Growing Tomatoes for 1st Time in Louisiana

SeededFebruary 23, 2012

Hello. I am trying to get some info about where to plant tomatoes. I found 5 beautiful little plants (label said Creole)and bought them three weeks ago. We've had a few freezes, so they have been in my west facing kitchen window. They already have yellow flowers all over them. Spoke to a man (in line at the grocery) who advised not to plant them until after St Pat's Day. Also told me there was no such thing as Creole. Like I said this is my 1st time. I made a box for them. Now I have been researching and am coming up with different opinions of garden location because of the high heat and humidity in LA. Do they need some shade or is full sun the best here? Thanks!

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The average date of last frost in zone 9b (where I lived for a long time) was March 15 or so, we always waited to plant out after ST Patrick's (mar 17) or St. Joseph's (Mar 19) day depending on how lucky you felt. There would not usually be frosts after that. If you plant out before that you would have to be prepared to protect your transplants. I have seen it snow (VERY rare) in March! If you are in zone 8b which is where my mom lives near the Gulf Coast, your frost date is around April 1 I believe. Weather is still fairly mild and not so humid until May and so full sun would be fine I think, but mulch well. Later in the season some afternoon shade can be very helpful and you must always be prepared to irrigate if no rain. As far as Creole tomatoes, my understanding is that this is not a cultivar, per se, but a result of growing in the soil of that region. I really don't know what cultivar is grown (Better Boy???) but if grown in that soil, gets a distinct flavor. Thats the folklore anyway. Feel free to consult the LSU Cooperative Extension Service or local master gardeners. They'll know.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Thanks Louisianagal. I will wait until March. I guess I got a little excited when I found the plants and bought them too soon. Now I just have to keep them happy until they can be put in the ground.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 11:05AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I've never grown Creoles, but I've seen the seed and plants at Naylor's on Old Hammond in Baton Rouge.

I'm in zone 8b too. Last frost date here is March 15. I've planted tomatoes early in the past, but also been caught by a late freeze. So if you're tempted to put the plants in the ground earlier be prepared to protect like Louisianagal said.

Tomatoes need full sun ... preferably 8 hours or more a day.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Thanks natal. We had a few beautiful days that made it difficult (for my brain) to wait to plant. Now, here comes the cold front. The plants are covered in little yellow blooms and I'm hoping they stay healthy and happy until St Pats Day. They will get a lot of sun as we only have a few small crepe myrtle trees in the back yard where I plan to put them. They will go on the west side of the house.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 5:06PM
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timintexas(z8 E.Tx.)

Creole is most surely a variety. My memory is hazy but I believe it was developed at one of the LSU sites in the 50's? Anyway, it was grown for its' ability to withstand humidity and high night temps. I always grow some along with others. In fact, last year, it was the only one I got anything out of. The 100 degrees days and no rain for months fried all the other. The seeds are not hard to find. Garden centers can order them for you. Not expensive either.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 12:07AM
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