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A Central Florida tomato story...

Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
Sun, May 16, 10 at 16:51

Hi

I planted 45 different varieties of tomato plants this season in my small garden, they are all doing good.

Here is the garden today

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And my little dog looks guilty, he just ate some tomato

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And I am growing some new varieties to me , thank you Mr Bill, all the tomatoes are doing great!

Indian Stripe, you were right this is a great tomato

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A ripe one

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Creole

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Plum Regal

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And when I have a lot of tomatoes I always make a fresh tomato tart, this one has German Red Strawberry, Kumato, Huang, Angolan and it was delicious!

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Silvia


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Wow, Silvia! I'm new here (and to tomato growing) but it seems pretty clear you are the tomato queen with an exceptionally green thumb.

Have you ever documented your process here in the forum from seed to harvest? If so, can you provide a link to those old posts?

You have already shared with me that you simply start your seeds on the porch but how do you do that? (seed/soil mix, watering, etc.)

And what mix do you use in your containers?

How often do you fertilize and what do you use?

Are the containers on a drip system? How often and
how long do you water?

The reason I'd like to know is I'd like to try and replicate it, though perhaps not with that many plants. It looks very manageable, or maybe you just make it look easy.

If that's too much to ask, I will understand. At the very least, thank you so much for sharing all the inspiring pictures!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Fantastic looking setup and harvest. Tomato tart huh? Looks good how does it taste? What goes into a tomato tart as far as ingredients?

Damon


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Sun, May 16, 10 at 19:03

Hi Dragonfly

Thank you, I am not new to gardening but for sure I am not the queen (there are others) lol. I don't post here too often and the real deal tomato gurus probably are in charge of any documentation about tomato growing (I am just small potatoes compare to them)

What zone are you in? Maybe I can give some tips that work for me here or other places that I have lived, where ever I go i grow tomatoes, I am in zone 9b.

I always start from seeds I use the seed starter mix from the store and I put them in styrofoam cups, later they can transplanted to pots.

For the mix in the pots read in the container forum the mix 5-1-1 by Al Tapla, he explains better than I can, he covers fertilizers and such.

Everything in the garden gets the sprinkler system 2 times a week, the rest of the days I hand water when is hot every day. One time a day.

I hope that I answer some of your questions, feel free to ask me anything if I did not explained well. Happy growing!

Thank you Damon. The tomato tart is fantastic because of the fresh tomatoes, it has a homemade tart like a pizza dough and pesto sauce made with the fresh basil from the garden. Later gets some feta cheese and broil it. Here it is finished.

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Very nice! I'm starving!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Looks great!! my matos have started ripening, wish I had more plants, oh well. The pots you are growing in, are they SWC's? what size are they? They look nicer than the homer buckets I used. lol!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, May 17, 10 at 9:18

Hi Rob

We in Florida have nematodes in the soil, so the best strategy is to grow them in pots and I always try to plant different varieties and more than I need, this way I am sure I will have a good harvest. Tomatoes make a great gifts!

I try to do everything as simple as possible and (cheap) since I am the only person doing the garden. The SWC are kind of complicated for me, most of my pots are 18 inches wide and 15 deep and always get them on sale either walmart or big lots.

Remember I also have a lot of veggies and fruit I have to take care of and now harvest.

Here is a view of some of my garden

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

The nematodes don't migrate to the raised beds? My dad always warned that even pots on top of soil are able to fall victim to nematodes which is why I planted on my driveway. Any thoughts on this? You getting much rain today, we are and it all is coming from the south west!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Cant you let the soil warm up with plastic mulch and this will kill the nematodes?


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, May 17, 10 at 12:44

Hi Sandyman

A lot of native Floridians (I am not) have tried soil solarization and does not work for them or so they say.

I have raised beds that I add a lot of organic matter and I can grow most crops very good, for my small garden I harvest a lot, I am constantly giving away veggies.

My garden is intensively planted year round even around the bananas I had first onions and now there are sweet potatoes

Here is some recent harvest, I am not complaining.:)

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Hi Silvia,

Thanks for the thorough reply. You answered most of my questions and I'll track down those container-planting links for soil mixes.

