December 05, 2019 5 min read

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 type of tomato: Determinate tomatoes grow on a bush and will produce lots of tomatoes at once (great for making passatas and chutneys!), while Indeterminate tomatoes grow on a climbing vine and produce a steady stream of fruit throughout the warm season. Also 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Cover the soil with mulch.  This is very important for soil health and moisture retention.  Possible mulch materials include pea straw, lupin and lucerne.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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!  

Growing tomatoes

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. Come and see our full seed range in store!

 

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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