How to Grow Tomatoes in South Africa


Tomatoes love heat and sunshine, which makes growing tomatoes in sunny South Africa a cinch. South Africa's climate is temperate and mild, but does vary across regions. The country's eastern coast is humid and hot, its western coast is windy and cooler, and its midsection is dry and warm with frosty winters. However, sunshine is prevalent in South Africa, and its seasons are rarely extreme. Most vegetables, in fact most vegetation, grows easily in South Africa and tomatoes are no exception.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato seeds or seedlings
  • 5 gallon pots or vegetable bed
  • Garden soil or compost
  • Roto tiller
  • Water

How to Grow Tomatoes in South Africa

  • Plan your tomato patch. Tomatoes need lots of sunshine and warmth, so find the sunniest spot in your garden to locate the plants.

  • Prepare the soil. Tomatoes need richly composted soil, so till several inches of compost into the garden or potting soil.

  • Transplant the tomato seedlings, or sow the seeds into the soil. Seedlings should be planted deeply into the new soil, their leaves partly buried.

  • Give the plants room to grow. Tomatoes should be planted about 18 to 36 inches in the ground, or in large five gallon pots. In South Africa's warmer regions, particularly near the eastern coast, tomatoes can be planted closer together. This helps the plants to shade each other's fruit.

  • Water the newly transplanted tomato plants deeply, about a gallon a day, for the first week after planting.

  • Water the tomato plants about once weekly after the first week. In South Africa's arid midsection, more frequent watering may be necessary.

  • Add a layer of mulch about two weeks after planting to help retain moisture.

  • Support the tomato plant with a wood or iron stake. Tomatoes love to climb and wrap their vines around stakes. Dig the stake into the soil, about two inches from the plant, and gently secure the vines to it with loosely knotted string.

  • Watch for tomato fruit about 45 to 90 days after planting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tomatoes grow well with companion plants, including basil, beetroot, cabbage, carrot, lettuce and parsley. They do not grow well with fennel.
  • Remember, South Africa's seasons are opposite to those in North America and Europe. In the southern hemisphere, spring planting season begins in September.
  • Tomatoes don't recover well from frost and cold. In South Africa, overnight frost is possible in the country's arid midsection, so watch out for cold snaps overnight.

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  • Photo Credit tomatoes image by Horticulture from
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