How to grow Tomatoes

| June 7, 2011 | 1 Comment
How to grow tomatoes in Western Australia

Cherry Tomatoes

How to grow tomatoes in Perth

Growing tomatoes in the Western Australian climate is so simple anyone can do it. In temperate climates like Western Australia seeds can be planted from August to December providing tomatoes through summer and into autumn. There are a number of reasons why you should grow your own tomatoes however taste is the biggest advantage of growing your own tomatoes. Tree-ripened tomatoes have a higher content of sugars and if you fertilise them with a potassium-based fertiliser, they taste sensational.

Planting tomatoes:

Tomatoes can be planted in the ground or in pots. If room permits, the ground is ideal, however if it’s a courtyard or balcony, pots will be suitable also.

Cherry and grape tomatoes grow particularly well in pots but still need support so they do not fall over. Larger tomatoes such as Grosse Lisse are better in the ground as their root system is extensive and they are a larger bushy variety. The main advantage of growing tomatoes in pots is that you can change the potting mix every year. Tomatoes should be placed in full sun so growing them in pots will also allow you to move them to the location which has the most sun.

Never plant tomato bushes in the same spot two years running as they will get diseased.

Preparation:

As with all planting, it is important to improve the soil. In Western Australia it is typically recommended that you add white or grey sand or even bentonite clay to improve the texture of the soil. Tomatoes which are planted in pots should filled with a premium-quality potting mix for best results.

Seed Vs Seedling tomatoes:

Tomatoes grow so easily from seed, and the variety available is much more extensive and all the heritage varieties are available from seed but few are in seedling stock. The main benefit of planting from seeding is obviously the time for the plant to fully mature is shorter. However if you plant from seed you can stagger you planting which means they will mature at different rates instead of having all your tomatoes ripen at the same time.

Australian tomato varieties:

Salad tomatoes

Tommy Toe tomatoes: This heirloom variety is a prolific producer of medium-sized fruit, juicy red fruit on trusses
Green Zebra tomatoes: Firm green-and-yellow striped fruit that seem to confuse pests who leave it alone. When you see the yellow stripes, it’s ripe.
Tigerella tomatoes: Produces huge yields with sweet, red-striped fruit
Black Russian tomatoes: A heritage tomato with large, sweet, firm, charcoal-coloured fruit, needing a tall stake
Stupice tomatoes: A Czechoslovakian variety with juicy and tasty small/medium 50mm flattened fruit with a glossy red colour. A compact, productive vine with potato-like foliage.

Cherry tomatoes

Tumbler tomatoes: Large cherry-sized fruit, great for pots and those short of space
Peruvian Red Cherry tomatoes: A beautifully sweet little cherry to eat off the bush, works well in salads
Sweet Cherry Gold tomatoes: Low-acid, sweet, orange cherry-sized fruit, needing a short stake
Sweetie tomatoes: A staking vine variety producing large long bunches of grape-like, bright-red cherry fruit, 12-20 per cluster
Black Cherry: Purple-black fruit that is exceptionally sweet and disease resistant, which is a nice bonus

Large slicing tomatoes

Grosse Lisse tomatoes improved: Very large, fleshy, sweet fruit needing a tall stake
Bragger tomatoes: Large, flat, fruit; disease- resistant and a tall grower
Black Krim tomatoes: A large beef heart tomato with maroon/purple flesh
Purple Calabash tomatoes: An ugly and tasty tomato, with large, pumpkin-shaped, ruffled brown/purple fruit. Great in heat extremes.
Top Dog tomatoes: A large, sweet, disease-resistant tomato with sweet fruit, needing a tall stake
Beefsteak tomatoes: Large, round, juicy sweet fruit, and a tall grower
Royal Flush tomatoes: Gourmet sweet fruit needing a tall trellis
Moneymaker tomatoes: A heritage tomato with firm, sweet and very productive fruit, needing a tall stake

Care:

Check your tomatoes at least twice a week and spend time looking for problems such as insects and diseases. To stop pest attack, it is recommended to plant garlic or basil and dusting monthly with sulfur.

One common mistake is to over-fertilised tomatoes with nitrogen, giving lush growth but this comes at the expense of fruit.

It is recommended that you fertilise with a granular high-potassium blend at planting and liquid-fertilise every two weeks with a product such as Seasol or Powerfeed.  Seasol is a tonic which helps create a strong and healthy root system, which is vital for strong tomato plants.

Stake up your tomatoes so they can get plenty of sunlight.

Harvesting tomatoes:

Tomatoes should be planted at the end of summer for autumn fruit and at the end of winter for spring fruit. The best time to pick your tomato is when it has coloured fully, but before the fruit gets soft to touch.

If you have any tips and tricks for growing tomatoes then feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Category: Home + Garden, Vegetable Garden

Comments (1)

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  1. jane Longhurst says:

    I found blood and bone ever few weeks worked my cherry tomatoes were so full of tomatoes I didn’t know what to do with them, planted in August and still bearing fruit in March although not as much now. They grew really tall although in pots and required tall staking.

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