top set of leaves are above the soil, and roots will form from the buried stem as the plant grows.

 

Soil Conditions for Tomatoes

Tomatoes love compost and prefer a pH between 6.5-6.7 so soil preparation before planting is important. Add plenty of organic compost to your soil before planting to see your tomatoes through the season. 

Cover the soil with mulch. This is very important for soil health and moisture retention. Possible mulch materials include pea straw, lupin and lucerne.

 

Tomato Care

  • Provide support with a stake or trellis at planting time so to not disturb the roots later.
  • Make sure to always keep the soil moist! Especially during flowering and fruiting time.
  • If your tomatoes are planted in nutritious soil, they shouldn't need much feeding apart from perhaps some diluted worm juice or compost tea when they start to fruit. Tomatoes do like potassium.

 

Tigrella tomatoes growing on vine ready for harvest

Photo of our organic, heirloom 'Tigrella' tomatoes from our seed suppliers

 

Companion Plants

A popular companion plant for tomatoes is basil as it repels insects and disease, and actually increases growth and flavour of the tomatoes!

Other great companion plants include: marigolds (nematode control), amaranth (repels pests), borage (improves growth & flavour and repels tomato worms), chives, mint, parsley (all improve tomato health), garlic (repels red spider mites), and stinging nettle (improves taste).

 

Harvesting Tomatoes

For the most delicious tomato harvest, pick the fruit as soon as it starts to colour and bring it indoors to ripen fully. Exposure to direct Summer sun can sun scald your fruit and cause them to rot. Instead, put some bananas with your tomatoes to speed up the ripening process!

 

    Red Chick tomatoes being grown on a vine

    Photo of our organic, heirloom 'Red Chick' tomatoes from our seed suppliers

     

    Tomato Pests, Diseases and Nutrient Deficiencies 

    For fabulous information about the range of pests, diseases and nutrient deficiency affects on tomatoes that you may come across, checkout this wonderful article written by Linda Cockburn - Tomato Pests and Diseases.

    If you're growing tomatoes in Perth, we recommend growing them in large pots due to wilt fungus and bacteria that love our soil conditions. Using pots allows the soil to be replaced each season and no need for crop rotation. If you find wilt in your soil (go to above link to find out how) do not plant tomatoes in that garden bed for four years. 

    Never plant tomatoes in a garden bed after other solanaceae plants such as capsicum, eggplant and potato.  These plants need to be seasonally planted using a crop rotation plan. 

     

    Choosing a Tomato Variety Guide

    The following list contains all the organic, heirloom tomato seed varieties we stock at Urban Revolution, and a little bit about each one to help you choose the best one for your garden. 

    Click here to see our full seeds list online and learn how to order seeds through our online store, or come and see our full seed range in our Perth shop.

    Variety

    Type

    About

    Beefsteak

    Vine

    Large, meaty fruits.

    Black Krim

    Vine

    Tasty, meaty beefheart. Needs staking.

    Black Russian

    Vine

    Rare brown salad tomato. Needs staking.

    Brandywine

    Vine

    Few seeds and mild, tasty flavour.

    Budiah

    Bush

    Bears a heavy crop of sweet deep-red rounded fruit. Exhibits some nematode tolerance.

    Costoluto Fiorentino

    Vine

    Deep red, full flavour fruits.

    Golden Sunrise

    Vine

    Gold, round, sweet fruit. Needs staking.

    Graf Zeppelin

    Bush

    Medium sized, round, rich red fruits. Firm, sweet flesh.

    Green Zebra

    Vine

    Lime green fruits with dark green stripes and a mild flavour. Good for processing or raw

    Grosse Lisse

    Vine

    Popular in Australia. Large, smooth, red tomatoes with good flavour sliced or cooked.

    Indian Mayan

    Bush

    Short staking variety. Produces many meaty, bright red fruits that dry and process well.

    Jaunne Flamme

    Vine

    Round, orange, sweet, juicy fruits. Very productive.

    Lemon Boy

    Vine

    Medium size, flavourful, yellow fruits. Needs staking

    Mama Lucie

    Vine

    Good yellow salad tomato.

    Moneymaker

    Vine

    Popular home variety. Medium-sized, round, red fruits.

    Mortgage Lifter

    Vine

    Large, ribbed, meaty fruit with strong tomato flavour

    Napoli Paste

    Vine

    Red, pear-shaped fruit good eaten fresh or processed.

    Oxheart

    Vine

    Productive, juicy, meaty fruit

    Oxheart Pink

    Vine

    Productive, juicy, meaty fruit

    Oxheart Red

    Vine

    Productive, juicy, meaty fruit

    Persimmon

    Vine

    Large, orange fruit with meaty flesh and few seeds. Strong flavour.

    Pink Ponderosa

    Vine

    Deep pink fleshy tomato with few seeds. Good for drying, slicing, canning, or stewing.

    Principe Borghese

    Bush

    Produces big clusters of red, plumb-shaped paste tomatoes. Similar to roma.

    Purple Calabash

    Vine

    Ruffled, deep purple fruit. Wine-like flavours.

    Red Chick

    Vine

    Medium-sized, red slicing tomato. Very tolerant.

    Rio Colorado

    Vine

    Produces red, plumb-shaped fruit good for processing.

    Roma

    Vine

    Large, great tasting tomatoes

    Rouge de Marmande

    Vine

    Large, ribbed, red fruit that mature early. Compact vine.

    Saint Pierre

    Vine

    Tasty slicing tomato

    San Marzano

    Vine

    Elongated, red, tasty tomatos. Processes well.

    Santorini

    Vine

    Small, bright red fruit with good flavour. Requires little water

    Scorpio

    Vine

    Smooth, red fruit. Popular in Australia, wilt resistant.

    Stupice

    Vine

    Compact, productive vine. Small, juicy, tasty red tomatoes.

    Sugar Lump

    Vine

    Clumps of small, red, sweet fruits

    Tigerella

    Vine

    Orange, striped staking vine. Highly productive.

    Tropic

    Vine

    Very resilient, easy to grow. Great sweet tomato flavours.

    Yellow Perfection

    Vine

    Bright yellow fruits, great eaten raw in salads

    Yellow Plum

    Vine

    Sunflower yellow teardrop fruits with a mild, sweet flavour.

    Broad Ripple Yellow Currant (Cherry Tomato)

    Vine

    Tall vine that needs staking. Produces round, sweet, yellow fruit.

    Camp Joy (Cherry Tomato)

    Vine

    Strong, sweet tomato flavours. Very popular and disease resistant.

    Cocktail (Cherry Tomato)

    Vine

    Tall bush with small, sweet, round, red fruit.

    Peruvian Red Cherry (Cherry Tomato)

    Bush

    Produces many delicious, small, round cherry tomatoes. Needs staking

    Red Pear (Cherry Tomato)

    Vine

    Clusters of sweet, red fruit. Great fresh or processed.

    Sweetie (Cherry Tomato)

    Vine

    Vigorous staking vine produces long bunches of bright red cherry tomatoes.

    Thai Pink Egg (Cherry Tomato)

    Vine

    Crisp, sweet, pink fruits.

    Thompsons Green Grape

    Vine

    Yellow-green round tomatoes, sweet and juicy. Compact staking vine.

    Tommy Toe

    Vine

    Large plant with juicy, tasty fruits. Great for eating fresh

    Yellow Pear

    Vine

    Produces big clusters bright yellow, sweet, pear-shaped fruits. Great for eating fresh

     

    For more information on growing tomatoes, check out this article from Milkwood Permaculture and this article from Sustainable Gardening Australia.

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