Any luck growing tomatoes over the summer?

vipvenomMarch 18, 2008

I currently have a decent amount of large plants growing outdoors hydroponically. I wanted to start some new varieties of seeds that I got but am uncertain about the florida heat.

Has anyone had luck growing tomatoes during the summer months? I do get a decent breeze from the coast but it still gets hot.

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From what I understand tomatoes will not set fruit if night time lows are not below 75 degrees.

Last spring I planted some tomatoes and I got some good fruit off of them. But the last of the tomatoes were gone by June.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 6:59PM
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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)

IF you really wanted to have fruit you could use 'fruit set spray' It is a hormone that bypasses the pollen mechanism. I have used it and it worked.

My suggestion would be to just go for it and see what happens. Its only a seed or two you will sacrifice in the name of knowledge and experience. Seeing as you have the hydro going anyways, what's another pot or two ?

When I was into tomatos, I was growing three crops per yr with success. If I can so can anyone else.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 7:57PM
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I've grown cherry and grape tomatos in the summer without any major problems. I've also get patio tomatos like 'tiny tim' going for months and months and when the plant finally burns out, I just start another one. I'm actually thinking about starting some cherries right now, maybe hanging down in a basket for easy picking.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 8:06PM
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But I really defer to Tony and Treefrog -- the true tomato experts (don't even THINK about getting between them when they're swapping seeds lol!)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 8:08PM
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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)


Those were the 'good ole days' I NO LONGER grow tomatoes intentionally. Been there, know I can do it, still hate em and now looking for another challenge.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 9:48PM
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A mexican neighbor gave me the strangest tomato plant he got from home once. It grew on the ground, like a vine, and had small, dark red tomatoes on it, very tasty. They grew and bore all summer. No, they weren't tomatillos, I know what those look like. I've tried and tried since then to find the plant, but I never have.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 11:12PM
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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)


Have you tried MATTS WILD CHERRY? It is supposedly native to mexico and cant be stopped.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 6:01AM
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I grew the Matt's and for me they weren't sweet enough. They had a more acid taste. I like the sweet grape tomatoes much better and usually get them to grow well into the summer. There is also the Fl Everglade, which some think is the Matts. That was the same for me, very tart in taste.

Vipvenom, too bad you didn't save the seeds from that tomato you liked.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:13AM
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This might be a naive question but how do you save/prepare tomato seeds? Do the plants you buy in the box stores have sterile seeds or can they be propagated? What about from the supermarket?

I have had best luck with patio tomatoes later in the season. I'd like to try cherry tomatoes also.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:18AM
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going to try florilina, sunmaster, and solar fire that i got from tomatogrowers supply. suppossed to be heat resistant. has anyone tried them?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:42AM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

I have the everglades tomato but even that takes the summer off in my yard in 10b.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:54AM
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I remember the feral cherry tomatoes used to fruit year-round in south florida. I agree that the more primitive strains will likely have less problems in the summer than the typical heirlooms or market varieties.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:03AM
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I took the seeds from the grape tomatoes from Publix, dried them on a paper towel a day or two and planted them. They are not steril. I have even taken a whole tomato and just planted it. They are pretty easy. Peppers too, just remember only the red (or yellow, orange, purple) are ripe, not green. And you need the seeds to be from a ripe fruit to be mature. I have tried seeds from lots of things, you've got nothing to loose. ;o)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 10:14AM
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cindeea(FtMyers 10)

I grow all kinds of grape and cherry varieties in containers into the summer. When it gets too hot they tend to take on blight. The yellow pears that I got from Denise last fall are STILL trugging along through cold, heat. They are tasty lil gems and just keep producing. When fruit falls into the planters, I let it be and another generation of yellow pears come along. My other plants are already showing signs of heat stroke and blight. I just rid them of their leaves and let the fruit carry on.

