Doing something different for Desert Gardening - Tomatoes

newtoucanMarch 27, 2013

What do you do differently for growing tomatoes in the desert. For example, it's recommended to cut off extra leaves, but for the desert, it might be better to leave the extra leaves on for sun protection. I don't know if that is a good idea or not. I'd like to hear what you successful tomato growers are doing different than what some gardening books tell you that might be good for other parts of the country but not here.

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I plant them and peppers closer than recommend as they self shade each other and the ground below them.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 7:31PM
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The first year I cut off the suckers-little leaves growing from the forks of the branches. Then I covered all the plants with shade cloth. They suffered.

Last year I planted a bunch of tomatoes too close, did not cut off any suckers and just left them alone. They did well. As "NoiseBeam" mentioned the tomatoes grew tall and created their own shade and microenvironment.

This year, I am planting tomatoes with more space between them. I use the Weave method of staking the branches. Again, will allow them to get tall and overgrown to create their own environment.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:33PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

"Last year I planted a bunch of tomatoes too close, did not cut off any suckers and just left them alone. They did well."

The most successful tomato season I ever had was done this way. I concluded that tomatoes love company and do best when left alone to grow however they want to. If I had the same space available to me now that I had then, this is what I'd do. Btw, they were in full sun (southern exposure) w/no shade cloth.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 1:55PM
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