Growing fresh tomatoes
is easy to do in any size garden. Whether you grow them in pots
, a raised garden bed
or your veggie patch, all you need is your favourite seedlings, well-prepared soil and a protected area with plenty of sun. But which tomato is right for you? We’ll take you through the different types of tomatoes you can grow and where they grow best.
How Do Your Tomatoes Grow?
Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes and even colours, each with their own growing characteristics. Tomato plants can vary in size too, starting with the short dwarf varieties that only grow about two feet. There are also mid-sized varieties, often referred to as bushing or determinates, which produce one bulk harvest in their lifecycle. The larger, vining varieties, or indeterminates, do need more room to spread out and can produce fruit over the course of a whole season.
Tomatoes to Grow in Pots
Most of the popular tomato varieties do grow well in pots. Apart from being a good option for growing in smaller outdoor spaces, the great thing about pots is you can move them around to find the best warm, sunny position.
The Tiny Tim variety is an easy option for beginners or kids to grow. This miniature plant is a good example of a dwarfing, bush tomato that produces a sweet, cherry sized red fruit 2cm to 3cm in diameter.
Cherry tomatoes also grow well in pots, particularly in humid areas, and they look great cascading down from hanging baskets. You can trail cherry tomatoes along a fence or the edge of a raised garden bed.
Windy Box Roma
These plants are low maintenance, and typically grow around one metre high. They produce tasty pear- or plum-shaped fruits that are perfect for salads and sauces.
This compact bushing tomato plant grows up to 50cm tall. Growing well in full sun, with moderate watering, these are strong and vigorous tomatoes that produce high yields of medium-sized, juicy fruit around 2–4cm.
Tomatoes to Grow in Garden Beds
If you plan to grow tomatoes in a veggie patch or raised garden bed, there are all sorts of interesting varieties to try. Prepare the soil first by digging in some organic matter, and giving it a good drink with some liquid fertiliser. Also, the best way to encourage healthy fruiting in any variety is to stake the plants while they are still young.
One of the most popular tomato varieties to grow in Australia is the Gross Lisse. Great for staking, this trusty plant produces good yields of medium to large fruits and is able to adapt to most soil conditions. This variety produces the best fruit in a protected, warm, sunny spot with deep free-draining soil.
In colder climates, the Siberian Heirloom tomato grows well at lower temperatures and is frost resistant. While they do need sun, the temperature doesn’t need to get much higher than a few degrees above freezing for these plants to thrive. They also grow quicker than most other varieties, producing juicy, round fruit up to 225gm in size.
Truss Tomatoes are another good option for staking in a garden bed and generally grow up to 1.8m. So called because each plant produces bunches or ‘trusses’ of tomatoes that can carry up to six medium-sized fruits. This bushing variety has a good resistance to disease and will enjoy a small amount of fertilising every few weeks once the plant starts flowering.
You could even try growing something a little more interesting like the Green Zebra. This bushy indeterminate variety produces round 5-7cm fruits with green stripes and a rich creamy texture. You will need to start growing them indoors for around six weeks, before taking them out to the garden, but their growing season is longer than most others