Grow Your Own Tomatoes In Australia!

Australians love their fresh veg, and there’s nothing better than those that you grow yourself! When you control the entire process from seed to fruit, you know that you are eating the very best, contaminant-free produce available! One of Australia’s favourite vegetables to grow is the tomato! Something of a world traveller, the tomato originated in South and Central America, then made its way to Europe, then are thought to have come to Australia along with the First Fleet. In any case, they are now an important part of the average Australian’s diet and are on record as being consumed in around 87% of all households!

The first question we usually hear is when to grow tomatoes. In tropical regions of the country, you can grow them all year round, but in temperate areas, tomatoes grow best from late spring into early summer, after which they can be harvested from late summer into early winter. Tomato seedlings have planted once the soil temperature reaches 15°C following the last frost, which is usually in August or September. If you want to get a jump start, plant a month early indoors under artificial lights or heat lamps, if you are lucky enough to live in the country and have access to large garden sheds you can start your entire garden that way, and be enjoying the fruits of your labour much sooner!

Tomato plants require a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day, so grow them in a sunny location in your garden. Tomatoes love to be fed, so be sure to add plenty of compost and aged manure to their soil, which should be sandy loam that is neutral to slightly acid, they absorb nutrients best when the pH is around 6.5 to 7.0. Be sure to plant your tomato seedlings deep enough that the root ball’s top is just below the ground level.

Tomatoes are natural climbers and appreciate being trellised! Tie your tomato vines to the support structure loosely with soft gardening strings, and wrap the heavier branches for stability where necessary, then watch them grow!

Be sure to water your tomatoes twice a day, especially on hot days! You can tell if your tomatoes need extra watering by checking the soil around the plants, just poke a stick or your finger a few inches down into the dirt, if it feels a bit dry you can be sure your tomatoes are thirsty! It’s best to water at the plant’s base or set up a soaker hose system that can deliver water slowly and evenly to the plant’s roots throughout the day.

Remember how we said tomatoes love to be fed? The initial manure in their soil will get them started, but to keep them plump and healthy you will need to add nutrients, fertilise them when the fruit starts to set about two weeks into the growth cycle. Be sure to prune off suckers that grow between the branches and main stem.

One fine day when the fruits have turned red or orange, it will be time to harvest your delicious ripe tomatoes! Bon appetite!

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