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Expert tips for bountiful harvests and delicious homegrown tomatoes
Learn how to grow, harvest and cook with tomatoes. Explore varieties, seasonal care, and advice in this guide.

Grow your own

Growing your own tomatoes comes with so many rewards. It's a productive and economically beneficial crop that can be cultivated without using chemicals. Plus, they grow anywhere – in containers, hanging upside down, even on roofs or porches.

Tomatoes are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants, offering a range of health benefits. Tomato plants come in a diverse variety of colours and sizes, which means endless culinary possibilities.

We’re sharing advice on how to plant and grow tomatoes, from selecting varieties to harvesting. We’re also sharing a flavourful panzanella salad recipe that will bring that homegrown goodness straight to your table.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment. Always wear gloves and a mask when handling potting mix, mulch and compost, and store products out of the reach of children and pets. After applying fertiliser around edible plants, delay harvesting for a few days and rinse well before cooking and eating.

1. Choosing the variety

There is a wide variety of tomato options to suit most tastes and climates. From the tangy sweetness of cherry tomatoes to the hearty richness of beefsteak varieties, the possibilities are mouth-wateringly diverse. As you make your choice, consider key factors such as flavour profile, fruit size, and the specific growing conditions each variety thrives in.

Choosing the perfect tamato variety for rewarding cultivation journey

2. Planting

Set the stage for a successful tomato harvest with proper planting techniques. When selecting the perfect spot in your garden, make sure it's bathed in sunlight – an essential ingredient for those vibrant red fruits. Opt for well-draining soil enriched with nutrient-rich organic matter and clear the area of any weeds before you begin.

As you plant, remember that tomatoes appreciate a cosy environment. Dig a hole deep enough to cover the stem of the plant, leaving the top few sets of leaves above the soil surface. This technique encourages strong root development. Also, take note of the recommended spacing guidelines for the particular tomato variety you're nurturing. Giving your tomato plants the right amount of room ensures they have ample space to flourish and deliver a generous bounty come harvest time.

Tips for thriving bunnings tomato growth and abundant harvests

3. Adding support and fertiliser

Providing proper support and nutrition for your tomato plants is key to their well-being. A well-supported plant can focus on flourishing without the worry of bending or breaking under the weight of its fruits. As you plant your tomatoes, consider installing tomato stakes, cages, or trellises. (Installing these in the early stages of planting will help avoid potential root damage.)

Once the flowering stage begins, treat your plants to a specialised fertiliser tailored for fruits. Applying this nutrient boost around the base of each plant encourages robust growth. Throughout the growing season, maintain this feeding routine every few weeks to sustain your plants' vitality.

Remember that watering timing matters, too – opt for early mornings or evenings when temperatures are cooler. This minimises water evaporation, allowing your plants to efficiently absorb moisture and stay hydrated. Additionally, consider layering pea straw around your plants; this not only aids in water retention but also acts as a protective shield against the harsh sun, ensuring your tomatoes enjoy a thriving and flavourful journey from garden to table.

Optimising tomato plant growth: support, nutrition, and care tips for a flavourful harvest

4. Harvesting

Prime harvesting time varies based on the type of tomato you're growing. Keep an eye on the changing colours – green to vibrant shades of yellow, pink, red, and beyond – as an indicator of ripeness. To assess their readiness, give them a gentle squeeze; ripe tomatoes should yield slightly under pressure, striking a balance between firmness and tenderness. As these sun-ripened gems develop flavour best in warm temperatures, ensure your tomatoes experience consistent warmth above 27°C for optimal flavour.

Sourcing flavourful rewards: Mastering tomato harvesting for culinary excellence

Panzanella salad recipe

Once you’ve harvested your tomatoes, make something that will let the flavour of your freshly harvested tomatoes shine. This simple yet flavourful panzanella salad is tangy, sweet and savoury, and every bite offers a satisfying contrast between crunchy, golden croutons and juicy tomatoes.

Ingredients:

Croutons

100g old bread, crust removed, torn into chunks

30g olive oil

70g red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

500g mixed tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 Lebanese cucumbers,

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

20g red wine vinegar

1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

2 tsp salt

⅓ cup basil leaves, sliced, plus more to garnish

50g kalamata olives, pitted and halved

20g extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper to serve

Method:

1. For the croutons, preheat the oven to 160°C. In a bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, salt and pepper, then mix in the vinegar.

2. Bake on a lined tray about 20 minutes, until golden and crispy.

3. For the salad, smash the cucumbers with the side of your knife to remove seeds, then cut

into bite-sized pieces.

4. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine everything but the olives, croutons and olive oil. Stand for 10-15 minutes to let the flavours meld.

5. Toss through with the olives and croutons just before serving.

6. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the salad into a dish, leaving the excess juices behind. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and a few extra basil leaves.

Indulge in culinary delight with our panzanella salad recipe

Patch to plate: lettuce

Tomatoes go great on a salad. Learn how to grow your own lettuce in this helpful guide.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.