Grow the Best Tomatoes


Pride of Place - It's a great time of year to grow tomatoes 

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 and you’ll be harvesting a bumper crop of homegrown tomatoes this summer!

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3 Steps to Grow the Best Tomatoes


Once the cold weather has passed, and the soils have warmed up it’s 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 varieties based on your cooking and taste preferences. We've put together some suggestions here

Once you have selected your plants, choose a sunny position for planting. It’s best practice not to plant your tomatoes in the same spot as last season as diseases can remain in the soil.

Then it is time to get the soil prepared – the better the soil, the better your tomatoes will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost 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. If planting in pots and containers fill with Tui Tomato Mix.


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:

  • Place stakes in the soil for each tomato plant before planting to provide support and avoid damaging the roots later on.
  • Soak plants in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the size of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant.
  • Position the plant in the centre of hole.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Tie the tomato plant to the stake.
  • Water tomato plants well after planting.


Feed your tomatoes 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. Use Tui Enrich Vege, Tomato & Herb Controlled Release Fertiliser to promote optimum growth through its specialised triple action formula. Apply every six months, for best results apply in early spring and late summer.

Keep your tomatoes well watered. To reduce the chance of blight, avoid watering plant foliage.

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

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.

Birds love juicy tomatoes – put up netting to protect yours.

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Grow the Best Tomatoes Comments

  • Very good info, thanks


  • great info

    Howard Farndale

  • Hi, great info, thanks! I’m new to this and last year my tomato’s kept splitting....could you tell me why this was please??


    • Hi Mark, tomatoes tend to split when either watering is inconsistent, if they are watered in the middle of the day, or if the soil is lacking a nutrient. To eliminate the nutrient issue, fertilise with Tui Tomato Food if you have not done so already. Or if you feel it’s a watering issue, change the time of day you water.

      Tui Team

  • I see that you say feed every 6mnths with Tui Enrich Vege, Tomato & Herb Controlled Release Fertiliser. My tomatoes are still in their seedling Pots about 16cm high & I'll be planting in the garden this weekend. (I guess thats ok - or will I transfer them into a bigger pot meantime). Do I feed them anything else meantime. Or just water. Thankyou. I found the preparation of the article was a great help.

    Annette Benge

    • Hi Annette, planting them in the garden this weekend sounds like a great idea before they get too big in their container. We wouldn't suggest putting them into a bigger pot first as this will mean two transplants in a short space of time, which could affect the plants. Before planting in the garden soak the seedlings in Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to help prevent transplant shock and also give them a healthy boost. When planting you can apply Tui Enrich Vege, Tomato & Herb Controlled Release Fertiliser as per the directions. We're pleased to hear you found our information helpful and wish you a successful spring in the garden (and a bumper crop of tomatoes!)


      Tui Team

  • The best tomato I have grown was Sweet Million. I got it from Egmont seeds but they don't stock it any more. Is there anywhere in NZ I can get more sweet million seeds? Cheers Joan Manson

    Joan Manson

  • Is it too late to plant cherry tomatoe plants in the Waikato now, 8th Dec?


    • Hi Farrah, yes you can still plant cherry tomatoes now. Check out our Tomato Growing Guide for growing tips. Happy growing!

      Tui Team

  • Hi Tui, I enjoyed this summary but hoped for a reminder about the best companion plants for tomatoes.


    • Hi Anne, thanks for the feedback. Here is a list of good neighbour's for Tomatoes: Asparagus, basil, beans, cosmos, celery, cucumber, borage, carrot, chives, garlic, grape, hyssop, lettuce, lovage, lemon balm, French marigold, marjoram, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, peas.

      Don't plant tomatoes near potatoes, egg plant or capsicum as they are susceptible to the same diseases. Any plants from the brassica family are not good companions as they stunt growth. They also don't like growing near fennel. The Tui Team.

      Tui Team