The seed of Solanum centrale has a very low germination rate (less than 5%) but several methods have been developed to significantly enhance germination. AgriFutures Australia is the trading name for Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC), a statutory authority of the Federal Government established by the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989. Other plant species will enjoy the good conditions provided for bush tomatoes, and can compete for light, moisture and nutrients with the crop. There is a range of pests and diseases that may affect the plants and fruits of bush tomato, including aphids, whitefly, mites and nematodes. For this reason, manual weeding and spot spraying is recommended. Although bush tomatoes have a natural tolerance to salinity, better growth and yield will be achieved with fresh water. If the product is to be value-added, equipment for grinding will be required. There are over 100 species of wild tomatoes in Australia but only six are known to be edible. The plant may experience some damage from frosts, and severe frosts can kill shoots in the first year of growth. A fertiliser program, as detailed in The Bush Tomato Handbook, can help ensure the crop has adequate nutrition to support good plant growth and yields, and to replenish soil nutrient status.  Fruit of S. phlomoides appears to be edible after the removal of seeds and roasting or sundrying.. , Bush tomato plants are small shrubs whose growth is encouraged by fire and disturbance. It is a small silvery looking shrub covered in tiny hairs and it prefers to grow on the red sand hills where the berries mature to the same colour as the sand. While demand for the product suggests there is ample room for increased cultivation of bush tomato, overcoming the production issues seems to be the main limitation to industry development. The mature yellow fruit can be eaten fresh but generally the dried raisin-like fruit is sought for processing to make value-added product. Bush tomato is native to the central deserts of Australia, in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and northern South Australia. To support this new industry, research is underway to develop the horticultural, fruit quality and genetic understanding of bush tomato. However, the ability of bush tomatoes to sucker and reshoot from the rootstock makes the plant highly productive over time. An attempt to cultivate bush tomatoes in the south east of the state was not successful. Weeds can also harbour pests and diseases that infest bush tomatoes; and make hand harvesting difficult. Several Solanum species have been used by Indigenous Australians for food for possibly thousands of years. Bush tomato is a small perennial shrub that spreads by underground suckers and grows to a height of 30–45cm. To meet growing demand for the fruit, bush tomato is produced by cultivation in the Northern Territory and South Australia. All these will increase the soil’s ability to absorb and use any rainfall, and reduce the extent of irrigation required. Irrigation is recommended to keep newly planted seedlings well watered until they are established; maintain consistent soil moisture content; and ensure water is available at critical crop development stages, such as flowering. Because it is a bush type, there is no need to stake it. The availability of irrigation at the cultivated sites has expanded the fruiting cycle of the plants from two to eight months of the year by manipulation of water scheduling. Bush Tomato infused Vinegar. The plant responds very well to managed irrigation, but will not tolerate humid or moist conditions.  It is strongly recommended that people unfamiliar with the plant do not experiment with the different species, as differentiating between them can often be difficult. Bush tomato is grown commercially by five Indigenous communities in diverse locations across South Australia and two communities in the Northern Territory. The export market was also identified as important with seasonings and flavourings available throughout Europe, the UK and Asia. There are no specific regulatory requirements for the production of bush tomato. The lack of a purpose-built harvester increases quality control operations to achieve a quality product; and while manual harvest achieves a quality product, it is costly and difficult to retain a labour force for hand harvest. Posted by David Bayly on 7th Mar 2015 Product is great, service was fast as well. Second, there is not yet an efficient means of harvesting the crop. Weeds should be removed manually, chemically or by mowing the inter-row spacing. Wild harvest can account for up to 80% of supply of product in good seasons, however this source is always variable and unpredictable and in normal years it is estimated that approximately half of production is derived from wild harvest. The bush tomato is a small desert plant approximately 30cm in height, with grey to bronze leaves and attractive mauve/blue flowers. First, propagating seedlings is difficult due to the low germination rate of seed, and high variability and low yield of seed-raised plants; and it is costly and difficult to produce plants from cuttings and/or tissue culture for large-scale field plantings. A hot water unit will be required for the washing water. A risk to the reputation of bush tomato is contamination of harvested product with the green fruit, which is potentially toxic and imparts bitterness. Mechanical harvesting, with a modified cereal harvester, is under investigation and as at 2010 much improvement in the system was still needed. the bush tomato project Bush tomatoes are a small fruit that grow wild in the arid areas of Central Australia and are used in Outback Spirit sausages, sauces and chutneys. However, the plant responds well to soil modifications to improve organic content, soil pH and nutrient levels. Bush tomato (Solanum centrale) belongs to the Solanaceae family, which includes plants such as potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum and chilli. Post-harvest facilities are required for washing, cleaning and drying the fruit, and for packaging the final product for transportation and/or sale. Bush tomato is a good source of vitamin C, selenium and iron. Caution must be exercised when harvesting bush tomato, as the green (unripe) fruits are potentially toxic. Bush Tomato Solanum centrale grows in the very arid desert regions of Australia seen in red on the map (Right). The year these were planted yielded hundreds of small, tasty tomatoes which were perfect for salads or just eating as a snack! While S. centrale is by far the most used Solanum species in the industry, S. cleistogamum and S. chippendalei have also been harvested and marketed. Map of current and potential growing regions. Soil moisture monitoring equipment will help water management to be effective and efficient. It is a thick skinned fleshy roma, perfect in salads, or cut in half long ways and fried up on. A cultivated block of bush tomato may require fencing, depending on potential vertebrate pests. Rich in antioxidants and minerals, including selenium, bush tomato is considered one of the most important of all the Central Australian plant foods. Heat 600ml vinegar to just below boiling,then pour over the bush tomato and cap tightly. A fast-growing shrub native to the very arid desert regions of central Australia, the bush tomato is closely related to the regular garden tomato. Sauté onions in olive oil in medium size saucepan over medium heat until soft and tender. (white wine, balsamic, red wine, rice wine, or apple cider vinegar) Place 3 tablespoons of whole bush tomato into a clean sterilized jar or bottle. Although it naturally occurs throughout the central deserts of Northern Territory and South Australia, it is being cultivated in regions where dry conditions prevail. Seedlings should be planted with 30–50cm between plants within the row, and 1.5m between the rows. Can be used as a Dukka or crusting for meats. It grows naturally throughout the central deserts of Australia. value-added into consumer/retail products (such as sauces, chutneys, herbs and herb blends, biscuits, and as an additive for curries, salsas, meat crusts and dukkah). Research has demonstrated a seven-fold increase in fruit yield when weed competition was eliminated from an irrigated block of bush tomato.