In Melbourne, October is the perfect month to start ramping up your summer vegetable patch. The weather is finally starting to warm up and the soil is ready and ripe. An essential ingredient for your summer vegetable patch is the humble tomato. Read on to discover the different varieties and what you need to know to ensure your tomato patch is a big success.

Which tomato?

Tomatoes come in many different varieties. From climbing plants (for which you’ll need a stake or trellis) to free standing plants perfect for pots. When you choose your tomato plant at the nursery, we can advise you on the right choice for you.

Apollo Improved is a very popular variety of tomato in Australia. It produces a classic round fruit that is great for salads and other dishes. Roma is the traditional oval-shaped fruit you see in Australian supermarkets while Black Russian is an heirloom variety with a dark purple colour as the name suggests and a lovely flavour. One of our favourites is the Sweet Bite, a grape variety which is small, oval-shaped and sweet, perfect for salads and snacks. Other small varieties include the Tumbling Tom Yellow perfect for a hanging basket and the Tommy Toe, cherry tomatoes with a delicious flavour. We have so many different varieties in stock I’m sure we can find the perfect choice for you.

Plant seedlings

Plant your tomato seedlings in a pot or your garden bed, ensuring their position is one with full sun and the soil is well drained. If you are planting into a pot, always choose a large pot to give the tomatoes enough space to grow and gather nutrients and water from the soil. Tomatoes are fast growers and big feeders meaning they need a lot of food, water and good rich soil.

Prepare your soil

Ensure your soil is high quality and nourishing for your plants. The best way to enrich your soil is by adding organic matter such as composted manure, worm castings or compost from you household scraps, this will ensure a rich and healthy soil for your tomatoes to grow well. Dig a deep hole when planting your tomatoes to allow the roots to grow. Always water your tomatoes immediately after planting and finish by using a mulch to keep moisture and nutrients in.

Water regularly

Keep your tomato plants well hydrated over summer. It is best to water in the morning before the sun heats up and then if it’s been particularly hot or windy a second water in the late afternoon too. This can also be done while holding the beverage of your choice! I always find it far more enjoyable with a drink in hand.

Fertilise often

Once a month, feed your plants with an organic fertiliser. I would suggest alternating between an organic pellet to encourage strong growth and an all purpose fertiliser to encourage fruiting and flowering. A strong healthy plant is less susceptible to insect and disease.

Watch out for bugs

Caterpillars love tomato plants, while other insects such as aphids or fruit flies can also be a challenge. If your plants are getting attacked, use an organic pest spray to ensure your tomatoes aren’t affected and if the problem continues visit us in store and we can sort out a solution.

If you’re new to gardening, tomatoes are the perfect choice to begin your vegetable patch and if you’ve been gardening for years, then it’s time you tried the wonderful and beloved tomato. Visit us at the nursery to choose the perfect variety for your home and let’s get started so you can enjoy those gorgeous tomatoes in time for summer.


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