I'm in central Tx. in zone 8 (verging on 9). Rainfall is about 28-30" a year, primarily deep sandy loam alkaline soils (the pecan, mesquite and oak trees love it). Temps stay in the high 50's/low 60's during much of our brief winters though we do usually have a few freezes, some getting as low as 26 degrees or so. This year even brought a day of snow! Right now the insects I'm fighting in my garden are primarily the small green inch worms (what to do?), grasshoppers galore (Nolo baited to stem the tide somewhat) and pill bugs (won't use corrogated cardboard as a weed cloth again!). I will have to learn how to treat (organically) these and other pests and diseases.

I'll likely have more questions as I try some container planting. However, now I'm wondering if it might work just as well or better to create a raised bed just for the tomatoes instead of individual containers. No nematode issues here. But lots of fat white grubs that the armadillos dine on.

Any suggestions or tips are always welcome. I really admire what you've done!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, May 17, 10 at 19:10

Dragonfly

I grew tomatoes in a raised bed in Arizona, I made a lasagna garden and tomatoes did great. It was a combination of hay, peat moss, black cow manure, compost and garden soil

The advantage of growing in containers (even if there are no nematode issues) is that you can move them in case of frost for example, my tomatoes were growing in my porch while we had freezing temperatures that would damage any tomatoes.

The leftover soil after the tomatoes are done gets recycled in other parts of the garden and the containers get use over and over. The mix is cheaper than store bought soil and when you are doing a lot of tomatoes that counts.

For bugs and disease I use a combination of spinosad and serenade, this acts better as a prevention than as a cure.

Here is a picture of the tomatoes in February protected in the porch from the cold

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

So you start fairly early (before the last frost date) and just keep them under the covered porch. I can't tell for sure but it looks like the porch is open. I was picturing a glassed or screened in porch. So I guess its enough protection just to have a roof over them during frost?
And I also guess that the seeds harden off in that open air environment naturally.

I didn't get my tomatoes started until after the last frost date (mid-March). I had some row cloth handy in case I needed to protect them from a late freeze, but you're right. Unless I have some kind of shelter over the raised beds, its probably best to do containers if I start my plants in February or even early March, which sounds like a good plan. I only did transplants this year, but will be trying my hand at seeds next spring. When do you plant the seeds?


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

I always love your pictures Silvia! Cute doggie!

I agree that an important advantage of containers is being able to move them during frosts...allows for an earlier start.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, May 18, 10 at 7:31

Dragonfly - You are a good student! It is easy to understand when shown pictures, the porch is open and I have space heater in the middle for freezing nights (we had those) and yes no need to harden of, they are strong growing outside and because I always spray as a preventive they are disease and bug free.

If you look in the picture there are plastic bins, that is where I put the seeds in the styrofoam cups, at night they get covered.

Usually around February they are ready to go to the garden, but it was very cold this winter so they to stay in the porch till it was safe to go in the tomato garden.

I like to put seedlings that are at least 6-8 weeks old that makes me start in december, peppers are started first.

And when the pots are ready to go they are very lightweight, so is easy for me to lift them, another plus.

Always start from seeds, the quality that you get from transplants bought at the store it is not comparable.

Thank you Star, friends and neighbors come to see the garden all the time and it always looks different, all the crops depending on the seasons. Now that it has all the tomatoes, that is the first thing they see, they say "look at those tomatoes".

The garden has to keep tidy at all times, you never know who is showing up.lol

Here is a view from the open porch to the back gate, that is where the Orange Blossom Trail is used by runners, bycicles and me and my dogs. (I have 3).

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia, your tomatoes look fantastic and the rest of your garden is beautiful. I bet it's a lot of enjoyment for you even if it's a lot of work.

Beth


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

What kind of nematodes? I *just* read about using certain varieties of marigolds to control a variety of problematic nematodes. Basically you plant them as a sort of cover crop (not companion planting) and they reduce them over time. It's not a problem for me, so I didn't explore further. I'm not sure if it would be helpful, but I'm attaching the link in case it might be.

Here is a link that might be useful: Controling Nematodes Using Marigolds


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia, one last question. At what point do you apply the Serenade and Spinosad to your plants? Just prior to planting them out? And do you apply them both at the same time? I'm guessing you apply them to all your veggie plants.

Wish I lived close enough to visit your beautiful garden!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, May 18, 10 at 12:01

Beth - Thank you. And you are right I love the time that I spend close to nature, and I get the benefit to have fresh produce for the family and friends. Gardening is a wonderful hobby!

Susan - Thank you for the link. Wherever I have lived is a different problem to deal with. People around here do plant marigolds including myself. Root knot nematodes just love okra and tomatoes, the other crops do well for me as long as I add a lot of organic material to the raised beds.

Dragonfly - Thank you for all the compliments, you are very nice.
And about the sprays I start from the time they are seedlings, a very diluted solution and with a fine mist only early in the morning 1 time a week.
I use the same spray bottles for the whole garden, depending on the look of the tomatoes when growing I add a foliar spray together with the serenade, spinosad and I also add a drop of Bonners peppermint soap just for the smell. And you are right all the garden gets the same spray, it takes me like 15 minutes, I have 3 bottles that I fill. And maybe one day you get to see the garden, I am 20 minutes from Disney...

Here is the garden today, tomatoes are in the back. Star there goes my other dog, she goes find some blueberries!

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Hi Silvia,

I think I will try some of your tricks next year. I start peppers in November, tomatoes on 1/1, and they stay in a window sill until 3/1. I planted out a couple weeks late this year because of the frost we had in the beginning of March. When do you start your fall seeds and what date do you plant-out?

I see you live very close to my brother, he lives in Claremont by Lake Mineola, might have to stop by and take some notes!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, May 18, 10 at 14:45

Hi Corey

We have sun all year round you just have to find a protected spot so the tomatoes don't get rain but get sunlight, a little bit of wind is okay.

As soon as my tomatoes are about to be done I start the new seeds for fall, around July and get planted in pots about 6-8 weeks old keep them in the porch if it is too hot and out to the tomato garden in August.

The porch get a space heater in winter and the fans in summer, this helps a lot.

If you go to see your brother, send me an email and you can stop by and see the garden.

And today's harvest just for you.:)

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Dragonfly:

Didn't see this answered...for the inchworms, spray a product with BT or bacillus thrunginus (sp?) in it. This is a naturally occurring organism that is lethal to those guys and harmless to people. Most consider this an organic option.

A comment on containers, I'm doing them for the first time this year and the container plants are far ahead of those in the ground. They basically warm up the soil as soon as you plant them, whereas in the ground, the soil takes a while to warm up. That, I believe, is the reason my containers are far more advanced than those in the ground.

This is very important in Texas where, like FLA, it get too hot in summertime to set new fruit (at least very much) so you get a bigger better harvest with earlier fruit set. Good luck.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia thank YOU for being so generous with your growing tips and pictures. It has been very helpful. I can't even believe that last pic of your tomato harvest is real! Gorgeous perfection. What are those green tomatoes and what do you do with them? Are they ripe? Also, what direction does your porch face? I've got an open westerly facing porch that might be a good place to get set up as you have done.

Jerrya -
thanks so much for that additional info on BT and container growing. It makes sense to me that you can start sooner if the soil is warmer as in pots. So next year is going to be one big experiment for me on many fronts. And I am going to try my hand at a few Fall tomatoes this year and see how it goes.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Sat, May 22, 10 at 19:36

Hi Dragonfly

You are welcome. I have been harvesting tomatoes every day, now more than that. As soon as they come to the house because they are ripe they go into dishes, I do give away a lot too.

My back porch faces south, in the summer gets shade but in the winter gets sun. The picture that you saw it is in winter.

The green tomatoes are Kumato, a friend from the Florida forum gave them to me and she did not tell me what color they were. When they are ripe they get a yellow tinge on the bottom and they are delicious, very sweet! I will be saving seeds from those.

This morning we had company for breakfast and I made a fritatta with scallions, rosemary and parsley from the garden a little bit of thin sliced feta cheese and for serving I put on top slow roasted tomatoes that I did yesterday. Also to go with it made zucchini bread from the garden.

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For dinner I made 2 dishes of Caprese salad, this one gets a sun dried tomato dressing and mozarella, delicious!

