How to best grow fruit and vegetables at home

In the 2021 Food Challenge for April the raising of fruit was asked in particular about Tomatoes. This has raised an interesting question about how we all can get better results. Many times across the site plants have been discussed. So to start it off here I have placed the link that started the discussion in the April topic.

If you are short on space then a Vertical garden might be the answer and there is a link further down to a CHOICE article in the post How to best grow fruit and vegetables at home

So for all those who grow things at home we look forward to your input to help those who don’t or who aren’t so successful get better bounties from their growing. Your planting timetables, what you plant, when to fertilize, hints and techniques are all very welcome here.

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Try using a green house light to I crease the length of day. That will get your tomatoes ripening sooner.


Dear NayA - :slight_smile:

A green house-light? Do Bunnings sell them?

do I turn it on just before sunset?

and how close to the relevant 2 beds (1.2M square)


PS I was hoping for someone to type that tomatoes aren’t a fruit - which they are - but no-one bit! :slight_smile:


You might have missed this one?

On lighting there are various sources on the web. The tomatoes need both warmth and suitable light. The big question might be the cost of the electricity required?


Bunnings might also now offer similar products?


Scientifically tomatoes are a fruit…as they are a seed bearing part of the plant. Unfortunately, non-scientifically and only in the US, it is also classed legally as a vegetable.

As we are in Australia, it is fruit and qualifies for this month’s challenge.

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Best do a search and have a read on available bonafide literature for plants other than marijuana. Most plants depend on heat but also the number of daylight hours.

Bunnings might but eBay has some good lights at much better prices.

Good luck.

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Thanks for that suggestion @grahroll, they certainly look interesting and I’ll give them a try. Planting will now have to wait until late in the year, as the aquaponics (not hydroponics = chemical farming!) water is now down around 12C after a few cool nights, and they need 25C to germinate, unless I can find seedlings somewhere. They seem to be quite versatile, so will be a valuable addition to what I’ve got growing now. As a shrub to 3.6m, it should be a bit easier to keep the mice off them too.

Some cultivars are tolerant of salinity…

I’ll have to check on what they will tolerate, as I run around 1ppt salinity for fish health reasons.


Hi @gordon
They tolerate some salinity, where they are natively grown in India they are many times grown on what best can be described as marginal soils in very low water areas and these areas tend to be impacted by salinity. It can grow a very large tap root and will break up compacted soils and draws nutrients from deeper down closer to the surface and makes them available to many other plants. It is a legume and nitrogen fixer but it is best inoculated to grow the Rhizomes but it doesn’t require any special/particular variety of Rhizome cultures to do so. You don’t have to inoculate, it is just to improve the amount/chances of it occurring.

Permaculture users like it for it’s mulching and soil improvement benefits as well as the peas and it makes great stock feed (partly due to it’s protein content). Yes it is as you termed very versatile :slight_smile:
For germination just do it in a open jar or bowl in a warm area and when it is big enough plant it out in a sunny position in your aquaponics or yard. It will look like they aren’t doing much for a bit and then they just take off.

The flowers are very nice and bees love them for their nectar, so they may make a great addition to your garden. They have been and are used as hedges and don’t mind a very heavy pruning to keep them in order and as noted above the trimmings make great mulch or composting material. Of course when flowering avoid the pruning to maximise your cropping of the pods. As daylight hours get shorter they tend to flower sooner but don’t perhaps crop as heavily.

I really do think you will be pleasantly surprised by them.


Any good food or support plants you grow in your Garden?

Let us know your favourites, hints, tips and ways to save on money and food with them?

Recipes using them are also welcome.

To start it off was this from another discussion about bottled sauces.


Chilies! Sadly in planters the harvest is small but it’s all organic.

Have been giving my organic seeds away for the last 2 days.


Rocket is a very easy salad green (or stir fry vege) to grow…and best thing is possum chose not to eat it.

