Top Tips for Bumper Tomatoes

Harvesting fresh homegrown tomatoes is a joy many gardeners look forward to every year. Store bought tomatoes just never taste as good as something fully ripened and grown with love in the sun at home!

For the start of the tomato growing season we've put together top tips to help you enjoy a a bumper crop of tasty homegrown tomatoes this summer.

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


  • 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.
  • Plant in a sunny spot as tomatoes need sun to ripen.
  • Prepare the ground before planting by digging in organic matter like Tui Compost and sheep pellets to your soil. This will ensure your plants get off to the best possible start!
  • Place stakes in the soil for each tomato plant before planting to provide support and avoid damaging the roots later on.
  • Plant with Tui Tomato Mix, specifically formulated with extra potassium to encourage a plentiful harvest of big juicy fruit.
  • Tomatoes germinate readily from seeds, sow seeds in trays of Tui Seed Raising Mix in spring, water and keep soil moist. Seedlings will appear within a few weeks.
  • Even if you have a tiny balcony, it’s easy to grow a tomato plant in a pot or hanging basket. Just make sure it’s in a sunny spot and kept well watered and fed.


  • Feed tomato plants planted in the garden with Tui Tomato Food every four weeks to replenish nutrients used, and to enhance flavour and ripening. Use Tui Enrich Vege, Tomato & Herb controlled release fertiliser for tomatoes planted in pots and containers.
  • Water regularly, a deep soaking two or three times a week. Irregular watering can lead to blossom end rot, and if plants dry out they are more susceptible to pests and diseases. For more information on blossom end rot and how to prevent it click here >
  • Avoid watering the foliage as this can cause fungal disease.
  • The best times to water are in the morning or evening rather than in the heat of the day. 
  • Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic regularly for plant health and to help plants handle fluctuations in temperature.


  • Allow fruit to ripen on the plant. Although tomatoes do ripen further once picked, the flavour is always at its best when allowed to ripen fully on the plant.
  • Store tomatoes at room temperature as they lose their sweetness when chilled.
  • If summer temperatures have been slow to warm up, tomatoes can take longer to ripen. With sun, warmth and water they will ripen eventually. 


  • Basil makes a great companion plant for tomatoes, repelling diseases and improving growth and flavour. Borage, chives, mint and parsley are also great companion herbs for tomatoes. Carrots, beans, marigolds, cucumber, cosmos, lettuce and peas are other good companions.
  • 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.
  • Halfway through the growing season prune the base leaves to let sun and light in to improve air circulation to help prevent fungal disease like blight.
  • Cover plants with netting to prevent birds stealing your ripening tomatoes!

Follow our Tomato Growing Guide here >

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Top Tips for Bumper Tomatoes Comments

  • Excellent tips thank you.

    Frances Gupwell

  • Great growing instructions

    Margaret Mccallum

  • I obeyed all the instructions for growing tomatoes and have strong thriving tomato plants but no tomatoes. What is wrong?


  • Hi Phillippa, in many areas they are taking longer to produce due to a slower start to summer, so it could be due to the weather. Keep up with the feeding and watering, you should see some tomatoes soon. It is a good sign your plants are strong and thriving. An application of Seasol plant tonic will also give them a boost. Thanks, Tui Team


  • My tomatoes have lots of crispy crinkled leaves l feed and water them regularly

    Joy Mildenhall

  • How do I stop whitefly or aphids in my glasshouse. I am growing courgettes and tomatoes hydroponically. Thanks


    • Try spraying the foliage with diluted fish emulsion.

      Fiona Baker

  • Great tips. I am looking forward to a bumper crop of tomatoes this season.

    Murray Waitoa

  • may also be lack of bees- if your flowers arent being pollinated you could get a very soft artists paintbrush and gently brush pollen from one flower to another...


  • Hi one of my tomato plants is looking green and healthy and growing well with a good thick stem but it?s new leaves are small curled and mishappen - it looks different to the leaf curl that can happen due to temperature changes or irregular watering. I have given it a dose of seasol. Can?t see any bugs - is it a disease? What should I do? Many thanks

    T hill

  • Hi Alma, if the infestation is small you can try blasting off with a hose, if it is a bigger infestation spray with a natural based spray (check at your garden centre). Ensure you have enough airflow in your greenhouse. Check out our guide to a healthy garden here: Happy gardening from the Tui Team.


