Plant when the frosts are past and choose a sunny well drained soil enriched with organic compost and an application of a Complete Fertilizer, Super Phosphate and Dolomite Lime. If adequate base fertilizer is applied you will not need to fertilize until the plants have set their first fruit, then fertilizer regularly with a tomato food, stake as necessary, pruning plants back to 2 main stems. Pick when fruit is ripe although slightly coloured fruit will ripen well indoors.
7 most frequently asked questions about pests & disease of tomatoes
Q. My tomatoes have a black, sunken, leathery spot at the bottom of the fruit, what is the cause of this?
A. This problem is known as blossom end rot which is a sign that calcium is lacking in the soil. Avoid this problem by adding Dolomite Lime to the soil before planting along with regular watering of plants.
Q. The fruit on my tomato plants have blotchy skin with parts of the fruit remaining yellow or orange, what can I do to prevent this from happening?
A. Blotched skin of tomatoes would indicate the soil is lacking in potash. Potash not only improves the quality and flavour of your tomatoes but assists with the prevention of disease.
Q. Splits are appearing on my tomatoes and spoiling the fruit. What is the problem and how can I prevent this?
A. Splitting of fruit is caused from heavy watering or rain after the soil has been dry for a period. Always water regularly through dry periods, this will help prevent splits appearing in your tomatoes.
Q. Our tomatoes plants are not healthy, they appear to be stunted in growth and yellowing for no apparent reason, some have wilted and died. I wonder what the problem could be?
A. This is a sign that there are nematodes present in the soil. Pull up a tomato plant and see if there are galls forming on the roots. Treat nematodes by removing and destroying all affected plants and drench the soil with an application of neem every 2 weeks for eight weeks. Another natural remedy is to drench the soil with 250m (1cup) of molasses mixed in 10 litres of water. Nemacur is no longer available.
Q. The leaves on my tomato plants have turned a dull grey colour and have become brown and papery, the blossoms are also dropping. The remaining fruit has a corky surface and becoming sunburnt as there are no leaves left to shade the fruit. What would be the cause of this?
A. This is a sure sign that Tomato russet mite is present. This is a tiny insect not visible to the naked eye and they feed on the leaves, stems and fruit. Control by spraying with Malathon at regular 14 day intervals. Dusting Sulphur can also be used but will damage plants if used in very hot weather.
Q. I have small caterpillars tunnelling through some of my tomatoes and others have small holes, how do I control these caterpillars?
A. Tomato fruit worms are present. They chew holes in the fruit and are usually hiding under the stalks. Control by spraying with Yates Success.
Q. My tomatoes are being stung by fruit fly. What is an effective prevention that I can use?
A. We promote the use of fruit fly baits hung near your veggie patch and cover your plants with Garden Insect Net (fruit fly net).