Homegrown tomatoes are loaded with flavour and give a higher yield for space occupied than any other vegetable.
When deciding on which variety is right for you and your garden, first consider your garden space - are you growing in pots or veggie beds?
Bush type tomato (Determinate)
If you are looking for a large harvest on a compact plant, keep an eye out for small growing plants with a height generally no larger then 50cm - these bush type tomatoes offer a range of fruit sizes, from mid to cherry, as well as popular shapes like tasty roma. These are hard working plants that focus on fruit production, so make sure you keep them well fed with a high quality liquid fertiliser.
Vining Tomatoes (Indeterminate)
Vining tomato plants are usually 1.5 to 2m plus tall, and will need stake or trellis at planting to support this height, as well the the abundant harvests they produce. These large plants dig deep with their root systems, so if you are planning to grow them in a pot, make sure it's at least 30cm wide to allow plenty of room to spread out. Should you have a veggie patch either in ground or in a raised bed, make sure these plants are spaced out by 1m to allow plenty of ventilation and growing room.
Next consider how you like to eat tomatoes - are you a snacker, a slicer, or a sauce maker?
You’ll want a tomato plant that is laden with tasty cherry or grape tomatoes. Small fruit tends to be sweeter and is perfect for eating straight from the vine! Or you can always pop them whole into salads with a simple dressing to make this sweetness shine.
Do you prefer your tomatoes on burgers and sandwiches? Choose mid sized fruit varieties for tasty, well textured fruit. These tomatoes come in different colours, and are lower in juice, so they will hold their shape better when sliced into salads or onto your favourite cracker.
Making pasta sauce or planning to preserve your harvest? You will need large, full flavoured, juicy fruit of a roma or sauce making tomato. Flavourful rich fruit with retain it's deep taste in the cooking process, and more juice means the fruit can break down easily for a smooth, delicious looking result.
Once you have chosen your variety based on where you want to grow them and the fruit you would like to produce; here are some handy tomato growing tips;
- Ensure you grow your tomato plants in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of full sun everyday
- Early season plants will need to be protected from cool winds and frost
- Stake your tomato at the time you plant it - this avoids root disturbance later on
- Feed and water your plants regularly, but avoid over-feeding or leaving the roots soggy
- Protect young seedlings from slugs and snails