With the warmer weather approaching we are all keen to get out into our gardens and soak up the sun, although don’t be too tempted to head down to the nurseries just yet to plant your much anticipated Tomatoes as, unfortunately, I don’t think we have seen the last of the frosts in Victoria. Be patient, the time will come and we will all be out enjoying the planting season.
We have all heard some of the ‘rules’ on when to get your hands dirty and plant the Tomatoes seedlings. Some families have traditions passed down through the generations which stipulate that Tomato planting is on Melbourne Cup Day (wearing fascinators to match their gardening gloves of course!) others make a day of it adding a BBQ family feast at the end of the day. When do you plant your Tomatoes? Do you have any traditions that you love to embrace?
At Yarra Valley Estate, within a mixed variety of Tomatoes, we are excited to be planting some ‘Purple Russian’ & ‘Black Krim’ varieties this year. The seedlings are growing tall and strong in our hothouse and we know these will add colour to our dishes, evoking discussion around our organically grown fruits with our guests. At YVE we also have ‘San Marzano’ seedlings, a Roma Tomato which is perfect for preserving as their skins come of easily, they are not known for being loaded with seeds although are bursting with robust flavour. We plan to plant, pick & preserve these little beauties!
When planting time does come around, be sure to use ‘companion planting’ which has beneficial effects on one another (we are trying to confuse the pests here too!), so plant your Tomato seedlings alongside Basil, Carrots, Peppers, Marigolds & Nasturtiums … all of which are perfect in a summer salad.
A few planning tips:
- Plan your layout to combine with companion plants
- Tomatoes love heat – warmer soil will mean earlier ripening fruit
- Bury them deep, don’t worry – they will grow towards the light
- To stake or not to stake? If you are not planning on staking your tomatoes, that’s ok – last season we left some of ours ramble abundantly on the beds in the Edible Forest and they flourished!