Tomato tips for your best crop yet
Growing tomatoes is an Australian pastime. The tomato is at the top of the spring vegie must grow list for many gardeners. Each year, gardeners swap tips and compare strategies to bring in the best crop. We have listed a few of our favourite growing tips to help this year's crop be your best one yet.
- Plant in the ground after the Melbourne Cup weekend as the last frost and cool weather is typically gone, if the weather is not favourable, it’s best to wait.
- You can get a head start by keeping your seedlings covered overnight. If you have a greenhouse or hothouse, keep your plants inside and transfer them outdoors after Melbourne Cup Day. If planting directly into the ground, keep protected with frost cloth until after the last frost and the weather is favourable.
- Choose a sunny position for your plants. Tomatoes desire plenty of sunlight for healthy growth.
- Space your tomatoes at least 30cms apart to allow room for growth in all directions.
- Create strong stems on your tomato by giving them a gentle occasional ruffle with your hand. An overly staked tomato has a weaker stem than a free growing, lightly supported plant.
- Remove the bottom leaves of your tomato plant. This encourages growth upwards and can help prevent fungal diseases.
- Add some mulch to your garden bed to help the soil retain moisture.
- Water regularly and consistently at the root level to allow the plant's roots to better absorb the nutrients in the soil, reducing the risk of blossom end rot.
- Be on the lookout for damage to your plant and fruit as pests like fruit fly can do serious damage.
- Flavoursome tomato fruit are created with a little bit of stress. Overwatered “soft” tomatoes will produce watery, milder-tasting fruit.
- Tomatoes are very hungry for nutrients. Feed your plants monthly with a product that supports tomato and vegie growth for robust, healthy plants.
- Try companion planting. Plant your tomatoes with basil, marigolds or other plants to deter pests and attract pollinators such as bees and ladybirds.
What have you found works best for your tomatoes? Email your tips to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll update the list.