Your outdoor spring-cleaning checklist
Growing fresh tomatoes is easy to do in any size garden. Whether you grow them in pots, a raised garden bed or your veggie patch, all you need is your favourite seedlings, 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 and where they grow best.
Most of the popular tomato varieties do grow well in pots. Apart from being a good option for growing in smaller outdoor spaces, the great thing about pots is you can move them around to find the best warm, sunny position.
Cherry tomatoes also grow 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.
This compact bushing tomato plant grows up to 50cm tall. Growing well in full sun, with moderate watering, these are strong and vigorous tomatoes that produce high yields of medium-sized, juicy fruit around 2–4cm.
If you plan to grow tomatoes in a veggie patch or raised garden bed, there are all sorts of interesting varieties to try. Prepare the soil first by digging in some organic matter, and giving it a dusting of garden lime. Also, the best way to encourage healthy fruiting in any variety is to stake the plants while they are still young.
One of the most popular tomato varieties to grow in Australia is the Gross Lisse. Great for staking, this trusty plant produces good yields of medium to large fruits and is able to adapt to most soil conditions. This variety produces the best fruit in a protected, warm, sunny spot with deep free-draining soil.
In colder climates, the Siberian Heirloom tomato grows well at lower temperatures and is frost resistant. While 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. So called because each plant produces bunches or ‘trusses' of tomatoes that can carry up to six medium-sized fruits. 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.
You could even try growing something a little more interesting like the Green Zebra. This bushy indeterminate variety 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, but their growing season is longer than most others.