Thinking of growing tomatoes in your backyard or on your balcony? These delicious little fruits are one of the most popular foods to grow, but they do require a bit of know-how and care to ensure you produce a colourful, plentiful crop.
In this article we'll help get from seed to seedling.
Ready to get started?
We love homegrown tomatoes. Not only are they full of vitamin and mineral goodness, but when grown at home, they’re also sweeter and more flavourful. Plus, you can avoid all the nasty chemicals ensuring they’re 100% organic for you and your family.
Ideally, tomatoes should be planted in spring, but this varies depending on where you live in Australia or NZ. In some parts, you may need to plant them earlier. The best daytime temperature is 21-29°C (daytime temp). The good news is they grow quickly!
Tomatoes are so versatile and come in a massive range of shapes, sizes and varieties – from snack-sized Red Cherry (great for pots and patios) to Grosse Lisse, Siberian heirlooms, truss and Green Zebras (perfect for garden beds). Just take your pick!
Tools & materials
So, what do you need to be a tomato growing guru? Soil, tomato seeds, sunlight and some rain, are a good start, but here’s what we recommend to grow some good-uns!
Additional materials needed for this project:
- Garden bed or pots
- Seedling trays if growing from seed
- Your choice of tomato variety
- Compost and/or blood bone
- Sulphate of Potash
Your step by step guide
Growing Tomatoes from Seed
Seeds are a great way to save vs buying seedlings and if you plant early you can get a great crop early in the season.
Tomato planting season varies from region to region however the general rule of thumb is to plant immediately after the frost period. That’s anytime between August and September for most parts of Australia.
All you’ll need is some seed raising mix and tray to grow them in. Optional extras are vermiculite and plant tags if you’re planting different varieties
Fill your tray with seed raising mix – keep it loose and don’t compress the soil!
Lightly water, then pop a seed into the mix at least 2cm apart, and cover them with more see raising mix or vermiculite.
Water again and place them in a warm sunny spot protected from the cold (or a mini greenhouse)
Your seedlings sprouting!
Planting Tomato Seedlings
Keep your seedlings in a warm sunny spot rotating them occasionally so they grow straight.
Use a fertiliser recommended by your local plant shop.
While the seedlings are growing, it’s time to prepare your garden bed or pots with good quality vegetable mix, well-composted manures or home grown compost. Mix it in about two weeks prior planting for best results.
Now it’s time to support those plants so they dedicate their energy into growing beautiful tomatoes.
Add mulch, watering before and after mulching to keep the soil moist and well-protected until your seedlings get to size.
Now you're ready to plant those seedlings
See our Tomato Mastery videos for more details
Part 1 – Growing from Seeds
Part 2 – Soil prep
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