By Jason Hauser

There’s thousands of varieties, hundreds of strategies for growing them, and just as many ways to be UNsuccessful growing them! I reckon I’ve tried many of the latter over the years and learned plenty the hard way πŸ˜‚

Our subtropical climate seems hell bent on making sure we seldom see a perfect ripe tomato. Following conventional growing advice only ever seems to deliver underwhelming outcomes (especially if you want to avoid spraying for pests).

No claim of professional tomato growing prowess here, but perhaps some wisdom (acquired the hard way) worth sharing to help others grow better tomatoes at home.

πŸ… Any tomato you intentionally plant – surely underperforms just to spite you! Nurture a few of those well placed volunteer seedlings that seemingly just want to thrive – they will often reward you in spades

πŸ…If you decide to purposefully plant one (or transplant a seedling), follow the advice to plant a leaf node or two extra deep. Better root establishment and drought resistance in those critical early growth stages.

πŸ…If animals, birds or fruit flies are the bane of your existence, grow cherry or grape type tomatoes – they fruit abundantly so you won’t miss losing a few, as a bonus many small fruiting tomatoes are resistant to fruit fly

πŸ…Little black spots on your fruit don’t always mean they are ruined by fruit fly. Collect the semi-reasonable looking ones and proceed to slice’em up. You’ll often be surprised that they are seemingly perfect inside. Fruit piercing bugs (like green tomato stinkbug) often cause cosmetic damage only.

πŸ…Bang for buck seems to always come from growing indeterminate varieties. They fruit over a longer period, and can sprawl out and root at multiple points, increasing tolerance to dry spells. Generally they are more tolerant of humidity and fungal diseases

πŸ…If you desire to save seeds to grow the same variety again and again, heritage varieties are for you. Be selective as not all varieties are suited to our subtropical climate. If you don’t mind a surprise then any seed will do but the resulting fruit varies from plant to plant, sometimes unnoticeably, other times dramatically.

πŸ…Final tips – There are tomatoes for any time of the year – try them anytime you desire. Remember to bag or net your big fruited tom’s from mid September to early April, and grow fungal disease resistant varieties over the wet seasons (December through March). Lastly, add a source of lime to β€˜sweeten’ your soil, as this will help reduce the impact of pests and diseases as well as blossom end rot problems.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: