Growing Climbing Tomatoes | Growing Fruit and Vegies | Gardening Australia

Growing Climbing Tomatoes | Growing Fruit and Vegies | Gardening Australia

If you want to grow enough tomatoes to bottle your own passata, you’re going to need to get your tomato crop pumping. Josh has planting tips to take your tomato crop to new heights.

He has chosen Grosse Lisse tomatoes because they’ve performed well for him in the past, and planted up seeds about six weeks ago. They are a dual purpose variety: tasty enough for the table but with enough texture for sauce.

Soil preparation
Although Josh’s soil is already friable and rich after years of development, but tomatoes are hungry plants so he adds pelletised chicken manure for extra nitrogen, compost to improve water retention, potash to aid fruiting and rock minerals for trace elements that can be lacking in sandy soils.

Spacing and support
Giving plants enough space is important to allow air flow (which reduces the risk of disease) and to allow the sun to ripen fruit. Josh allows at least 60-70cm for each plant, in two rows about a metre apart. He builds a timber support, marking each plant’s space with a tall hardwood stake; you need about 2m for climbing vine tomatoes.

Josh plants each seedling, removing the juvenile bottom leaves so more of the stem goes in the soil; the plant will grow secondary roots that will help to stabilize it and increase its access to nutrients.

Mulch and maintenance
To help keep the soil moist, Josh mulches with lucerne. This, combined with regular watering, helps avoid blossom-end rot, which can be caused by irregular watering, or by lack of calcium in the soil. To settle the seedlings in, he applies some half-strength fish emulsion and will continue to do this every 3-4 weeks through the growing season. Side-dressing with potash again during the growing season provides potassium, which supports flower development, leading to more fruit. As the plants grow he will train two main shoots up the frame and prune off any other lateral side shoots.

This story was filmed on Whadjuk country

Featured plants:
Grosse Lisse tomato (Solanum lycopersicum cv.)


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