Growing tomatoes in Perth, Western Australian is a must as our climate is absolutely perfect for plump, juicy tomatoes. 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.
Growing tomatoes in Perth is super easy. Follow these simple tips and tricks and you will have a bumper harvest in your back yard next summer.
When to plant tomatoes in Perth:
Seeds and seedlings alike can be planted from August to December providing tomatoes through summer and into autumn.
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.
Preparing soil for tomatoes:
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:
- 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.
- 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 tomatoes: Purple-black fruit that is exceptionally sweet and disease resistant, which is a nice bonus
Large slicing tomatoes
- Grosse Lisse tomatoes: 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.
Tomato common problems and 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.
Best fertiliser for tomatoes:
Using the right fertiliser for tomatoes can directly improve your tomato production. For disease and insect free tomato bushes with bigger and tasty fruits, feeding your tomatoes a fertiliser is a must.
Now the question; what is the best fertiliser for tomatoes?
My personal pick for the best fertiliser for tomatoes is Yates Thrive Tomato Liquid Plant Food. It provides tomatoes with the balanced nutrition they need to produce large crops of delicious fruit and strong, healthy growth.
When to fertilise tomatoes?
Tomatoes should be first fertilised when you plant them. You can then wait until they set fruit to start fertilising again. After the tomato plants start growing fruit, add light fertiliser once a week.
How often fertilise tomatoes?
Tomatoes require regular feeding but the answer is not fixed. It depends on the type of fertiliser you purchase. Generally, water-soluble fertiliser feeds the plant quickly and you will need to apply it more frequently. In contrast,slow-release fertiliser feeds the plant slowly up to a few months. Best to check the label of the fertiliser and follow application schedule.
When to harvest 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.
How to store tomatoes:
Perfectly ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature away from sunlight. Make sure they’re in a single layer, not touching one another, and stem side up. Fresh home-grown tomatoes are best consume within a couple of days. Overripe tomatoes that are soft to touch with very red flesh are best kept in the fridge until used.
If you have any tips and tricks for growing tomatoes in Perth then feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides: