What heirloom tomatoes to plant in Central Florida?

cheshieNovember 21, 2009

I wanted to start a couple of varieties of heirloom tomatoes last spring, but an ankle surgery got in the way and I'm not used to the growing season down here. Does anyone have any tips on varieties that do well in this part of the state and when to start them? I plan on doing them in pots as the yard is far too sandy. I am up for a little adventure so any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Not a Florida grower so not sure how much help this will be but from reading all the past discussions here (search 'Florida') on growing tomatoes there it seems the planting time is what is crucial, not the variety.

In other words you can grow just about any kind you want if you get them planted out by late February to early March to beat the onset of the heat. It appears from what the other Florida growers have said that middle to late May puts an end to your production if the weather follows its normal patterns.

Then you have a second fall growing season starting in September. In that season it seems to be the so-called "early" varieties (60 day) that work the best.

Have to talked with your local county extension service about planting times? They can be a wealth of info on both when to plant and which ones work best. And check out the Florida Gardening forum here too for info on which varieties grow best for your neighbors. They have lots of tomato discussions going over there.

I linked one past discussion from here below that offers some variety suggestions.


Here is a link that might be useful: Choosing Tomatoes for Florida

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 11:03AM
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UF/IFAS is always a good place to check for home horticulture fact sheets. I found one for you which lists both hybrids and heirlooms. Keep in mind that a lot of the older hybrids are now OPs and actually accepted as heirlooms because of their staying power--they've worked for decades and were the varieties that are parents and grandparents grew.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatoes In The Florida Garden (HS508)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 12:27PM
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I'm in Florida as well. I dont pay attention to matching the variety to the climate that much, I just grow what I think will taste good.

I follow the 2-season approach for tomatoes. I start seeds indoors(in a window sill) on January 1st, plant outside on March 1st. Then I start seeds on July 1st, and plant out on September 1st.

You can baby your tomatoes through the summer with some shade cloth, but the high temp and humidity will make it difficult for them to pollinate durring that time.

My yard dirt is too sandy as well so I use raised beds filled with good soil. This year I am going to give the Earthtainer a try.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 1:38PM
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This is my second year growing tomatoes in Florida. I think we can grow all kinds of tomatoes here. If you are planting in the ground you may want to get a hybrid with nematode resistance. I do have three extra Kellogs breakfast tomatoes growing in the sandy unamended ground and they seem OK so far. I grow mostly in containers too.

Try and time it so that you avoid the summer heat. There are all kinds of disease and insects at that time and many tomatoes will not set fruit either.

On the plus side we do get plenty of sunshine:)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 7:32PM
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i planted heirlooms in a pot last summer and had about 75=100.This summe ditto but my plants are now over 3 feet high,pleny of blossoms and some tomatos.Need HELP do I trim the tops,clip some of the blossoms off or just let them grow????

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 6:05PM
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