  • How do I protect my plants from birds? They are killing my seedlings & these haven't even grown YET!!!

    Trudy Eldred

  • We have had a go at growing our own veggies for the past couple of years, and its been ok. This year thanks to all your tips we have a bumper wee garden going and we love heading out there on these nice long nights to potter. We still classify ourselves as newbies and its definitely not cheap getting it all started but we have a good supply of fertiliser and different gardening bits and pieces now and we feel like we have a good base knowledge of what we are doing. I grew up with home grown veggies so I like that we are giving that back to our kids. Even if at that age I didn't understand how good that was. :) This year our tomatoes are in containers and they are looking really good. I have noticed some little green bug clusters on them and my nana suggested warm soapy water with a tiny bit of cooking oil in a spare bottle, Has anyone tried that? Keen to find and try home hints and tips before buying anything.


    • Sounds like aphids, try the homemade spray but I haven't found it effective if there's lots of aphids? Try and get on top of it quickly because they multiply so fast and then are really hard to get rid of!


  • Hi Trudy, have you tried netting over your plants? Also check slugs and snails aren't enjoying your seedlings too. Thanks, Tui Team


  • Hi there, thanks for getting into touch. Have you had a good look on the underside of the leaves? Mites can live under the foliage are very small so can be hard to see, if you spot them, spray with an insect spray. Otherwise your problem could be a virus, sadly if it is a viral issue there is no treatment. Feel free to send a photo through to for our garden gurus to look at. Thanks, Tui Team


  • Hi Joy, this sounds like your plants may have leaf burn, this happens if the foliage of the plants gets wet in the hottest part of the day, or if plants are near a window which can cause a reflection burn. If neither of these explanations don?t sound like they would be the reason feel free to email a photo to for our garden gurus to look at. Thanks, Tui Team


  • Hi Joy, this sounds like your plants may have leaf burn, this happens if the foliage of the plants gets wet in the hottest part of the day, or if plants are near a window which can cause a reflection burn. If neither of these explanations don?t sound like they would be the reason feel free to email a photo to for our garden gurus to look at. Thanks, Tui Team


  • Hi Stacey, thanks for getting in touch. That's wonderful to hear, good on you for growing your own and we are happy to have been able to help you grow with more success this year. You can't beat homegrown veges from you own garden :) It sounds like you have aphids on your tomatoes. You can try soapy water to help control them, or use a natural based spray available at your garden centre. Check out more hints here: Happy gardening from the Tui Team!


  • My tomatoes have got blight, I have never had this before. Could it have come from the seeds I planted?

    Anne Knutson

  • Hi Anne, thanks for getting in touch. It wouldn't be from the seeds, it will be due to the conditions and this time of year is when blight is more common. Blight can be caused by lack of air circulation around the leaves and watering the leaves. Fungal disease can also lay dormant in the soil and fungal spores can be wind blown. Remove the infected leaves, ensure the plant has enough air circulation and avoid watering the leaves. Apply Tui Seaweed Plant Tonic to give the plant a boost. Thanks, Tui Team


  • hi can u tell me why our tomatoes are cracking while they are still green thanks


  • Hi Val, split tomatoes are commonly caused by fluctuations in temperature and/or irregular watering. Water regularly and deeply and mulch around your plants to help maintain moisture. Feed every four weeks with Tui Tomato Food and apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic at least once a month for an overall health boost and to help plants cope with temperature fluctuations. The tomatoes are still edible however they won't keep as long. All the best ^Tui Team


  • My tomatoes are growing really well however, I have noticed from time to time some of the flowers will dye off. Is something nibbling on them or is it related to how I'm growing them?


  • Hi Rachel, flowers can drop off for a few reasons, one common reason is that the flowers do not become pollinated. In this case the petals wilt and die. Inconsistent watering is another reason, if plants get a lot of water then go through a dry period, it can cause the plant to abort flowers as well. As it isn?t happening to all your plants its probably water related. Regulate watering and feed regularly with Tui Tomato Food. Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic at least once a month for an overall healthy boost. ^Tui Team


  • I have grown tomatoes in my 8' x6' glasshouse for over 30years every year and still have no problems. This season I was eating tomatoes at the beginning of December. I live in Nelson and NO I do not have artificial heat or any disease. I have decided that "big beef" are the most reliable to grow. Happy gardening.

