Growing your own tomatoes – it could be easier than you think

Growing your own tomatoes – it could be easier than you think

Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow. Here are a few tips that might help get you started.

Once you’re harvesting have a look at the article ‘How to use up all those tomatoesfor recipe ideas or try out the Green Tomato & Walnut Cake recipe.

Green Beefsteak tomato

When to grow

Tomatoes grow best through the summer months in most areas. Spring and early summer are the ideal times to sow tomatoes from seed.

 

How to grow

Grow from seed by sowing directly into the garden bed or into pots or trays and transplanting when the plants are a few centimetres tall. Or take the easier option and buy seedlings that can be planted directly into the garden or pots.

 

 

Tomatoes in the garden

  • Full sun, 8 hours direct sunlight daily.
  • Deep, well drained and friable soil.
  • Dig the soil to one good spade’s depth a few weeks before planting.
  • Mix in some organic compost or old manure and some Dynamic Lifter and cultivate thoroughly
  • In acidic soils (where azaleas, gardenias, camellias grow) add a little lime.
  • Tall growing tomatoes will need stakes for support so embed a strong 1-2 metre stake beside plant to tie the plant to as it grows to keep it stable and prevent damage from strong winds and to keep fruit off the ground, healthy and clean.

Green Acid Free tomatoes

Tomatoes in pots

 

Growing tomatoes in pots

If you don’t have enough space in the garden to grow tomatoes, try them in containers instead.

  • Use good quality potting mix.
  • Add some organic compost or old manure and some Dynamic Lifter to the mix before planting.
  • Plant one of the compact, bushy varieties, such as ‘Tiny Tim’ or ‘Tumbler’, which can even be grown in a hanging basket.
  • Larger varieties need bigger pots.

Watering

  • If not enough water when growing tomatoes they can produce tougher skin and less juiciness, making them more mealy or floury.
  • Water in well after planting then keep moist but not soaking. Keep up a steady water supply at all times.  Don’t let them dry out, especially tomatoes grown in pots which can dry out more easily, as it will affect the quality of fruit.
  • To avoid disease do not water leaves, always water at the base.
  • A thin layer of mulch (2-3cm deep) will retain moisture in the soil. Use lucerne hay, sugar cane mulch, pea straw or some other coarse organic matter.

Keep up the feeding

  • Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Fertilise 5 weeks and 10 weeks after planting and then every fortnight.

Trouble shooting

Bugs & Diseases

  • Protect plants from pests and diseases with regular use of Tomato Dust.
  • Low toxicity pyrethrum to control aphids and whitefly.

Birds & possums

Use a large bird cage or netting to keep birds and possums out.

Yellowing leaves
As plants grow, the lower leaves go yellow and die. That is normal, so simply snip of any yellow leaves. However, if many leaves go yellow or the yellowing is accompanied by unhealthy looking blotches and spots, or if the plant wilts despite regular watering, the plant has probably contracted a bacterial, fungal or virus disease. Check with your local nursery for advice.Usually the plant should be pulled out and disposed of. Don’t grow tomatoes in that spot again for at least two years.

 

Posted on February 3, 2010 at 11:49 am by Brigid · Permalink
In: Information, Fruit, Vegetables · Tagged with: , ,

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