Hi again, it's been a while, I haven't really caught up on this "Blog" thing as it has been really hectic, however, it's time:
I made a call back in September that we were done with frosts here in Seymour Victoria. Usually the rule of thumb is Melbourne Cup Day (A horse race) to plant out Tomato's. I went early! I usually do take a punt (not on the race, nag drags don't interest me one iota) and put a few early Tomato's in so that if the weather Gods smile on the land I end up with ripe Tomato's by Christmas - if they frown and I lose the plants I just put in more and have to wait a little longer.
I have a method that seems to work very well, it's no secret but not everyone knows about it so I'll explain now. I deep root plant the Tomato plants. In a nutshell, unlike what I was taught to do from a young age when transplanting, instead of planting it to where the roots are, I bury it further down. So if the seedling is 2' (600mm) high (and a lot of mine are now, and even higher) I plant it so only about 8" (200mm) sits out of the ground.
What this does is ensures the plant can extract the most nutrient & moisture as roots will develop all the way along the stem allowing it to draw from a greater area. It works well.
I also use a trick when I plant early to help in the event of a colder spell. I use fresh manure in the garden bed and cover it with compost; planting into the compost, then surrounding it with fresh lawn clippings. During decomposition both the manure and the lawn clippings exude heat and this staves of any frosts that may threaten. I did this with a Cucumber early September and the very day I planted it out, that night we got a fairly severe frost but the Cucumber survived unhindered.
As we head towards Summer I have given these guys the best chance at producing ripe fruit as early as possible.