Top Ten Fall Tomatoes
In light of the perpetuated Tomatoes/Salmonella scare story in the media, one of the things I talked about on this past weekend's show was how to get ready for the fall vegetable garden so you could have your own tomatoes in just a few months. Keep in mind, that with the summer temperatures at 95 degrees and higher, unless you have a temperature-controlled greenhouse or a hydroponics garden, you're more than likely not going to get tomatoes to grow for you this summer.
From the Oh-By-The-Way Department:
There are no promises that all of these varieties are available this fall, this is just a working list from gardeners and websites that have had success with these tomatoes in fall gardeners. As for where to find these varieties, it just takes some investigation and persistence. Keep asking and you should be able to find at least two to three varieties at feed stores and independent garden centers throughout the area. You're likely not going to find any of the above recommended varieties at a big box store or mass merchandiser. If you can or do, let everyone know.
So, last week we emphasized the idea of getting the beds started now, so they have time to mellow and thus be more productive for you in the fall. But I also made the point that there are limited types of tomatoes that work in the fall vegetable garden. So, the first big message to get across is to stick with the varieties that we know work well in a shorter growing season. Please note that the fall tomatoes will not be near as productive as the spring/summer crop, but it is still worth the effort. Many of the varieties that work well in the spring/summer are not good for the fall. The first translation of that is to avoid the really big tomatoes. Whichever variety you might choose from below, try to have them in the ground no later than August 20th. Tomatoes take two to three months to produce, which means they can get his by cooler temperatures in late October. Besides avoiding the "big'uns", keep in mind that the longer the "days to harvest" on the label, the less likely they will work in a fall vegetable crop. Ex: Celebrity is 70-75 days while Early Girl is only 50-52 days.
Fall Tomato Varieties for Houston
Sweet 100s (cherry)
If some of your spring tomato plants are still looking ok, they can produce a fall crop. You may have to cut them back some if they are too rangy. Usually those designated as indeterminate work best for carrying through to the fall season. But don't automatically pull them up to make way for new plants. Evaluate each plant. If, after a little "grooming," it looks as good as a new plant in a four inch pot, give it a try. The price is surely right. And there is no biological reason the plant can't put on a fall crop.
Don't Forget About Upside Down Growing Too
We did a complete write up about Growing Tomatoes Upside Down just this past spring. If you can be with these containers everyday, it's still a great way to grow them without a raised bed. Here's the complete tip sheet from back in March.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Be sure to check out Randy's Event Page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.