Guide to growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes on the vineThis guide to growing Tomatoes takes you through the stages of growing Tomatoes. If you have already planted yours and are ready to harvest or are unsure if the crop is ready to harvest go here for advice.

Tomatoes – well then you grow from plants, are almost like cook from the bag meals, add water and heat (sun) and stand back. Tomato plants are easy and fast growing just buy a bush variety and plant it where it will get lots of sun, now watch it grow – they grow so fast you nearly can watch them!


Thing you need to tackle when getting ready to transplant your Tomatoes.

  • You need to add some aged manure to the site approximately 2 weeks before transplanting seedlings outdoors. To insure you cover the roots till to a depth of about 12 cm.
  • tomatoes ready to transplantGetting the plants ready to go outside (hardening off)
    1. 2 to 3 days before you’re ready to begin hardening plants off.
      • Reduce the amount of water you give them
      • Stop fertilizing until they are transplanted.
    2. About 2 weeks before transplanting:
      • Put the plants outdoors
      • Select an area that is out of direct sunlight and wind.
      • Let them spend a couple of hours out there.
      • Then take them back inside.
      • Do this this each day, increasing the time they’re outside each day
      • Also increase their exposure to sun and wind.
      • After about a week leave them out overnight. NOTE: If there is a chance of frost bring them indoors.

If you follow the procedure about your plants should be properly hardened and they will be strong enough to withstand full sun, strong breezes that they will encounter outside.

  • A supporting system for your plants is recommended, so at the time you are planting you will need to set up either stakes or cages in the soil.
    1. Staking will keep the developing Tomatoes off the ground.
    2. Caging will aid the plant in hold itself upright.

NOTE: Before you set this up it is worth knowing that sprawling plants with the help of good weather and enough space can also produce fine crops. So if you live in a warm climate and you have the space this may be an option for you.


  • Don’t transplant until the soil has warmed up after the last spring frost.
  • The selected site needs to have well-drained soil and full sun – at least 6 hours per day. If you live in a warm climate some afternoon shade will help tomatoes survive and thrive.
  • To allow sufficient growing space you want to plant seedlings 60cm apart.
  • When planting pinch off lower branches and place the root ball down far enough that the lowest leaves are just above ground level.
  • To reduce the risk of shock to the roots water your plants well.



  • For the first few days give your plants lots of water.
  • Continue to water liberally all the way through the growing season.
  • To retain moisture about a month after transplanting you will want to cover the ground with mulch.
  • You will need to fertilize several times during the growing season –
    1. Approximately two weeks before the first picking
    2. Again then two weeks after first picking.
  • Pruning plants – if you are using stakes, then pinch off suckers to leave only a few stems per stake.

Cherry Tomatoes ready to harvestHarvest

  • For as long as possible leave your tomatoes on the vine.
  • In the event that some fall off early you will need to follow the steps below to give them a chance of ripening
    1. You need place them in a paper bag with the stem up.
    2. Find a cool, dark place and store them until they have matured.
  • When left in sunny areas tomatoes may rot before they ripen so don’t place them in sunny places such as a windowsill
  • When the Tomato is firm and very red in color it is ready to be harvested.
  • What to do if the frost comes early or when it does arrive your plant still has Tomatoes on it but they are not ready?
    1. Take up the whole plant.
    2. Move it inside to somewhere that you can hang it up.
    3. Hang it upside down.
    4. Pick tomatoes as they ripen.


  • To avoid spoiling the flavor and texture of the garden tomato taste, never attempt to refrigerate fresh tomatoes.
  • If you wish to freeze your tomatoes then
    1. Core them first.
    2. Place them whole in either a freezer bag or a container.
    3. Seal the bag/container and label it.
    4. Freeze
    5. Note when they defrost the skins will slip off.

Note: To help prevent diseases developing in the soil you should design your garden to allow for crop rotation from year to year.

Did you know – During periods of drought you can help tomatoes survive by –

Placing a flat rock next to each one of your plants. What will this do?

  1. The weight of the rocks will draw water up from under the ground
  2. They will also stop the water from evaporating.

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