Tomatoes: Plant in the Spring and Savour the Taste all Summer Long
The time of the year has arrived that gardeners look forward to eagerly. With longer daytime sunshine and warmth, it’s time to get outside and plant our favourite taste of summer: Tomatoes. The annual tomato growing season in the greater Perth area is from August through November.
With the wide selection of tomatoes, you will want to select the type of tomatoes that will comfortably fit within your gardening area and that will please your taste buds.
The two growth varieties of tomatoes are determinate and indeterminate. The determinate variety is well suited for planting in a small garden area as they only grow to a certain height and all the tomatoes will come to a ripened stage at the same time. The indeterminate variety continues to grow vines taller and wider throughout the growing season with the tomatoes ripening at different times.
You can grow your own seedlings from tomato seeds in planting trays or pots for 7 to 10 days as they grow some leaves needed before you can plant them in the garden. Ready grown seedlings are often available at many local grocery stores.
Tips for Growing Healthy Tomato Plants
- While tomatoes do well in a hot climate, they also require some protection from the hottest part of the summer sunlight. Select a gardening location that will give your plants full sunlight in the morning hours, but will give your plants some afternoon shade. You can set up a shade cloth over the plants for protection from the afternoon heat.
- Once you have selected the spot for your seedlings you want to prepare the soil and put the tomato supports in the ground first to prevent injuring the rooting system.
- Prepare the ground for the heavy feeding habits of a tomato plant by adding some phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen from Bibra Lake Soils Sheep Manure and compost from Premium Lupin Mulch into the soil.
- Tomato supports help to both uphold the weight of the growing tomato plants and to contain the growing space of the plants. Recommended supports are wooden stakes that will be tall enough for the estimated end plant height, trellises, and tomato wire cages.
- Dig holes for your plants deep enough to cover the stems of the seedlings, leaving only the top leaves exposed. Add a crushed eggshell and 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt into the hole before planting the seedling. Blossom end rot can be prevented with the calcium from the eggshell. The magnesium in the Epsom salt helps the plants take in nutrients.
- Remove any bottom branches and leaves from the plants that will be in the ground before placing the seedlings into the hole. Cover the plant stem with the mixed ground soil up to the top leaving only the uppermost leaves above ground. New roots will grow from the stems buried below-ground.
- Tomato plants are thirsty plants and require regular deep watering near the stems. Avoid water logging the soil and try not to over water the leaves as this will let the leaves get sun burnt. One way to get the water where the plant needs it is to use a watering can at the plant base. Re-water the plants when the top one inch of soil is dry. This watering schedule will vary on where you live and the amount of sunlight the soil gets.
- Feed your plants once every couple of weeks with Mumby Magic Blended Manure for the nutrients that tomatoes need. Water the plant trunk area after adding the plant food.
- Continue to add Premium Lupin Mulch to the plant base as it grows larger for stronger growth and higher tomato yields. The mulch will also keep the water in the roots and to deter weeds.
- Use elastic, flexible ties to adjust the direction of your plant growth on the tomato supports that will help your plants grow tall and strong within their garden space.
- To help protect your tomatoes from harmful pests and to attract insects that are beneficial to tomato growth, plant basil, thyme, and French marigolds near the tomatoes. Other companion plants with strong scents that can camouflage the tomato aroma and help protect the tomatoes from insect attacks are garlic, onions, oregano, and mint.
- You can encourage your plants to produce more tomatoes by picking the tomatoes regularly once they are ripe. Depending on the type of tomatoes you selected, the fully developed tomatoes will be available for your eating enjoyment and for sharing your bounty with family and friends during the 8 to 17 week period after planting.
All of Your Soil and Planting Products in One Place
Bibra Lake Soils proudly serves the greater Perth WA area. We are located at 222 Barrington Street, Bibra Lake WA 6163, and we are open 7 days a week.
You are welcome to visit us or call us on (08) 9434 2290 to speak with one of our knowledgeable soil specialists about planting techniques or other gardening and landscaping requirements.