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Tomatoes are a warm season, frost tender annual. Seeds require a warm soil of between 18 - 28°C to germinate. Sowing at too low a temperature will cause delayed or failed germination.
In temperate areas: sow in early spring - either inside with extra bottom heat by using a bottom heat propagator, behind a sunny window or on top of a hot water system; if sowing outside wait until all frost danger has passed and the soil is warm. Generally if starting tomato seeds inside then begin 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost date in your area. By sowing early there will be time for a good crop to be produced before the first frost in winter.
In subtropical areas: sow March - October in frost-free areas
In tropical areas: sow late April - July.
In the hot, humid areas larger tomatoes such as Beefsteak, Oxheart and Grosse Lisse are unlikely to do well. On extremely hot days tomatoes can literally 'cook' on the vine and turn to mush. Tomatoes also can suffer sunburn; a white shadecloth cover can help reduce heat stress on the plants. The hardiest tomatoes for hot and humid conditions are cherry and roma types. For a round tomato Tropic is a good choice as it is disease resistant.
Sow 6 mm deep into seed raising mix in seedling pots or trays. Germination takes 7 - 14 days. Liquid feed the seedlings once germinated. Seedlings are ready to transplant when the 2nd set of 'true' leaves appear. During seedling development make sure the seedlings are not crowded and receive strong light. Seedlings become leggy (etiolated) with weak stems if the light is insufficient or if they are too crowded. The best seedlings have strong, stout stems.
Seedlings should be planted out in a full sun position after all frost danger has passed.
Plant in rows 90 cm apart with 45 - 60 cm between plants.
Transplant by planting seedlings deeper, up to the first set of 'true' leaves, first carefully removing the seed leaves. This speeds up fruit production and increases root depth.
Grow in a fertile, well-drained garden bed with a soil pH 5.8 - 7. Prepare the soil by adding compost. If stakes are required then put them at the same time as transplanting takes place to avoid later root disturbance. Providing support to keep fruit clear of the ground helps keep fruit clean and prevents slug and snail damage. Mulch the plants well. Keep well fertilised and evenly watered. Protect fruit from fruit fly with PestGuard Bags.
Avoid planting in garden beds that have grown tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums or eggplants recently. Recent research indicates pruning reduces yields but it can be useful in making plants much easier to stake.
syn. 'Red Ponderosa' or 'Crimson Cushion'
A very productive heirloom variety but doesn't tolerate temperatures above 32°C. Fruit is large (> 500g) flattened, slightly ribbed, brilliant crimson with meaty deep red flesh, few seeds with a 'real' tomato flavour, excellent for slicing. An indeterminate type so requires staking. Not suitable for hotter, wetter subtropical and tropical climates. Days to harvest: 80 - 96.
ST215 approx. 80 seeds
ST216 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Black Krim'
A Russian heirloom variety with large, 350g, beefsteak- type dark red to maroon fruit with a rich, full flavour. Shoulders have a dark green blush, flesh is dark red. Prone to cracking in wet weather but a very heavy producer. An indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 80 - 90.
ST162 approx. 80 seeds Organically certified
ST204 approx. 1500 seeds Untreated
Tomato 'Black Russian'
'Black Russian' is an heirloom variety with medium, round, dark-red fruit with a purple blush on the shoulders and very dark red flesh. It has a great flavour with a good balance of acid and sweet. An indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 77.
ST170 approx. 80 seeds
ST175 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomatoes contain a nutrient called lycopene that has been shown in studies to help protect against breast, pancreatic, prostate, and intestinal cancers, and may help to reduce the risk of heart attacks. They are also a source of Vitamins C, A and E, potassium, and fibre. Organic tomatoes provide an even greater health benefit. Research at the Agricultural Research Service in Albany, California, USA, has found that the organic ketchup contains up to three times as much lycopene as ketchup made from conventionally grown tomatoes. 13 brands were tested, including three organic brands, with the organic brands recording 183 micrograms of lycopene compared to averages of 60-100 micrograms for different conventional brands.
BFA The Organic Advantage Ed. 50
Tomato 'Cherry Camp Joy'
syn. 'Chadwick Cherry'
An heirloom with fruit a little larger, 3.5 cm, than other cherry types, carried in clusters of 6. It has a delicious, sweet flavour and is very productive and disease resistant. 'Camp Joy' is an indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 80.
ST223 approx. 80 seeds
ST224 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Cherry Cocktail'
A bright red cherry tomato, exceptionally sweet, very prolific with large trusses of fruit ripening at the same time on vigorous plants. Ideal for salads, early maturing and disease resistant. It has a semi-determinate plant habit; staking is recommended.
ST209 approx. 80 seeds
ST210 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Cherry Fox'
Excellent variety of cherry tomato, prolific producer of full-bodied cherry tomatoes. Produces over a long season.
ST113 approx. 80 seeds
Tomato 'Cherry Rainbow'
A delightful and unique mix of 7 cherry tomatoes including 'Cherry Cocktail', 'Camp Joy', 'Pink Marbles', 'Black Cherry', 'Red Pear', 'Yellow Pear', 'Yellow Currant' and 'White Ice Cherry'.
ST155 approx. 80 seeds
Tomato 'Cherry Red Pear' H
syn. 'Red Fig'
'Cherry Red Pear' is an heirloom variety with a rich flavour, it produces prolifically on sprawling bushes. An indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 70.
ST201 approx. 80 seeds
ST202 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Cherry Yellow Pear' H
syn. 'Beam's Yellow Pear'
Delightful little yellow pear-shaped fruit are hard to resist. Very vigorous and prolific, heavy clusters of fruit with a mild, sweet flavour. Produces all summer long, drought resistant. Excellent for salads. An indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 70.
ST225 approx. 80 seeds
ST226 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Cherry Yellow Honey Bee' H
A bright yellow cherry tomato, exceptionally sweet, very prolific with dozens of little, 2.5 cm fruit in clusters. It is early maturing and disease resistant. It has a semi-determinate plant habit; staking is recommended. Excellent for salads. Days to harvest: 55 - 68.
ST199 approx. 80 seeds
ST200 approx. 1500 seeds
Many factors can affect the height of tomato plants including soil type, time of year, watering etc. The main factor however, is whether the tomato is Determinate or Indeterminate.
Determinate tomatoes are also commonly described as 'Bush' types and usually grow between 90 and 120 cm. There are also new compact hybrids developed to be 'space saving'.
Indeterminate tomatoes are also commonly described as 'Climbing' types and usually grow between 1.8 and 2.4m. They generally need staking. Most open-pollinated tomatoes are indeterminate. Height can be reduced by tying the tomato bush to a stake 1.5m high and then allowing additional growth to just flop over.
Tomato 'Green Zebra'
'Green Zebra' is an indeterminate type so requires staking. It is a beautiful chartreuse tomato with deep lime-green stripes, very attractive. Flesh is rich tasting, sweet with a sharp bite to it. Yield is excellent. Days to harvest: 77.
ST197 approx. 80 seeds
ST198 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Grosse Lisse'
'Grosse Lisse' is an old Australian favourite. It has medium to large, globe-shaped, deep red fruit with a great flavour. It produces abundantly over a long period. It is an indeterminate (climbing) type so requires staking. It also grows very tall and it is best with some pruning of early side-shoots. Try to develop just 2 main leaders. If too many leaders are kept, fruit size will be reduced. Days to harvest: 86.
ST165 approx. 80 seeds
ST182 approx. 1500 seeds
'Moneymaker' is an old English variety producing plenty of intense red, medium-sized, round fruit, approx. 160g. The fruit is thin skinned with a solid flesh and fine flavour. Copes well with high humidity. Indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 75 - 80.
ST116 approx. 80 seeds Organically certified
ST181 approx. 1500 seeds Organically certified
Tomatoes for Everyone: A Practical Guide To Growing Tomatoes All Year Round
Allen Gilbert 1997 (AUS)
All you need to know about tomato growing in one great book. Allen Gilbert is a very experienced horticulturalist who knows what works in Australian conditions. 'Tomatoes For Everyone' takes you from planting seed or seedlings right through to harvesting, recipes and storing. Fertilisers, staking, different growing methods, pests and diseases, grafting - all are well covered and illustrated with colour photographs and clear diagrams. Over 100 varieties of tomato are described in an easy to use chart format; characteristics and particular uses of different cultivars are also listed. An excellent read for keen gardeners and tomato lovers. Full colour 142pp
Tomato 'Mortgage Lifter'
'Mortgage Lifter' is a beefsteak-type tomato created in the 1930's. This heavy yielding variety is low-acid, with a sweet, rich flavour. Fruit is large (>750g), slightly flattened; with meaty, deep pink flesh and few seeds; excellent for slicing. Big tomatoes perform less well in humid areas. Indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 80 - 90.
