Growing Tomatoes on Maui

slo_garden(9 CA Coast)September 20, 2009

I also posted this on the Tomato Forum. I want to send some heirloom tomato seeds to some friends in Maui. I have a large number of varieties to choose from in my collection, but I don't know which varities do well in the hot and humid climate over there (I live in CA where it is temperate and arid). Does anyone have any suggestions of varieties that have worked well?

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Normally the tomatos have to have a thicker skin, like the roma varieties. University of Hawaii has varieties bred for Hawaii, check their website.Gardenislanddave might have some input as he has grown some tomatoes here on Kauai. Dave you still out there ?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 2:33PM
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Your friends will not be able to harvest any large fruited varieties of tomatoes unless they can control the fruit flies. The county extension office offers free classes on fruit fly suppression, call 808.244.3242 x232 for more information.

Cherry tomatoes are less susceptible to fruit fly damage and might be a better choice. i am growing 'Black Cherry' this year but find it has a relatively low yield compared to the size of the plant and that the lower leaves are very susceptible to some kind of fungus. Doesn't seem to affect vigor but the dead leaves sometimes adhere to the fruit.

Sungold, although not an heirloom, grows well and is a real crowd pleaser.

Striped Roman does OK but is irresistible to fruit fly infestation. i pick them young and green and hope they ripen. Kinda defeats the purpose.

Black Krim is a HUGE vine with low production.

Japanese Black Trifele is the best large fruited variety i grow. Nice productivity, seems to have some resistance to the flies and i can pick pale green or with a slight blush to ripen indoors. Probably about 70% loss with these which is pretty good.

As you probably know the performance of heirlooms can change unpredictably from year to year. Fruit Fly infestation is pretty predictable. Your friends might have better luck if they live in an area where neighbors are practicing suppression techniques. The other thing i have noticed is that the pressue is much higher during the summer and drops off during the winter.

Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hawaii Areawide Fruit Fly Pest Management Program

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 1:44AM
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slo_garden(9 CA Coast)

Thanks for the info! I will send them a bunch of cherries and smaller varieties. In fact, I have seed for most of the varieties that you mentioned. My friends were successfully growing Early Girl and Yellow Pear while I was there, but the tomato snob in me thinks that they may be able to do better (LOL).

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 9:48PM
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organicchick(Hawaii 5)

I have had some success planting heirloom tomatoes from Seeds of Change. It helps not to plant too many, and to plant salad bowl style to confuse the bugs. Plant herbs around each tomato plant, and scatter them through the garden. Nothing like a monoculture to attract bugs! Fruit fly lure is also helpful, so is planting when fruit flies are minimal, like in the fall.Yes, the cherry and roma types are generally easier.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 2:36PM
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I wonder what causes my tomato plant to grow shrivaled up leaves. It looks like a disease

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 2:15PM
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slabfish, I'm also having that problem with my tomatoes currently. Last few seasons, it was the red mites that caused my tomatoes to shrivel up and have an odd coloration to the leaves. Perhaps this time it may be in the soil.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 1:20PM
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Yes, red mites can do that. Sometimes spraying the underside of the leaves with water is enough to drive them away. They like it dry.

If not mites then could it be herbicide drift? Tomato plants are pretty sensitive and products like Round-Up can drift a suprising distance.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 1:35AM
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