Old 03-01-2010, 03:20 AM
heliman's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 1,168
Default Tomatoes - Are they Seasonal?

I went shopping for a couple of new San Marzano seedlings/medium sized tomato plants that are ready to transplant but after visiting all the nurseries, I came home empty handed. One place said that as it is "Autumn" now the plants won't produce fruit (though they will grow) - that's the reason they don't stock them.

I have got a whole lot of very small seedlings growing in the garden so I may just see how they go and pop a few in the ground once they get a bit bigger. Temperature has been around the 40C lately and should be warm for the next few months.

Just wondering if I am wasting my time trying to grow these seedlings if they aren't going to produce any fruit. Anyone had any experience growing tomatoes all year round?

Suggestions welcomed..
/ Rossco
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: minnesota, usa
Posts: 472
Default Re: Tomatoes - Are they Seasonal?

All seeds and bedding plants have a "days to maturity". If there are not enough temperature appropriate days left in your weather calendar, the plants wont have time to generate fruit and ripen it. Tomatoes will still grow in cooler weather, but the fruit either won't ever ripen or it will do so extremely slowly and not be as tasty. They really need that very hot, long day of sunshine to be yummy. I have no idea how this applies to AU weather...I've only ever gardened in the northern US where everything is seasonal.
Also keep in mind that even though you can pick a tomato and let it ripen off the plant, those fruits don't really taste like much.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:09 AM
egalecki's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,049
Default Re: Tomatoes - Are they Seasonal?

Tomatoes require a certain minimum temperature to set fruit. Even if they bloom, they won't set the fruit if it's too cool. They also won't set fruit if it's too hot, but that's not as much of a problem. I can't remember offhand what the low temperature limit is, but I think it may be about 60 degrees F.

As far as the rest goes, the northern part of the US (I think up to southern Maine, even) is at the same latitude as the south of France or is even more southerly. So, theoretically, if you can get it warm enough, you should have enough daylight to grow things- although it might not do for something like a tomato, it certainly will for greens, etc. I have a really good book by Eliot Coleman on 4 season gardening that talks about doing this. I don't know how this works for Australia, but you might check the corresponding latitudes and see where you are for day-length.

On another note, my parents were just here, and my mom was telling me how she'd ground up Roma tomatoes skin and all last summer and froze them, and how they made such good tomato sauce for her. She says they taste more like fresh tomatoes in a sauce. I might try this later this year.

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