ST187 approx. 80 seeds
ST188 approx. 1500 seeds
syn. 'Bullock's Heart', 'Coeur de Boeuf'
An old garden favourite with heart-shaped rose-red fruit to 600g. The flesh is firm and meaty flesh with very few seeds and an excellent flavour. Good for slicing and sauces. Grows well in cool areas. Indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 80.
ST176 approx. 80 seeds
ST183 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Principe Borghese'
'Principe Borghese' is an Italian heirloom with deep red, 30-60g, plum-shaped fruit. It is very tasty eaten fresh in salads and ideal for bottling, cooking, pastes and drying, as it has few seeds and retains flavour well. Determinate type so does not require staking. Days to harvest: 78.
ST217 approx. 80 seeds
ST218 approx. 1500 seeds
I purchased a small roll of the Pestguard cover recently and am now receiving the benefits !! I can honestly say I have never grown tomatoes as beautiful as these in 45 years of growing Grosse Lisse in the Blue Mountains for 25 years, Mudgeeraba for 12 years and now Crows Nest for the last 4 years, not a blemish, red flesh right through and very juicy with no spraying or dusting at all !!!
Kevin at Crow's Nest.
Tomato 'Roma San Marzano'
'San Marzano' is a vigorous, reliable variety with clusters of deep red, pear-shaped fruit. It is very tasty eaten fresh and ideal for bottling, cooking, pastes and drying, as it has few seeds. It is a bushy type but may benefit from staking. Days to harvest: 60 - 80.
ST205 approx. 80 seeds
ST206 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Rouge de Marmande'
syn. 'Early Girl'
A French heirloom that produces clusters of 170g deep red, slightly flattened, ribbed fruits that are up to 9 cm across. The fruit has an outstanding flavour and very few seeds. It will set fruit well in cooler conditions than other varieties. Good disease and pest resistance. Days to harvest: 65 - 75.
ST229 approx. 80 seeds
ST230 approx. 1500 seeds
'Scorpio' is an Australian variety bred by Alister Inch particularly for subtropical areas as it is resistant to bacterial wilt and copes with humidity. It produces smooth, red, medium-sized, round fruit.
The fruit has solid flesh with a good flavour. Days to harvest: 69 - 80.
ST220 approx. 80 seeds
ST221 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Thai Pink Egg' H
Delicious, sweet, pink, grape-shaped, 40 mm long fruit are sold in Thai markets. A very heavy cropper, it is resistant to cracking even in heavy rain. Days to harvest: 60 - 65.
ST190 approx. 80 seeds
ST191 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Tropic' H
'Tropic' is an indeterminate type so requires staking. Firm, round, red fruit with slightly green shoulders have a sweet flavour, weigh approx. 250g. It is the best variety for hot, humid areas; disease resistant. Days to harvest: 80.
ST167 approx. 80 seeds
ST185 approx. 1500 seeds
Tomato 'Yellow Perfection'
'Yellow Perfection' is a British heirloom, small, slicing tomato. The fruit are perfectly round, thin-skinned, golden, sweet, low-acid, weigh 85 - 140g. It is an indeterminate type so requires staking. Days to harvest: 75.
ST156 approx. 80 seeds
Our area seems to be infested with fruit flies from late September and up to last year it had been impossible to grow unaffected large-fruiting tomatoes, even when I sowed them in July! We put the Fruit Fly Exclusion Bags over every raceme of fruit, tying them off with the covered wires around the stem. Being enclosed like that also seemed to cause them to ripen more quickly. How pleased we were to eat unmarred Peach, Pineapple, Red Colossus and Pink Queen tomatoes for the first time from our own bushes. The bags proved waterproof and reusable several times over.
Jude Fanton, Director, The Seed Savers' Foundation.
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