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And this one is for a friend's get together, the dressing will be put just before serving

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And some of the tomatoes are Kumato, but from what I heard at the table all the tomatoes are good!

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

YUM! Stay right there, I'll get a fork!
While your artful presentation certainly makes the dish, I'm guessing it would taste divine regardless. A great gardener AND chef = a winning combination! And I guess with that much produce coming out of your garden you have to be creative...and have a steady supply of hungry, grateful friends & family. Of course how can you go wrong with all those fresh and amazing ingredients? Thanks once again for the eye feast and info.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

jerrya......I'm from the Dallas area and if you wrap your tomatoes in frosting proofing after you plant them out (I do it in first week of March) then they will take off. I use concrete reinforcing wire cages and the frost proofing creates a large column of warm air that seems to keep the plant and surrounding soil warmer than normal. If you need even more warmth, you can put plastic around the frost proofing. I've also had good luck with the wall of waters but their material failure rate has put them on the bad list.

Unfortunately none of this "looks" really pretty but it works and I'm looking for results not beauty.

And as for nematodes....may none of you get them. I received some in some starter plants I bought (Now I start all my own seeds and mix my own potting soil). I have been fighting to keep them in a small spot in my yard but it's a very tough battle. There is no cut and dried solution. It's like fighting terrorists.....some always survive. My goal has been to contain more than completely destroy. Nematode resistant plants are the best bet.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

"Small" garden? More like a big garden with every inch utilized! That's an amazing harvest for one day!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Sun, May 23, 10 at 15:12

Thanks Dragonfly, it is always nice to hear your comments.

Ykerzner, thank you and you are right, every space is used, something comes out something is already in and growing. I even utilized the space under the bananas, I will have a bumper crop of sweet potatoes this year,:)

Getting some big ones today, I will be making 2 different tomato sauces.

Hat tomato

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia,
My apologies...I feel like a bottomless pit of questions, but I'm inspired! LOL :^)

I was just laying out, in my mind, my spring garden and thinking about varieties to try. Then another question popped into my mind - you grow many varieties in close proximity to each other and also save seed, so how do you contend with the cross pollination problem?

Before reading this amazing forum, I would never have even known to consider that issue.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia, everything looks sooo delicious! I have a passion for cooking and baking, and there are endless recipes with tomatoes! Of course, eating a tomato straight off the vine is one of the greatest pleasures in life! Tomatoes are easily one of my favorite foods, ranking closely among cheese, wine...fresh bread...fresh peaches. Yum.

I can't wait till my tomatoes ripen! Happy gardening!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, May 25, 10 at 18:14

Hi Dragonfly

I knew this question was going to come sooner or later, lol. I save the tomato seeds the way Trudi has in wintersown, you can take a look there. It works fine for me, I consistently get the same variety that I am saving. Anyway if that was not the case, I am only saving seed for me and friends, not for sale, I don't think anybody is going to sue me, lol.

Now that I have a lot of seed to save and when I pick the tomatoes if I have about 10 of the same color and shape, that is hard when I bring them in the basket together, how can I identify them? Easy, I put the name in the tomato with a marker.

I grow a lot of tomato seedlings also for friends that are first time gardeners and just out of curiosity I asked them which variety did better for them? And they all said the yellow. At the end, nobody remembers anything but only if they manage to get tomatoes and that they like it.

And asking questions is the only way to learn, you are a fast learner.

Hi Caroline

We share the same interests, I love cooking for family and friends and I agree with you nothing can compare with the taste of a homegrown tomato! Yours will ripen soon, time flies.

I made 2 different tomato sauces and let the tasters in the house decide which one was better. They all agreed on the best was a tomato chunky basil sauce, that I put in a homemade pizza with some grilled zucchini from the garden.

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...more

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, May 27, 10 at 9:23

I stayed up late yesterday in the garden picking tomatoes

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

What a wonderful bounty Silvia! You certainly make growing easy, but I know it's not. In reading different posts, I noticed you lived in AZ for a while, may I ask what part or where?

