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Tasty tomatoes

A sure-fire way to tasty toms.

tomatoes Spring is tomato planting time, and no tomatoes taste as good as the ones you grow yourself.

In most areas, September's a great month to sow tomatoes from seed. Even though tomato seeds can be planted direct into garden beds, best results are usually obtained by sowing into pots or trays of seed raising mix and transplanting when the plants are a few centimetres tall.

Some top tomatoes are:

Grosse Lisse: Heavy yield of large round fruit.

Big Beef: An award-winning variety with good flavour. Large and juicy.

Summertaste: Australian-bred tomato that does particularly well in warmer areas.

Moneymaker: Round red fruits in enormous clusters.

Roma: Traditional egg-shaped tomato that's best for paste and cooking.

Small Fry: Trusses of tiny sweet fruit on a tall, rambling plant.

Tiny Tim: A miniature in all ways, Tiny Tim grows cherry sized fruit on a dwarf plant. Perfect for pots.

How to grow your own tomatoes

The best way to learn how to grow tomatoes successfully is to seek advice from an experienced grower. Long-time gardener Geoffrey Breslin does such a good job that his tomato plants have been known to reach up to 3 metres tall. He sometimes has to harvest them from a ladder!

Here are some of Geoffrey's tomato tips:

  • Dig the soil to one good spade's depth about 3 months before planting. 
  • Mix in some old horse manure.
  • About 6 weeks later, dig in some Yates Garden Lime.
  • Plant tomato seedlings and water in well.
  • Feed every week with Yates Thrive Soluble Plant Food
  • Control pests and diseases with Yates Tomato Spray.

Tomatoes in pots

If you don't have enough space in the garden to grow tomatoes, try them in containers instead. This is where Tiny Tim comes into its own because it's compact enough to grow in a small container. Larger varieties will need bigger pots. Use a good quality potting mix and fertilise regularly — Thrive Soluble Plant Food is good.

Harvest tomatoes when they are as ripe as possible and store them at room temperature. This way they'll have the very best flavour and taste particularly good in salads.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 2, 2004