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5 tips that will help you nail home-grown tomatoes

Health & Wellbeing, Living

Is there anything more satisfying than growing, harvesting and tucking into home-grown vegetables?

Here, horticulturist and editor of ABC’s Gardening Australia Magazine Phil Dudman provides his top five tips for successfully growing tomatoes at home.

Choose your season

The best time to grow tomatoes in warm, frost free areas of south-east Queensland is autumn to winter when temperatures are mild and there are fewer pest and diseases about. Spring is also good, but you’ll need to pay closer attention to watering and pest control.

Consider your tomato varieties

It’s all about flavour! For home-grown tomatoes you can’t go wrong with heirloom varieties, and everyone has a favourite. Some of my go to’s include ‘Amish Paste’, ‘Grannies Throwing’ and ‘Tropic’, but there are plenty more, including the old reliable ‘Grosse Lisse’. Half the fun is in trying new varieties.

Start seed in pots

It gives you greater control over the conditions – then plant them out when 30-40cm long into compost enriched soil, burying half the stem. Roots will develop along the stem which means greater access to moisture and nutrients. Don’t let the plants dry out.

Support them well

Most varieties are vigorous vines and need training. A couple of stakes won’t cut it. Set up a decent trellis at least 2m tall and visit plants once or twice a week to tie new growth to the trellis, thin out excess suckers and side shoots, and remove diseased and damaged growth. Stakes are fine for smaller growing bush varieties.

Control fruit fly

They are rarely a problem over the cooler months, but once the warm weather arrives (from September onwards), you’ve really got to be on your game, or fruit fly will destroy all of your fruit. Exclusion is the key to keeping fruit fly out. Cover the trusses of tomatoes with a bag from the time fruit set. You can buy exclusion bags or make them yourself from remnant fabric. Even a paper bag and a peg will do the trick.

Phil Dudman How to Grow Home grown Tomatoes


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By Claire Gilligan
WITH A FIFO HUSBAND WHO WORKS AWAY WEEKS AT A TIME, CLAIRE ENJOYS FINDING FUN, LOCAL THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT TO OCCUPY HER AND HER TWO GIRLS' TIME. ORIGINALLY FROM SYDNEY, CLAIRE AND HER FAMILY LOVE ALL THE THINGS THE SUNSHINE COAST HAS TO OFFER AND ENJOY SHOWING IT OFF TO VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Kids on the Coast is a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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