Tropical and sub-tropical gardeners can continue to sow new crops of tomatoes during late autumn, for harvest in late winter. Cherry tomatoes are bite sized and flavour packed and several varieties are great for growing in small spaces and pots.
Bite sized tomatoes
Yates Tomato ‘Patio’ produces delicious small round fruit that weigh around 100 g each. It’s a compact variety that doesn’t require staking and is quick to grow, with fruit maturing after around 10 weeks from sowing.
Yates Tomato ‘Small Fry’ is an award winning variety that has masses of sweet, cherry tomatoes. The plant doesn’t need staking and fruit can be harvested around 12 weeks after sowing.
Growing these compact varieties of tomatoes in pots couldn’t be easier. Fill a pot that’s at least 30 cm in diameter (a Yates Tuscan® Pot is attractive and lightweight with great drainage) with a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix
Sow 2 – 3 seeds around 6 mm deep directly into the potting mix. Thin to the strongest seedling when around 5 cm tall. Place the pot in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunshine a day. Tomatoes love the sun!
Once the seedlings are established, regularly applying a tomato specific plant food like Yates Thrive Tomato Liquid Plant Food will promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of flowers that will turn into delicious, juicy tomatoes. The nutrients in Thrive will feed tomatoes through both the leaves and the roots.
To protect tomatoes from the most common pests and diseases, lightly dust Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust over the plants every week. Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust contains an effective combination of insecticides and fungicides to control insect pests like caterpillars and aphids as well as diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spots.
Support tall growers - tall growing tomatoes such as Yates® Grosse Lisse and Yates Tommy Toe will need a support to grow on. You can use tall tomato stakes with soft twine or pantyhose or tomato cages.
To ‘pinch’ or not - extra side shoots, (called laterals) begin to form in the leaf bases on tomato plants. They can be pinched out to allow in plenty of sunshine, abundant flowering and larger individual trusses of fruit. Alternately, on smaller growing and bite size tomatoes leave the laterals to increase the amount of flowering trusses for a bountiful harvest.
Consistent water and food - water regularly and deeply at the base of the plant. Avoid splashing water over the foliage to help reduce the chances of fungal problems like blight and mildew. Watering potted tomatoes is particularly important, as they will dry out faster than in-ground tomatoes. Mulch plants with Lucerne, pea or sugar cane straw to help retain soil moisture.
Feeding - each week feed tomato plants with Yates Thrive® Tomato Liquid Plant Food which is a complete tomato food that’s boosted with extra potassium to promote healthy plants and lots of tomato fruit.
Control common insect pests and diseases - caterpillars, aphids, blight and mildews can be controlled with weekly light dustings of Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust.
In the tropics and subtropics, keep sowing tomato seed to ensure you have an ongoing supply for salads, pasta, sandwiches and tarts. Try Yates Sweet Bite for mouthwatering bite sized cherry tomatoes or large and juicy Yates Big Beef.