An extremely popular backyard staple, tomatoes are easy to grow and if looked after well, will reward you with delicious fruit for months.
There is a wide assortment of varieties to choose, from heirloom to hybrid. Some have a trussing growth habit, other will bush up. The fruits can be small and round, oblong or oddly shaped, flat, or large at 8cm+. Tomatoes also come in vibrant colours, from black and deep purple, through to reds, oranges, yellows and green. Some are even striped!
Achievable in any size garden, tomatoes can be grown either in ground or in pots and containers, hanging baskets, and even indoors in the right situation. In any case, tomatoes naturally sprawl and will require space in order to reach their full potential. Apply a trellis, stakes or growing frame at the time of planting, to ensure both bountiful fruit and avoid damage to the roots later on.
Choose a position in full sun, protected from both wind and frost. In Western Australia, tomatoes can be started as early as August, with harvest possible until the end of March.
Most tomato plants require 50 to 90 days to mature. A savvy gardener can also stagger the planting to ensure produce is available early, mid and late-season. When growing tomatoes in pots or containers, the soil will dry out faster and they will require regular watering.
Harvest when the fruit is plump and use as you see fit. Depending on texture and flavour, some tomatoes are better suited to pastas, canning and sauces, others still are best for slicing into salads and sandwiches, while others are terrific eaten simply by the handful.