Hot Weather Growing Strategy

solarjohn(6)September 27, 2011

I�m trying to grow tomatoes here in Southeastern Cuba (GTMO), but this time of year the ground temperature is too warm. I am looking for a strategy for successfully growing tomatoes. I have a 25 gallon container, and I am currently siphoning chilled water into the ground around the plants. However, this is labor intensive, and seems to be a battle that Mother Nature will win. I�ve purchased dripper and mister nozzles, but I think I might need a timer and a water pump of some sort. Additionally, I have to keep an eye on my water consumption due to local regulations. We are not permitted to travel to Communist Cuba, so I�m not sure how others in this tropical climate grow tomatoes. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Would mulch help to keep the ground temperature cooler? What about shade cloth, suspended above my garden? I have Cherokee Purple seeds, and other varieties.

John

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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I'm not sure it's possible. I'm zone 10 Florida and as a rule of thumb blooms won't set fruit here until the night temperatures are below 75F, and preferably below 73F. I got restless and set my plants the last week of August, three weeks early and as a result I have 4' plants with tons of blooms but NO fruit set, still a week away from that migic night time temp. of 75F :-( The only tomato I'm sure will set fruit there in the summer are the currants (Everglades/Matts)...I've been albe to get them to set fruit here through the whole summer, mighty tasty but they are only about the size of your thumbnail.

Tom

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 12:47PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Shade cloth would at least offer relief from the beating Sun.Mulch will help slow the evaporation from the soil,so it will conserve some water.Can rain be harvested and stored in a barrel ?
Are you growing in a pot or ground ?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 8:25PM
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solarjohn(6)

I am planting in the ground and in containers. I'm considering using shade cloth a few inches above the ground, allowing the plants to get sun, while shading the ground below the plants. I'm going to use the same tactic for my container plants to avoid direct sunlight to the containers. I am harvesting rainwater, and so far I am able to water plants with tap water without exceeding my water allowance. Based on tomncath's response, I think I still will need to maintain cooler ground temperatures, possibly by circulating cool water through tubing in the soil. Thanks for your responses.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 8:57AM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

Mulching heavily, and planting deeply, helps my plants when the temps approach 100 degrees. I try to water as little as possible, with drip lines, but if I was forced to conserve water, I would mulch even more.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 9:04AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Get with your meterologist and find out when your local night temps will fall below 75F, then set your seedlings 3-4 weeks before that, otherwise everything else you do will be for nothing.

Tom

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 1:07PM
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solarjohn(6)

It was 71 degrees early this morning, but the problem seems to be the high daytime temperatures heating up the soil. Based on your responses mulching, shading, and watering may help. I was able to grow tomatoes in January last year, so I'll keep trying as mother nature begins to cooperate in the near future. Thanks for your help and suggestions. John

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 8:29AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Since you're in such an "exotic" location I'd love to see some pictures, or is that a no-no.

Tom

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 10:18AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

...But I sure miss fresh tomatoes....

Get some CURRANT seeds and start them! Send me an email and I'll send you some reds a yellows, as I said, they're only about the size of your thumbnail but they will set fruit in Zones 10 and higher virtually year around and have GREAT taste! Small, but great in salads and for snacking and will tide you over until you're able to grow a few real sized tomatoes.

Tom

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 6:59PM
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solarjohn(6)

tomncath; I sent the email with my mailing address. Thanks in advance. John

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 1:05PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Hi John, CYE ;-)

Tom

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 7:26PM
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abayomi

Interested in currants.zone 11. Do they cross with toms?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 7:33PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Do they cross with toms?

There is that fear, that's why I grow them mostly through the summer, but I've always had one or two in the garden at the same time as the regular toms and have not noticed a problem. Because they will set fruit even with nematode damage I believe some folks are deliberately crossing them in an attempt to breed in better nematode resistance....Here's a post of mine over at my home forum.

Tom

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 9:34AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

John, I loved those pictures....Your seeds went out today ;-)

Tom

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 6:55PM
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abayomi

I am game to try currants. Perhaps there is something we ca trade for?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 9:40AM
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