Tomato vines are garden diva’s, bedazzling themselves in ruby bright orbs. Picked, these jewels decorate a dinner plate with extravagant taste. The first bite of my sun ripened tomato happened in slow motion as the taste of red took my breath away and I stopped everything, sitting down to savour the song between my teeth. 

Sammy tip ‘MAKE IT SNAPPY’ by Dogtor Sammy


SOWING SEASON: Spring to early Summer – see sowing chart
LIGHT: Full sun
WATER: Keep moist
SOIL pH: pH 5.5 – 6.5
SOW MANY: 2 – 5 plants every 4 people
PLANT MORE: Every 4 weeks in growing season
SEED SPACING: 70cm – 1m apart
HARVEST: 9 – 12 weeks after sowing
STORE: Room temperature, sun dry or make puree
COMPANION PLANTS: Asparagus, basil, beans, carrots, celery, chives, cucumbers, lettuce, marigolds, mint, nasturtiums, onions, parsley, peppers
HEIRLOOM SEED: San Marzano, Parma Beefsteak, Oxheart, Red Cherry, Yellow Pear

‘SOW SIMPLE’ by VanessaVanessa's version


Tomatoes are very generous souls that like to share, as the more you pick, the more are there.  You find 2 types: determinate which are more bushy, grow about 1m tall and produce all their fruit at the same time and indeterminate tomatoes, which have vine habits, growing branches up to 6m long and produce continually until disease or frost kill them off.

beech wood hand fork1 – SOIL RECIPE: 

Tomatoes are heavy feeders and so I enrich my soil with well matured compost (horse manure is best) and a generous sprinkling of volcanic rock dust.  As the fruit comes from the flowers, I feed the soil with a potassium rich fertilizer, like potash or wood ash, as this helps the plant produce more flowers.


tomato seedling2 – HOW TO PLANT:

For a family of 4 sow 3 – 5 plants and plant again every 4 weeks until the end of the growing season.  Space 70cm – 1m apart.  If you have seedlings plant them with just the leaves sticking out as they will grow stronger root systems.  Tomatoes ramble and so by staking them they grow better and produce more fruit.

*TIP: ‘Black thumbs’? Try our ‘Slab of Seed‘ to grow heirloom tomatoes plants.                                                                                     

watering tomatoes3 – WATERING TOMATOES:

Tomatoes prefer their roots being watered as opposed to being watered overhead and it helps prevent fungal infections. Feeding them with an organic foliar nutrient like Biotrissol will stimulate them to grow more flowers, giving you a more abundant crop, and will also help deter diseases.


tomato suckers4 – GET THOSE SUCKERS:

Once tomatoes have grown their 5th or 6th branches prune off any branches below. Prune the ‘suckers’ (off shoots that grow in between to main branches) and leave 3 – 5 growing stems which will produce an abundance of tomatoes.



Leaving the tomatoes to ripen on the vine gives them the most flavourful taste.  Most people refrigerate tomatoes but this changes the texture and flavour of the tomato remarkably and it is best to store your tomatoes at room temperature. To store make sun dried tomatoes which can last up to a year or tomato pesto.

GOOD COMPANIONS: Asparagus, basil, beans, carrots, celery, chives, cucumbers, lettuce, marigolds, mint, nasturtiums, onions, parsley, peppers

BAD COMPANIONS: Brassicas, potatoes.

tomato seedEXTRA TIPS:

Birds love sun kissed tomatoes as much as we do.  To stop them nibbling I take a large piece of ‘fly mesh’ and secure it with a piece of twine around the vine.  The plant gets enough light but the holes are too small for a birds beak to sneak through and steal a bite.

Delightful goodies to grow your own..

5 Responses to “Grow TERRIFIC TOMATOES”

  1. Wow Vanessa – thank you for this informative post. I can’t wait to get started – my tomato SLAB OF SEED arrived in the post yesterday so it is gardening time 🙂

  2. Nothing like the taste of a sun ripened tomato just of the plant!

  3. Hi

    Thanks for all in info, now I can start my veggie garden – it looks so easy !!


  4. Hi,

    Nine weeks ago I planted a Golden Jubilee tomato. It has grown to a height of more than a metre with many flowers and small tomatoes. Problem is that the tomatoes only grow to a cherry tomato size (should get to 5-7 cm) and do not ripen. What could be the cause of this?



    • Hi Nico,

      It could be that the temperatures are too hot and that the plants are too dry. Try watering more often and fertilizer with a water based seaweed or fish emulsion fertilizer which should help remedy this for you.

      Have ‘sow’ much fun playing in the mud

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