When rocket is stirfried, it tends to loose the peppery taste that some might find a little strong to their palette. It can be stirfried with butter and garlic or balsamic vinegar.

In warmer areas, Vietnamese mint is also very easy to grow…but suggest it is grown in a pot as it tends to take over very quickly.

Likewise with yams/sweet potatoes. The tubers can be eaten and the shoots can also be stirfried as a green vegetable.


Looking around for a Tahitian Lime tree to grow in a pot . Thorn less and should tolerate the climate in my region . I live near Port Philip Bay in Melbourne so no or very few frosts . Use a lot of limes in my cooking . Very versatile fruit .


We’ve got a (EDIT- Kaffir) lime in the aquaponics, only grown for the leaves, as the fruit is no good for eating. Some of the other lime bushes were entirely eaten, mostly by big male wallaroos. They also get stuck into other citrus- lemon, grapefruit & oranges, although so far have not eaten any of the finger limes, also in the AP, as they are very thorny.


My guideline for edible things to grow is items that are expensive, like Rhubarb at $9/k. Macadamia nuts.
I’d like to plant an Avocado, but getting dwarf plants, ie, suitable for a metro garden is difficult in WA as most growers in other states don’t deliver to WA. Ironically, farmers too want dwarfing rootstock as they don’t want to use cherry pickers to collect the fruit, their experimentation has shown that Ashdot dwarfing rootstock gives great results, but no one supplies such trees to retail traders!
Herbs like parsley, basil, mint, thyme, etc are easy to grow, are great fresh. Plants like onions, boc chow, carrots, spuds, are so cheap why grow them. Toms, can be good, but IMO go for a variety that is good on flavour, not volume, often the older varieties.
I don’t have a need for tree load of limes, so the native finger limes might be worthwhile, hadn’t realised there so many varieties to choose from, anyone recommend one?


We’re harvesting macadamias right now- I collect the fallen nuts each morning in the chook yard :slight_smile:

How about saffron for expensive? Last I checked it was over $15000/kg! We grew a few saffron crocus plants a few years ago, but only got a few milligrams of threads :wink:

We have a few rhubarb crowns in the aquaponics and sell bunches at the weekly growers markets for $10/kg. Picked the night before, so much fresher than supermarket offerings, and grown without any nasty chemical sprays etc. I cook some up myself, just with lemon juice and a little bit of honey.

IMO convenience and freshness - just popping out to the grow beds and grabbing fresh produce beats supermarket purchasing any day, no matter what the shop-bought cost might be.

The red and pink fleshed ones are the best producers for us, but the green one hasn’t performed very well at all.


For your avocadoes I can suggest your try Diggers at

Please note some are member stock only but you can keep checking until others again show up. A hint from the site about growing them:

Avocado Trees
Avocado trees will grow successfully in all capital cities of Australia, except for inland Canberra. They need a sheltered position and young trees need protection from frost. In warm climates, grow an A and a B type for pollination for good fruit production.


I suspect that you are confusing Tahitian and Kaffir limes.

The Tahitian (or Persian) has the smooth-skinned ovoid green or green/yellow citrus fruit you get in the supermarket, it is mainly used for the juice and the zest of the fruit. The leaves may be used in cooking (as can other citrus) although you generally have to grow your own to get them. The leaves are rather like lemon leaves in appearance and flavour.

The Kaffir lime is mainly used for the leaves which have a distinctive aroma and shape but the zest on the small fruit can be used too, its fruit has almost no useful juice. If your tree has bi-lobed leaves and small knobbly hard fruit it is a Kaffir lime.


More info on the multi coloured native finger limes…

I remember as a kid eating them on some of our camping trips in the bush…fond memories.


Yes, you are correct, it was the Tahitian lime that was eaten, the Kaffir is the one they haven’t eaten. I’ve added an edit to correct my post.


Going to plant out some Chokoes, Hopefully they will grow well and do so for many years. They are great as a roasted veg or boiled and turned in mock apple and pear pies.

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