First time tomato grower

This summer, I had my first attempt at growing cherry tomatoes.

I bought a raised garden bed, some soil and three cherry tomato plants – two Tiny Toms, a miniature plant suitable for growing in pots, and one Tomato Sweet Bite (Solanum Lycopersicum).

The tiny tims were a dud. Bland flavour. Not many tomatoes. Won’t bother with them again. My advice is, even if you want to grow some in pots on a verandah, don’t waste your time with this variety.

The Sweet Bite was a success. Cherry toms after cherry toms. Seemingly unending. No bought cherry toms have as sweet and fullness of flavour.

Early on I had a problem with caterpillars eating the leaves. Turns out they are a common problem. Bud worms. Luckily I got onto them quick smart with an organic treatment that only kills the caterpillars. The caterpillars only got into a few tommies. The advice is to spray every week. I only sprayed twice and that stopped them.

Did you know tomato plants grow from cuttings too? Mr S knocked off two stems which I popped into some soil. They grew roots and are now producing fruit.

As it’s been a very wet summer, sadly the late tommies split. and as it was also very hot – summer here desiccates plants in a matter of days – the leaves all fell off.

I didn’t fertilise as often as suggested by the bottle of fertiliser. Not sure I needed to do more though the later tommies were small. But that may have been due to lack of consistent water as I was away for a couple of weeks.

The raised bed could only cope with one plant. The plant was really too tall and too heavy for the pot. Next year I will plant cherry tomatoes in the ground but I think that I will lose them to possums. (The possums couldn’t get up the raised bed.)

Anyway, that will be next year’s challenge. Grow more cherry tom plants somewhere in my garden.

The tommies are all finished. No earlier photo due to camera issues.

4 thoughts on “First time tomato grower

  1. I grew a number of things on my deck last summer in very large container pots, as well as a wide, tall (waist high) cedar raised bed. Had cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, several different red pepper plants and a couple of large yellow heritage tomato plants (due to my DH buying them when I wasn’t with him). The raised bed held parsley, oregano, bay leaf, basil and a lavender plant. Everything in the raised bed flourished (some of the stuff is still going even in our harsh winter weather), but I had the best luck with grape tomato plants. The cherry tomatoes came out minuscule. The heritage were just too big for containers so only gave up several tomatoes each. For a while, it looked like quite a jungle out there as the eight containers of grape and cherry tomato plants grew more than 2 meters in height–not to mention about a meter wide. Had the containers on rolling bases so I could move them around which helped. Like you, we had a wet summer, so by the end of it, most of the tomatoes were splitting if not plucked beforetimes. Funnily enough, I used to toss broken branches off the deck and a few of them started to grow in the ground below though I did nothing to encourage them. Used organic soil and organic feed. Did the feed plants about every two weeks or so. Looking to refresh the raised planter in the next month or so and perhaps start some lettuces or other early growers when the weather breaks a bit.

    • Quite a garden! My tomato grew so tall I thought it would topple over. I’m going to put in some perpetual lettuce shortly. Our autumns are warm and mild so I am sure they will grow just fine. I love having fresh leaves ready and not stuff going slimy in the fridge.

  2. Last summer (2019/2020) I had a decent crack at growing tomatoes – but I had a variety of local wildlife to contend with – birds, possums, bats *and* rats. Thinking about it, it was probably mostly the bats and birds that decimated my crop. This year, we decided to expand the operation, but set up some kind of protection for them that was a bit more hard core than the bird net – which did work but was too late to save most of the tomatoes.

    So, Reg and Mayhem sketched out a design and we were trawling around Bunnings looking at stuff – then I realised that what we were building was an enclosed gazebo and it might actually be cheaper/easier to start from there. Turns out there’s shade houses. I have a 3m square shade house on my front lawn (it’s surrounded on three sides by hedges and trees, so only looks moderately sketchy coming *up* the street on foot) and I have grown tomatoes. So far, I have picked about 20-25kg of tomatoes, we’ve given away a heap, and I will be making relish on the weekend. I also grew cucumbers BUT they got dusty mildew and died a tragic death (I still have about 6kg of cucumbers in the fridge, also earmarked for relish. And gin).

    I did square foot gardening, but also discovered 17 tomato plants *is* excessive, and having that many plants in a 1mx2m raised garden bed sucks all the nutrients for the beetroot, chilli and capsicum I tried to grow as well. Next year, I think I will go for about 10 plants. Dunno what they were, grew some from seeds, some from those Woolworths seedlings from the year before, and swapped a jar of jam for a couple of seedlings with my neighbour.

    In the back yard, I have a vege pod – half is dedicated to strawberries – I am cutting them back this year, as there’s too many plants. The other half, I have lettuces for picking the leaves, beans (bit crap unless I pick them at the right time) and spring onions. Next year, I will stick to the lettuces, but grow beetroot and the chilli and capsicum in the pod instead. And also, lebanese cucumber is better than whatever the hell variety I grew (BIG cucumbers).

    Oh, and this year – the only wild life was a rat. Now deceased. And in the bin. And I squealed. A lot. Several times.

    • Wow! Well done. With the growing. Not the squealing. I’d squeal too BTW.

      I have a vegepod. Good crops of greens. Strawberries haven’t done well. Will reinvigorate it for winter greens.

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