Fall Tomatoes?

gardenmommy_2010June 13, 2011

Okay, so I'm fairly new to gardening. Grew up w/ my dad's awesome garden & had a couple small gardens in the past but this is my first year attempting to "really" garden. I've noticed that some people w/ long growing seasons refer to planting fall tomatoes or their July planting. Please explain. I have a fairly long growing season. Should I be doing this? I thought indeterminate plants would continue producing till the last frost (mid Nov for me). Is the second planting another determinate crop? Is it for people w/ even longer growing seasons? I'm just wondering as I may have additional tomato room if I lose some to black spot. Thanks!

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Bets(z6A S ID)

Hi Gardenmommy,

That's a good question. I don't live in one of those area's, but I will give a shot at answering.

A lot of the people who plant second or fall crops of tomatoes live where the summer heat (or disease) basically kills off the tomatoes and the chances of them coming back to produce later is slim to none. Parts of Texas (where I grew up) will literally crisp a tomato plant in July in spite of copious water. Since numerous municipalities have ordinances controlling the watering of lawns and gardens when it's that hot, due to limited water supplies, in some place is doesn't make sense for gardeners don't try to carry them through the heat. I understand that in Florida where the humidity is high and when it gets hot, the plants are very susceptible to diseases, so they die out or growers will pull them and start a second crop for when the weather is cooler. (I think many parts of Florida have 4 seasons: not so hot, hot, hurricanes, then pretty cool.)

As for whether or not you can grow a second crop, it would depend on the varieties and the length of your growing season. As long as you can get them into the ground by the DTM (Days to Maturity) before the frost, you can probably do so. I believe growers in your area are able to carry them through the summer, but if you are losing yours to disease and have the time, a fall crop might be your best bet.

I hope that helps.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 12:37PM
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Thanks Betsy. That makes perfect sense! Each time I saw a post re fall tomatoes I couldn't help but wonder - are they trying to grow through winter, more determinates...? But, yes, my sister lives in TX & although she hates tomatoes &, therefore, doesn't grow them (I know - she's really not my sister) the rest of her garden would get fried in the middle of summer. Thanks for the clarification. I don't think that'll apply to me since my past tomatoes have made it through to our frost date. But, if they can't outgrow the bacterial speck then I may be planting "fall tomatoes".

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 3:42PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I plant determinate in July and they do really well. I start from seed in early June. The drought and heat usually kill off my first crop around mid August.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:09PM
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