Tomato Growing Guide

5 Steps to Tomato Planting Success

  • Select a tomato variety based on your taste and cooking preferences.
  • Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.
  • Add a layer of tomato mix to plant into. Depending on your region tomato planting starts from September in New Zealand, with Labour weekend traditional tomato planting time.
  • Feed your tomatoes every four weeks to replenish nutrients.
  • Water your tomatoes deeply and regularly. 

Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown tomatoes.

When should I plant
in
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Harvest in 60-85 days

In sandwiches or salads, roasted or plucked straight from the vine – tomatoes take pride of place in every Kiwi’s garden over the summer months, no matter how you choose to enjoy yours. Plant in your garden beds, pots and containers.

Prepare

Once the cold weather has passed, and the soils have warmed up its time to plant tomatoes. Labour weekend is known as the traditional tomato planting time but tomato seedlings are usually available in garden centres from August.

Choose a variety that suits how you like to enjoy your tomatoes. Click here for top tomato varieties.

It’s best practice not to plant your tomatoes in the same spot as last season, or in the same spot as potatoes were planted as diseases can remain in the soil and affect your new crop.

The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Compost and Tui Sheep Pellets to your soil.

Then you can add a layer of Tui Tomato Mix, specifically formulated with extra potassium to encourage a plentiful harvest of big juicy fruit. When planting several tomatoes at once, it is just as easy to add a layer of Tui Tomato Mix to the whole area before planting. If planting in pots and containers use Tui Tomato Mix.

Plant

If you’re growing from seed rather than seedlings, you’ll need to get started about a month earlier to give your seeds time to grow.

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away.

Directions for planting in garden beds:

  • Choose a sunny position.
  • Place stakes in the soil for each tomato plant before planting to provide support and avoid damaging the roots later on.
  • Before planting your tomato plants, soak in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock.
  • Add a layer of Tui Tomato Mix to the planting area.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Tomato Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Tie the tomato plant to the stake.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Directions for planting in pots and containers:

  • Choose a sunny position.
  • Before planting your tomato plants, soak in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock.
  • Half fill your container with Tui Tomato Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the container.
  • Fill your container with Tui Tomato Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Tap the container gently on the ground to settle the mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well.

Nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients used by your tomatoes ensures they will grow to their full potential.

For tomatoes planted in garden beds feed every four weeks during key growth periods of spring and summer. Tui Tomato Food is a blend of nitrogen, phosphorus and a generous amount of potassium formulated to promote the growth and fruiting potential of all types of tomatoes. For tomatoes in pots and containers use Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.

Between monthly applications of Tui Tomato Food, apply Nitrosol Tomato Liquid Fertiliser made from blood and bone with added potassium at 7 to 10 day intervals. This will give your tomatoes an extra boost, promoting strong healthy growth and excellent root development for an abundance of tasty tomatoes.

Keep your tomatoes well watered. Well watered, well nourished tomatoes will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

Once you've harvested your tomatoes, try our Tomato and Chilli Relish recipe to enjoy your bumper crop.

Tui Tip

  • As your tomatoes grow, remove the laterals to encourage bigger and better fruit. Laterals are the shoots that grow out from the side of the stem.
  • To protect your tomatoes from the elements add a layer of Tui Pea Straw Mulch, to help keep their roots moist in the warmer months, to keep fruit off the soil and to help keep your garden weed free.
  • To reduce the chance of blight, avoid watering plant foliage.
  • Birds love juicy tomatoes – put up netting to protect yours with netting.

Click here for more top tomato tips 

For something different, try our Upside Down Tomato Planter Gardening Hack >