Keep up the good work!
AZ PC


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Wow, that is an incredible harvest!!! How do tell which variety is which? LOL


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, May 27, 10 at 14:06

AZ PC

Thank you, I lived in Phoenix for 10 years and I moved to Florida about 2 years ago. Before that I lived in many places...:)

Lived in NW Phoenix and I know about the heat and the clay soil, lol. Just be happy dry is better than humid and clay soil even hard to dig is better than easy sandy and nematode, lol.

I grew the best tasting tomatoes there in raised beds, the one I remember the most was Costoluto Genovese, I never could replicate the flavor anywhere that I grew, and of course I had so many varieties under the shade cloth. My front yard was xeriscape, nothing but cactus and their family. But the backyard was an oasis, gave me the best fruit ever! I still miss my fruit trees. Apricots and figs my favorites!

Hi Caroline

Thank you, I already separated all the fruit for seed saving naming them with a marker.:)

The harvest is after I gave my neighbors the best looking tomatoes, every one that knows me got a basket.

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia-

I actually don't complain (too much) about the heat, it is what it is. This is my first year trying to keep 'maters that are not "cherry" going through the summer. The heirlooms that I have, all in containers, Cherokee Purple, Beefmaster, Orange Oxheart, Zebra Green & Mr. Stripey are all transplants. I have a wonderful collection of heirloom seeds. I call them a collection because I cannot seem to get them to grow beyond germination! I would be very interested in Costoluto Genovese if I could find it somewhere. I'll have to put my scouting shoes on. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and productive garden. It gives me hope. :-)


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland, FL-Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, May 27, 10 at 22:05

AZ PC

You should try your hand at growing the tomatoes from seeds, it is so much better!

I still have some costoluto genovese seeds but they are probably too old like about 10 years.

Do they still have "the garden guy' on tv? he also wrote some books. If you do vegetable gardening also I used to have a very good book written by a woman in Tucson, I can not remember her name and I gave all the Arizona gardening books away. It is so well written and informative for that area, I hope that you find it, maybe the library carries one.

I hope that you do great with your tomatoes.

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Hi Silvia, I am new here and also loved all of your pictures!

I am just south of Sarasota and started my veggie garden just last year - newbie!

I am amazed how green all of your vegetables are. My tomatoes have all kind of blight/spots and worms. What is your routine to keep your plants so healthy and disease/pest free?


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 7:54

Hi Joix

Welcome to gardening and the forums! you should join us in the Florida gardening forum, a lot of gardeners from Sarasota post there.
To keep my garden in good shape I do daily inspection of the plants, this way I can find out any problem in the beginning and spray if necessary. Every season is different in my area, different bugs too.
I only spray when is cooler, at this time when is so warm I don't. The plants are over 8 feet tall and producing more tomatoes than we can possible use, good time for sharing and oven dry them for later.
In the beginning of the season for preventing disease I use Serenade, Neem, if I see worms Bt or Spinosad.

Here some pictures of tomatoes this season

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Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Do you use fresh soil in all those pots every year? Seems like a lot. I suppose if you mixed finished compost into the "end of season" soil and created a safe way to store it for 2 to 4 years, then you could get away from needing to completely replace the soil each year - you'd only need 3 to 5 years worth and could rotate the soil instead of rotating the locations in the garden. That's something that is definitely worth considering. Until I moved to my current yard last year, I had been constantly challenged with having enough space for yearly crop rotations with the number ot tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant that I wanted to have in my garden. Having a year or two that my tomatoes go in pots like you have set up could help reduce soil born disease greatly.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 17:35

Hi drmbear

I use fresh soil that I make it myself every season, twice a year in my location. After the plants are done for the season, I use the spent soil in my fruit trees. Where I live we have sandy soil that hold no nutrients and is prone to nematodes. I use raised beds for all my other veggies.

Harvesting the best tomatoes to roast them today...

 photo June2014_177_zps56a8c160.jpg

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Hi Silvia,

My tomatoes aren't doing very well. A lot of them are losing leaves (leaves started curling and drying); eventually they completely die. I'll upload some pictures to show you what I mean.

I talked to someone and was told June - Aug is too hot to grow tomatoes. I am just south of Sarasota and in zone 10 I believe. I was told tomatoes won't set fruit if night temperature does not drop below 70 degrees, which is the case in my area. So it's pointless to grow tomatoes in the summer months.

