Get your garden ready for autumn
You can grow tomatoes almost anywhere – in pots, a raised garden bed or your vegie patch. All you need is seedlings for your favourite tomato type, well-prepared soil, and a protected area with plenty of sun. But which tomato is right for you? We'll take you through the different types of tomatoes you can grow.
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.
Pots are a great option for growing tomatoes in smaller outdoor spaces, and most of the popular tomato varieties grow well in pots. One big advantage of using pots is that you can move them around to find the best position to give your tomatoes sun and warmth.
This compact bushing tomato plant is strong and vigorous, growing up to 50cm tall. It grows well in full sun, requiring moderate watering, and produces high yields of medium-sized, juicy fruit around 2–4cm.
This tomato plant grows to around 1.3m in height, producing Roma-style, egg-shaped fruit that is perfect for cooking and drying.
Beefsteak tomatoes grow on very sturdy bushes around 1.5m high, and the bushes need to be sturdy to support the large, juicy fruit it produces. This classic variety is delicious right off the vine.
These tomatoes do well in hot, dry areas, growing on a bush up to 1m tall and producing around eight to 10 fruits.
Cherry tomatoes do well in pots, particularly in humid areas, and they look great cascading down from hanging baskets. You can trail cherry tomatoes along a fence or the edge of a raised garden bed.
Planting tomatoes in a hanging basket isn’t as traditional as growing them in pots or in a vegie patch, but this method has its benefits. As well as being easy on the eye, hanging baskets are a space-efficient means of growing plants. Hanging baskets are also easy to move around to place tomatoes in full sunlight or protect them from bad weather.
This vigorous plant produces hundreds of tasty, cherry-type fruits. Its bushy growth is tolerant of heat and humidity.
This pleasingly symmetrical plant produces copious, tasty cherry-type fruits on long trusses, making it ideal for hanging baskets.
There are all sorts of interesting varieties to try growing in a vegie patch or raised garden bed. Start by preparing the soil. Dig in some organic matter and give it a dusting of garden lime.
Tip: The best way to encourage healthy fruiting in any variety is to stake the plants while they are still young.
Gross Lisse is one of the most popular tomato varieties to grow in Australia. This trusty plant is great for staking and produces good yields of medium to large fruits. This variety produces the best fruit in a protected, warm, sunny spot with deep free-draining soil, and is able to adapt to most soil conditions.
In colder climates, the Siberian Heirloom tomato grows well at lower temperatures and is frost resistant. Although they do need sun, the temperature doesn't need to get much higher than a few degrees above freezing for these plants to thrive. They also grow quicker than most other varieties, producing juicy, round fruit up to 225gm in size.
Truss tomatoes are another good option for staking in a garden bed and generally grow up to 1.8m. Each plant produces bunches or ‘trusses' of tomatoes that can carry up to six medium-sized fruits, which is how they got their name. This bushing variety has a good resistance to disease and will enjoy a small amount of fertilising every few weeks once the plant starts flowering.
The Green Zebra is an interesting variety, a bushy indeterminate that produces round 5-7cm fruits with green stripes and a rich, creamy texture. You will need to start growing them indoors for around six weeks before taking them out to the garden; however, their growing season is longer than most others.
This variety is also known as ‘McGarity’. It’s a large plant, growing to 3m, producing large trusses of pale pink, mild-flavoured fruit that are around 12-15cm in diameter.
These large, strong bushes (2-2.5m high) need staking to prevent collapse. They produce early season, globular fruit that’s around 5-6cm in diameter.