Sweet sensation

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It’s time to get tomato beds ready for a fruitful season ahead. Labour weekend is peak planting time for tomatoes in New Zealand, sooner for greenhouse growers and gardeners in the warmer north.

It’s risky to plant frost tender plants outdoors too soon but its important to make the most of summer by getting plants in as soon as the warm weather. Prepare a warm sheltered spot with as much sun as possible, good drainage and added compost. Your tomatoes will need a non-stop supply of water and nutrients.

Whether you grow you tomatoes in the garden soil or large grow bags, most tomato varieties need a support structure or stakes installed at planting time to avoid damaging the roots later. Most are tall growing and ‘indeterminate’, which means they will keep growing, flowering and fruiting until stopped by frost. Those which quickly grow to a finished height then produce a big crop of fruit all at once are known as determinate varieties. Vigorous grafted plants need strong support structures.

Have fun planning the varieties you want to grow and maybe even start your own plants from seed ready to plant out as soon as the risk of frost has passed. Pick your favourites fromgarden centre's selection of premium tomato varieties arriving in stores now. Trying different varieties is a good way to work out which ones grow best for you.


Cherry-sized with a burst of sweetness when eaten, these are the ultimate snack tomato for lunch boxes, salads and platters. As healthy party food, team a cherry tomato with mozzarella and a basil leaf on a cocktail stick.

  • Sweet 100 - available as a seedling or grafted plant is very easy to grow for a vast abundance of sweet, cherry sized juicy fruit on long trusses.
  • Honeydew - Trusses of bright orange cherry tomatoes on a strong, highly productive plant.
  • Ponchi - Small trusses of round, red and yellow cherry sized tomatoes with intense flavour. Ideal for growing in containers.
  • Rapunzel - Super long trusses up to 60cm long with up to 40 cherry-sized fruit on each truss.


Cocktail tomatoes are a little larger than a cherry tomato, with attractive fruit produced in trusses. Eat them raw or grill them on the truss for an impressive brunch plate. They make a brilliant pizza toppings too.

  • Tumbling Tom - This high performing patio tomato produces cascading clusters of small red fruit on a compact plant (30to60cm tall) ideal for growing in containers.
  • Campari - A bright red cocktail tomato loved for its sweetness and flavour, with trusses of round bright red fruit.
  • Heartbreaker - Bountiful crops of bright red heart-shaped cocktail tomatoes great for salsas and salads.
  • Yoom - A unique black-purple cocktail tomato with great umami flavour. Trusses of small round fruit produce glossy hues of purple to almost black, darker with more sun. Shading the skin from the sun, the calyx of the Yoom tomato leaves a little star that tells you if the tomato is ripe. If its turn form green to orange-red, it’s ready to eat.


Heirloom tomatoes are those that have been passed down through generations. These tasty treasures come in an enticing array of interesting colours and shapes.

  • Black Krim - Large sweet fruit with dark brown-red skin and rich blackish-red meaty flesh.
  • Brandywine Pink - Large ‘beefsteak’ fruits are pinkish red with green shoulders and make into delicious meaty slices. This one dates back to 1885.
  • Grosse Lisse - An old favourite consistent performer, Grosse Lisse produces medium to large sized bright red fruit with excellent flavour on tall, heavy bearing plants.
  • Money Maker - All time popular Money Maker bears heavy crops of round smooth, medium sized fruits over many weeks.
  • Roma - The popular low-acid Italian tomato produces a bulk crop of oval tomatoes that are excellent for cooking, bottling and sauce making but also good for eating raw.


Hybrids bred for their super high yields and disease resistance, these tasty all-rounders are reliable performers in most climates, good to grow for eating raw or cooked with plenty for the freezer.

  • Tasty Tom - Especially bred to put the taste sensation back into modern hybrid tomatoes, as the name suggests, with medium sized bright red fruit.
  • Dynamo - heavy crops of bright red fruit over many weeks.


Generally known as the ‘beefsteak’ tomatoes, these beauties intrigue with their size and quirky irregular shapes. They’re fleshy and full flavoured, good for cooking or eating fresh. One slice covers a slice of toast.

  • Beefsteak - Very productive and reliable, a time-honoured favourite large tomato. Plants grafted onto rootstock deliver outstanding vigour, high yield, disease and wilt resistance.
  • Big Beef - This award-winning hybrid, yields big tasty fruit weighing up to 350grams.
  • Super Steakhouse - The giant of tomatoes. One fruit can weigh a kilogram in ideal growing conditions.

Many tomato plants come grafted onto disease resistant rootstock to boost vigour and heavy cropping. Grafted plants offer a long and prolific fruiting season and excellent disease resistance.

Growing tomatoes from seed

Sow tomato seed into clean trays filled with good quality seed raising mix. A seed tray at no more than 4 to 5cm depth allows a warmer seed bed for faster germination. A week or two after germination, when seedlings are about 5cm tall, transplant them into individual pots. Protect seedlings from the cold until it’s warm enough to plant outdoors.

Tomatoes love:

  1. Constant moisture - soak the soil throughly and mulch to prevent water loss.
  2. Regular feeding - use plant foods designed for tomatoes with potassium for fruiting.

Look for these products, tips and advice at an Go Gardening garden centre near you.



Tomato seedlings for sale



Brandywine Pink

Grosse Lisse

Home grown tomato seedlings

Vine tomatoes