When to plant tomatoes in Perth

To have a healthy and fruitful tomato plant, you want to give it the best possible chance.

If you’re looking to grow tomatoes this season, one of the first things to figure out is when exactly you should plant them.

Below, we answer all your questions about planting tomatoes in Perth.

When is the best time to plant tomatoes in Perth?

The best time to plant tomatoes in Perth is in Spring (August onwards). You can also plant them in Summer.

Western Australia has a great climate for growing tomatoes. The growing season is long, and there is plenty of sunshine.

Tomatoes require at least 6 hours of full sun per day to produce fruit, so they thrive in Perth’s warm climate and sunny weather.

To know when you can plant your tomatoes, it helps to know the climate classification of both the area you live in. This will help you determine which plants are ready for outdoor planting.

Perth has a temperate climate, but it is also very close to the subtropical region to the north. It is also considered to have what is called a Mediterranean climate.

In temperate climates, the best time to plant tomatoes is in Spring, once the soil starts to warm up.

How late can you plant tomatoes in Perth?

You can still plant tomatoes in Perth as late as February, but they will have a much shorter window to grow so take into account the variety you are planting.

Cherry tomatoes are quick growing, and they’ll have a better chance to mature before the season ends.

Can you grow tomatoes in Perth winter?

No, growing tomatoes in Perth winter is generally not recommended.

However, if you have a greenhouse to protect the plants from strong winds and frost, you can grow tomato seedlings indoors during winter and transfer the plants to your garden in late spring with the warmer weather.

Alternatively, if you have a sunny room inside your house (e.g. sunroom or sunny windowsill), it’s possible to grow tomato seedlings there and move them into your garden later on.

There are also some cool-season Tomato varieties such as the Giant Tree Tomato that can tolerate cooler temperatures than others if you want to try growing tomatoes outdoors during winter time.

Just keep in mind that they will still need protection from strong winds and frosty nights.

The best thing is to grow other cool-season crops like onions, carrots, lettuce etc until it warms up again then plant tomatoes. This will give you much higher yields.

The best soil for growing tomatoes

Tomatoes are generally tolerant of a wide range of soils and can be grown in almost any soil type.

However, they prefer rich, well-drained soil with high levels of organic matter and do particularly well in loam or sandy loam soils.

Tomatoes like slightly acidic soil (pH level of around 5 to 7).

You can add compost, manure, or fertiliser to improve the quality of your soil.

Growing tomatoes from seed

You can plant tomato seeds direct into your garden. However, it is important that the soil temperature is above 15 degrees Celcius.

This usually happens around the end of September or early October in Perth.

Check when this occurs each year before you plant your seeds by using a soil thermometer or by checking with your local nursery.

Once planted, water the seeds regularly for a couple of weeks until the seedlings emerge.

Tomato pest control

The list of pests that can target your tomato plants is a long one.

Some are easy to spot, some are harder, and some you might not even know about until it’s too late.

From fruit fly, aphids, whitefly, thrips and caterpillars to bacterial diseases—the main thing to remember is keep a close eye on your plants, especially if you’re growing an early crop or during warmer months.

If you think you have a pest problem look into solutions that target your specific pest. There are plenty of options available for dealing with common pests.

You can also consider non-chemical methods first such as releasing predatory insects like ladybirds or handpicking caterpillars off leaves.

Fertilising tomatoes

Fertilising tomatoes is the third step in ensuring a healthy crop.

Fertilisers aren’t necessary if you have well-prepared soil, but they can give your plants a boost.

If you choose to use fertiliser, stick to a low nitrogen variety. Nitrogen encourages leafy growth at the expense of fruit production, so it’s better to focus on other nutrients, like potassium and phosphorus.

A high potassium fertiliser will help promote strong roots and sturdy stems, which are essential for supporting heavy crops of fruit.

You can also supplement your fertilising regime with compost or animal manure. Compost is especially useful for growing tomatoes as it adds nutrients and improves water retention.

Watering tomatoes

How often you should water your tomato plants depends on the stage of growth.

When you first plant your tomatoes, whether it is by seed or by transplanting seedlings, a small amount of water will do.

Your tomato plants will only need a little bit of water to moisten the soil.

The goal is to keep the ground around your tomatoes soft and moist – not wet – so that they can sprout up from their seeds and get their roots firmly in the ground.

As young plants begin to grow, you’ll want to continue watering them regularly but with more water each time.

Other tomato growing tips

Here are some helpful tips for growing tomatoes in Perth:

  • Let tomatoes get plenty of sun. Tomatoes love the sun. In fact, they need at least six hours of full sun each day to produce fruit. But in severe high temperatures, it’s beneficial to provide your tomato plants with some shade on their leaves and fruit. This will help prevent the fruit from scorching in the intense heat.
  • Plant early. There’s nothing better than harvesting your very own juicy tomatoes during tomato season. And if you plant early, you’ll be able to enjoy their ongoing harvest for five months or more—so get planting!
  • Don’t replant tomatoes in the same spot each year. Tomato diseases can build up in the soil over time if you replant tomatoes in previously used soil year after year; instead, try rotating your crops around your garden by planting them somewhere new next season.
  • Experiment with late-maturing varieties like “Brandy Wine” for an extended harvest period.

When to harvest tomatoes in Perth

When you harvest your tomatoes from the vine, make sure that they’re ripe and ready to eat.

You should be able to easily pull them from the plant, with no resistance.

Tomatoes develop their best flavours when temperatures are around 25°C.

Therefore, it is best to aim for harvest before periods of extreme heat or cold.

Store the tomatoes in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight until you’re ready to use them.

FAQ

What Popular tomato varieties can you grow in Perth?

There are many varieties to choose from when planting tomatoes in Perth. Popular tomato varieties that you can grow at home include Gross Lisse, Tommy Toe, Black Russian, Sweet Cherry Gold, Beefsteak, and many more.