Here at Homestead HQ we germinate all our seeds in sectioned seedling pots with coir peet. We find it to be the best way to keep the seeds moist without drenching them. It is also a medium which contains no chemical additives or fertilisers, so it is perfect for our organic requirements. Tomatoes are incredibly easy to germinate, often sprouting within the week, two on the outside with an optimum temperature of 20-24 degrees. They can then be divided into individual pots to develop before placing in the garden, or larger pots. They can easily be started in the warmth of an indoor position to get the longest possible growing season.
In the past we have followed the calendar when it came to putting our tomato seedlings in the garden, with little regard for the weather conditions. We have found it critical to the optimum development of the tomatoes to WAIT until all winter chills and winds have passed prior to planting. Here in Cowaramup, we often have to wait until December to remove the seedlings from the greenhouse, however, this results in much quicker developement to full size and fruiting often into june/july. So keep your eye on the weather, not the calendar!
Note that most of our tomatoes are vine varieties, they will need to be supported as they grow, especially for the varieties with large, heavy fruit. It is beneficial to have tomato cages or stakes in place while the plant is still small as trying to arrange and secure branches after growth can result in damage and loss of developing fruit. Adequate support of plants also assists in the flow of air through the foliage, reducing the potential for the spread of mildew.
The final location for your tomatoes is best in full sun, even in the blistering heat of Australia. Be sure to water consistently, this will prevent the fruit splitting, and add blood and bone to the soil to prevent blossom end rot. If you are growing multiple varieties, separation is necessary to reduce the potential for cross-polination... of course, if you'd like some really interesting results that are not necessarily true to type, feel free to mix it up!
You may also be interested in going to our Facebook Page, where there is plenty of information, and we are easily accessible to answer your questions.