TONY, you quit tomatoes??? WOW I am surprised. How could you do that? I don't eat a third of what I grow, but I just find it so rewarding and I give tons away. They are one of the most fun plants to grow with so many different tastes and varieties. Thanks to treefrog and Denise(Naplesgardener) I'll be in tomato heaven for quite some time, now.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 5:09PM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Last summer I had a Burbank tomato in a pot that gave me fruit until August. It was at the northeast corner of the house, so it got only morning sun.
Everglades tomatoes carry on, but also get stressed in the summer. As everyone else has said, the smaller wilder maters do better than large fruited varieties.
Most tomatoes won't pollinate in high heat and humidity.
I left one Cherokee Purple in the garden one summer. It was lush green, healthy through the summer, but did not produce one fruit. It finally gave up before the cooler temps came.
About saving seeds, go over to the tomato forum and check the FAQ. There's a detailed description about saving seeds.

Any tomato you buy will grow new plants, but since most are hybrids it's likely the offspring will be more like one of the parents that were cross pollinated to create that hybrid.
If you buy an "Heirloom" tomato and plant the seeds, the new plants will be the same as that tomato.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 5:25PM
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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)


I wore MB out, she doesnt want anymore tomatoes! Everyday I would have 4 or 5 different types with my notepad ready to see which one she liked best. Well after a while, she finally hd her fill of matos so why bother growing em? It was a difficult task to NOT start seedlings this last winter in time for spring planting, but I did it!

All this being said, once someone grows tomatos for a long while, there will be plenty of darn volunteers ready to serve especially if you grew matts!

I have a couple i took from the garden and placed em in small pots. They seem to be some sort of cherry I grew last yr. Hope its the small plant variety because I am not interested in staking any more plants.

Now you know why I dont bother with em anymore.

If someone is determined to grow matos in the heat, the fruit set spray is not sprayed on the flowers, it can be though, if you already have the flowers. It seems to stimulate flower growth, but I could be all wet on this. I sprayed it where flowers may form in the future and Poof! Flowers appeared. When you use the fruit set the fruit doesnt have any or very few seeds. The same spray can also be used on peppers too.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 6:46PM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Here's the Garden Web link below for saving tomato seeds.

Simply though, cut the tomato in half around the middle.
Squeeze the seeds and juice into a small cup.
Add a little water if there's not a lot of juice.
Cover it with a paper towel or coffee filter or such.
Put it on top of the refrigerator or someplace warm.
Wait a few days. Fermentation will occur, which will dissolve the gelatinous sac around each seed, and will kill pathogens.
It will be moldy and messy.
Dump this into a mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly.
Spread the seeds on a paper plate to dry for a week or so.
Voila, clean dry seeds.

On the other hand you could do it like my grandparents used to. Squeeze some seeds onto a piece of cardboard (they used matchbook covers), let them stick and dry. Label and scrape 'em off when you're ready to plant. Worked well for them!

Here is a link that might be useful: saving tomato seeds

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:50PM
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Just found this and wanted to second the Matt's Wild Cherry... I was lucky to find it this time last year at the Volusia MG sale.. absolutely wonderful fruit.. AND it reseeded for me this year, and is still as delicious. Unfortunately, they didn't have it at today's sale.. and I couldn't remember the dern name *(until i searched here)


    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 5:31PM
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I KNOW it's the wrong season to grow tomatoes but I have no logic in me when I have seeds I want to start so...
I started Matts Wild Cherry, Dr. Carolyn, Everglades, Brown Berry, Cluj, Yellow Pear and about 4 more I'm too lazy to get up and look at the labels.
I know, I know it's wrong but I like growing tomatoes and eating them and I just moved to a new yard and I'm crazy. I even moved tomatoes growing in 50 lb. pots because I just couldn't throw them out.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 8:59PM
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ladybugfalcon(9b FL)

It is hard to refrain from planting tomato seeds this time of year. I just did it too. It's just a couple little seeds. We'll see. As others said, last summer, I had a 10 ft tomato plant, but it would not set fruit.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:09PM
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I just cut up a ripe tomato and put them in the ground. Letting them come up in small circles with tomato cages. So far they are setting flowers. Will keep you all posted on the results. Cherry tomatoes reseed themself very easy from year to year.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 11:33PM
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eaglejohn -- many on this list have tried the heat-resistant tomatoes. they perform no better than regular tomatoes... am i right this this has been our collective experience?

here in volusia, tomatoes continue to produce until july or so. i grew tomatoes this winter without a lot of success -- too many freezes. and i learned that i have little to no appetite for tomatoes when the weather is cool. psychology and all that.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 7:49AM
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