Plant of the month: Tomatoes Lycopersicon esculentum
This month it’s all about tomatoes.
Everyone loves home grown tomatoes, and you know what? They’re easy to grow. From Tiny Toms to the larger Black Russians, there are all sorts of different sizes and colours to plant in the garden.
Tomatoes grow well in pots, hanging baskets or in the ground.
Growing tomatoes is a great project for kids. Buy some seed and plant in little pots. Kids can watch them germinate and grow into fruiting plants.
Tomatoes are also available as seedlings in punnets or single pots. Plant in a sunny well-drained position. It’s preferable to select a patch that hasn’t grown tomatoes the previous season. Mix in organic compost before planting. Remember to keep plants well-watered and feed regularly. Stake larger growing varieties.
Favourite varieties to plant range from truss tomatoes to the larger Beefsteak and another beauty is Roma. It has a high yield, fewer pest problems and is a wonderful cooking variety.
What else to plant
It’s a great time for planting shrubs too. Hydrangeas, roses and lavender are ideal choices.
Hydrangeas are heroes of the summer garden with their long flowering season. They thrive in a partially shaded spot in well-drained soil. Plant in a pot but remember to keep water up to them.
The flowers of Hydrangea macrophylla can change depending on soil type. Acid soils give blue flowers, alkaline soil gives red, pink to purple. Change the colour by adding aluminium sulphate for blue, or lime for red to pink hues. White flowering hydrangeas will not change, no matter what the soil type.
There’s no doubt that spring is a great time to add a pop of colour. Petunias come in a rainbow of colours and are hardy sun lovers as are dianthus, also called pinks, with their pretty, fragrant flowers. Verbenas, and impatiens are good choices too.
Ramp up plantings in the vegie patch. Plant bean and carrot seeds. Carrot seed need to be kept moist after planting. A good tip to help germination rates is to cover seeds with a timber plank. Once the seedlings emerge, remove the plank.
It’s also a good time to plant capsicum, celery, chillies and eggplant. Courgettes such as pumpkin and zucchini will also do well. Plant successive crops of lettuce for summer salads.
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Remember the Perfect Plant Promise. All our plants (except seedlings) are guaranteed for 12 months. If you're not 100 per cent happy, return your plant (with receipt or tax invoice) and we'll refund it.
The garden is bursting with life, so there are lots of jobs to do.
Get out the pruners and trim azaleas after they finish flowering. This will promote new growth.
Get cracking on some lawn maintenance. Kill any broad leaf weeds such as bindii, clover, dandelions and thistles with a weed n feed product.
Give vegies a boost with some fertiliser.
As spring bulbs finish flowering and die back add some fertiliser too. The nutrients will be stored in the bulb, so they reward the next season.
Spray citrus at pre-flower stage with copper to control a fungal disease that causes brown rot and lesions on the skin of lemons.
In October there’s loads to harvest. Pick broccoli, silverbeet and cauliflower. Harvest citrus such as oranges, lemons and limes. Strawberries should also be ripening as the weather warms.
Spring is an awesome time to be in the garden in New Zealand, so get out and amongst it.
Start planting today
Check out the wide range of plants available at your local Bunnings Warehouse and bring your garden to life.