Late spring is the time to be planting tomatoes and chillies so why not try some of Burke’s Backyard’s tomatoes or Thai chillies.
Burke’s Backyard Tomato
The Burke’s Backyard Italian Tomato is a large fruited, ribbed tomato which is used for eating fresh in salads or on sandwiches. This is an early fruiting tomato variety, which will grow well in cool or warm districts. It is a form of the Rouge de Marmande type which is already popular in Australia. This is a tall growing tomato (called indeterminate) that will need to be staked when grown in the garden.
Tomatoes grow in frost free conditions in a warm, sunny spot. In warm, frost-free zones (for example the tropical and subtropical parts of the Northern Territory and coastal areas of north Queensland) tomatoes can be grown all year round. In temperate climates (coastal and near coastal districts of southern Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia) seed can be planted from August to December providing tomatoes through summer and into autumn. In cool to cold climates (southern Australia, mountain and frost-prone inland districts), delay planting until September and make last plantings by the end of November. Staggering plantings through spring and early summer will extend your harvest period.
Tip: Pick tomatoes just a fraction on the green side, not fully ripe to get the best flavour.
Burke’s Backyard Thai Chilli
The Burke’s Backyard Thai Chilli (Capsicum annuum) will grow into a squat, compact bush about 30x30cm (1×1′). The small (3-4cm (1-1.5″) long) fruit provides a range of colour in the garden from cream, purple, green and finally to red. There is slightly less “fire” in the cream and purple chillies than the green and red although all stages should be regarded as hot. The chilli can be used in any cooking requiring hot chillies, such as Thai or Indian curries. Grow them in a herb garden or as potted ornamental shrubs. They grow in full sun (chillies come from warmer parts of the world) and use a slow-release fertiliser at planting and fortnightly liquid feeding once fruiting begins (normally about December). Remove the mature red fruit to encourage constant flowering and pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushy growth.
Nurseries throughout Australia are now selling Burke’s Backyard Thai Chilli in 70mm (3″) mini-pots for $1.50-$2 and Burke’s Backyard Tomato in six cell punnets for $3-$4.