Growing tomatoes in March
If you’re lucky enough to have had a bumper tomato crop during summer, you may be still swimming in them! Here is some inspiration on what you can do with all those delicious red (or yellow, orange or purple!) fruit.
1. Freezing – you can simply freeze whole or chopped up raw tomatoes in snap lock bags to use in cooked dishes like casseroles.
2. Homemade pasta sauce – cook up tomatoes with garlic, herbs and spices and freeze or preserve for those nights when you want a quick and easy pasta dinner.
3. Jams, relish & chutney – whether it’s a tasty addition to a sandwich, used as a meat glaze or served as part of a cheese platter, these are a great way to make delicious and long lasting use of tomatoes.
4. Sun drying – whether you use a special food dehydrator, some long slow hours in the oven or on trays out in the sun, drying or semi drying tomatoes and then storing them in oil or in the freezer is a great way to create your own flavour packed additions to salads and pasta dishes.
In the tropics, you can sow seed of Yates Tomato ‘Summerstar’, which is a great variety for warm climate gardeners to grow. It’s been bred to grow well in warm zones and be disease resistant.
It’s a hardy tomato that produces generous quantities of smooth skinned, deep red tasty tomatoes after around 15 weeks from sowing. Yates Tomato Summerstar can be grown in either a sunny garden bed or a container, so balcony and courtyard gardeners don’t need to miss out on this delicious variety.
It will need support to grow on, as the plants can grow up to 1.5 m tall. Round or triangular tomato ‘cages’ are easy to use supports for growing larger varieties of tomatoes in both garden beds and containers.
‘Summerstar’ seeds can be sown direct where they are to grow.
For best results, dig some Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser into the soil or potting mix first. This adds rich organic matter into the soil which earthworms and microorganisms will love.
Once the seedlings are established, each week apply a tomato specific plant food, like Yates Thrive Tomato Liquid Plant Food, to help promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of flowers that will turn into delicious, juicy tomatoes.
- In a sunny location out in the garden, enrich the soil in the planting area with some Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. It’s a rich source of organic matter that will help improve the structure of the soil, encourage earthworms and beneficial microorganisms and provide the newly planted bulbs with gentle, slow release organic nutrients to promote good early bulb growth. * For potted bulbs, choose a pot with good drainage holes and fill with a quality potting mix such as Yates Premium Potting Mix. When planting bulbs in a pot, they can be grown quite close together, which helps create a lovely dense look.
- Follow the directions on the bulb pack as to how deep to plant the bulbs and ensure that you plant them the right way up!
- Water the garden bed or pot after planting to help settle the soil or potting mix around the bulbs.
- As soon as the first leaves emerge, you can start to feed the bulbs each week with a high potassium plant food such as Yates Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Plant Food, which encourages healthy growth and helps promote future flowers.
- Potted bulbs will need regular watering to ensure they have enough moisture.
Spread the love!
The bright little petaled faces of pansies are one of the delights of the cooler months. Whether you have a bare spot in a sunny or partly shaded garden bed or want to brighten a courtyard or balcony with some flower packed pots, pansies provide a splash of happy colour.
Oasis Horticulture has a range of the prettiest spreading pansies, which will grow to around 45 – 60 cm in diameter.
They become smothered in flowers during autumn and winter and are fantastic as garden bed fillers and to cascade over the edges of containers, hanging baskets and retaining walls. Varieties include purplish pink ‘Raspberry’, multi coloured ‘Fire’ and light mauve and white ‘Morpho’.
To create an additional wow factor, combine spreading pansies with late winter and spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, jonquils tulips, hyacinths, freesias, hyacinths and anemones, which become available from March.
If you’re in the sub tropics, try babiana and baby gladioli. The pansies will provide a beautiful carpet of flowers and then the bulbs will pop through the pansies and begin their gorgeous floral display.