    Gordon Newton

  • Enjoy reading up on planting hints.

    Mary Grab

  • I am not 100% sure how to tie up my 4 tomato plants growing in the glasshouse. Any tips would be most appreciated. 

    Wendy Perry

    • Hi Wendy, depending upon how big your glasshouse is, you could run a wire along the top and then run strings down to support each plant and to grow up. Anchor the string into the soil using a tent peg at the base of the plant. Alternatively use bamboo or wooden stakes, in a teepee which is a bit more stable or single. Continue tying the tomatoes are they grow. The Tui Team.  

      Tui Team

  • I have tomato plants in pots and need advice on watering.

    Clare Fleming

    • Hi Clare, watering will largely be dictated by the weather and temperatures each day. You will need to water at least once a day in the growing season, and on really hot days you could be watering twice a day. Even if there is rain and the weather is warm, the plants still might not get enough water, so you may need to give them a small watering even on rainy days. If temperatures are cool (10-12 degrees C), you could probably hold off watering daily. It pays to not leave your plants sitting in water, let them drain between watering (unless you are going away for a day or two) as tomatoes like a free draining soil and don't like wet feet. To help retain moisture in the mix you could add Debco Saturaid. This is a wetting agent which can be applied to the top of the soil and watered in, it will help water penetrate the mix channeling it to the roots and lasts for up to 6 months in the mix/soil. You still need to water regularly, but the water is getting down to the roots and so makes watering more efficient.  Mulch around your plants with Tui Mulch & Feed to help conserve soil moisture as well. Regularly feed your tomato plants, for container grown plants use Tui Novatec Premium fertiliser or Tui Enrich Tomato, Vegetable and Herb 3 in 1 fertiliser. Both are safe for plants in pots and containers. Alternatively use Tui Seaweed & Fish applied using a watering can every 2-4 weeks or Tui Performance Naturals Tomato and Vegetable Liquid fertiliser every 2-4 weeks. The Tui Team.

      Tui Team

  • Help! I have lots of green healthy growth but no fruit developing. It was in a container with good soil and regular watering. What can I died/shrivelled and dropped flowers now but very vigorous green growth and very tall - just no tomatoes - Black Krim variety. Thanks.


    • Hi Moyra, tomato flowers shrivel up and drop off for several reasons, either they have not been pollinated, or there has been a sudden change in temperature, maybe the plants have dried out at some stage, or have been overwatered. The reason for the excessive green growth is that they have had too much nitrogen rich fertiliser or compost which leads to excessive leaf growth and sparse flowering. To adjust this, give your tomato a fertiliser rich in potassium or potash (K) to help stimulate flowering, and you will need to reduce the amount of nitrogen the plant is receiving. Tui have a technical grade potassium called Sulphate of Potash Fast Acting, it is water soluble so can be mixed with water and applied to the soil around the dripline of the plant, mix at a rate of 30g per 1 litre of water. One application may be enough, give it time to work into the soil and be absorbed by the plant. Use the fast acting sulphate of potash, not the granular form as this takes longer to work in the soil and is not as instantly available to the plant.  

      The Tui Team

  • The new plants are growing well, but seem to be putting a lot of energy into leaf growth, particularly low on the stem. Will it help the growth I want, if I cut those leaves back?

    Geoff Henry

    • Hi Geoff, leave the growth intact at this stage, do not reduce the leaves, wait until the first few flower trusses have set fruit, then the lower leaves can be removed. Remove laterals from the plant, that is, the shoots that come away between the main stem and each leaf branch. These can be snapped off, that way not so much of the plants energies will go into vegetative growth. A lot of leaf is a sign of excess nitrogen in the soil, which could be from the addition of compost or sheep pellets, but also lots of new growth is normal, if you do not have any flowers coming and you are feeding with a nitrogen rich fertiliser, switch to a more balanced fertiliser such as Tui Enrich Vegetable, Tomato and Herb controlled release fertiliser.