How are you able to grow tomatoes in the summer? Do you have any issues with temperature being too hot?


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...





Notice the leaves starting to brown from the bottom, then eventually the entire tomato plant dries out. I have no idea why it is doing that. I am watering almost every day to try to keep it from getting burned from the sun.

This post was edited by joix on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 1:06


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 7:31

Hi Joix

The most important thing to grow tomatoes in Florida it is the right timing, now it is the time to enjoy the last of the tomatoes and clean the garden, it is too hot and humid for most crops. In the beginning it helps to follow the calendar to grow veggies in Florida, later on you get the idea as to what works for you and your particular area. I am in zone 9b and will be starting new seedlings for the fall season after the garden is clean up. I am no expert, but at the end of the season (now) all the tomato plants look bad. Don't concentrate on fixing a spent plant with either foliage and disease issues, instead make plans for the new and next coming fall season and try to grow your own seedlings or get them from a good source. Ask questions, this is the forum to learn and practice in your tomato garden, great experts here! Wish you the best in your garden.

I am enjoying the last tomato harvest, still have a few plants to clean...

 photo June2014_192_zps5acbb862.jpg

 photo June2014_194_zpse30da65a.jpg

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Thank you Silvia. It's good to know June-Aug are not good for growing anything. I need to pay more attention to the growth calendar, hehe. Learn as I go, I'll prepare for the fall and hopefully do better.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 14:51

Joix, this time of the year is great for the harvest of the fruits of summer, it is all on schedule and I will be cooking with plenty of avocados and figs right now getting ready. I already harvested blueberries, blackberries, nectarines, peaches, lychees, few plums. Will be harvesting atemoyas, red guavas, some citrus, red bananas, few mangoes. And my persimmon tree is loaded for the fall. I cannot complain!:)
I clean 4 tomato plants today, one a Sungold, Sweet Treats, Neves Azorean Red, Amana Orange. There was a lot of fruit in the plants and I am doing oven dried tomatoes for the freezer. I still have a couple of plants to clean.

If you like figs....this is from last July harvest

 photo July2013_093_zps6d8b1b9e.jpg

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by joix 10 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 22:46

Silvia, this is unbelievable! My mouth is watering!

We moved to Florida just last year and planted our first fig tree last year. It has some fruits now, but is taking forever to ripen those little fruits. We also love lychee and got one last year. But it hasn't grown much at all. I am not sure how much longer it will take for us to see anything...

Where do you get most of your fruit trees and tomato seeds/seedlings? I have been buying seeds from ebay. But since I am new, starting from seed is a trial and error process. I did not harvest much this summer. Will try to do better for the fall!


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Now THAT'S a BLT ! This was a neat thread. The Caprese salads look wonderful !


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 25, 14 at 7:53

Joix, the garden can produce something all the year if you time it correctly. When moving to a new place, the first thing that we do is plant fruit trees because they are the background and take longer to produce. A good place to shop in South Florida for tropical fruit trees is Excalibur, when you go there you will get a tour and sample the fruits.
I grow my own tomato seedlings for me and the local community garden. Over the years I got some good varieties but I am always looking for new ones to try in my garden, a good place to get info on varieties is Tatiana's tomatoes and of course this forum and the experts, I always pay attention when they recommend.

Thank you Deeby! you have to try the tomato sandwich next time, it is good and I put the link for you.

Silvia

Here is a link that might be useful: tomato sandwich


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Thanks ! As good as basil is with fresh tomato, this is the first time I've ever heard of putting basil in a BLT. Genius !


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Sylvia. you are an all around master gardener, not just tomato gardener.
Now that you are cleaning up, lot of us are still waiting to take that first bite into a ripe juicy tomato. For me it might happen by the Fourth.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 7:17

Deeby, the basil in the BLT brings a new depth of flavor, you will like it.

Thank you Seysonn, I like to taste all the different crops that my garden produce and try new varieties, new dishes, keeps the daily life interesting.
When you love a tomato like I do, I will be watching all the harvests in different gardens and hope to see you enjoying your well deserved tomatoes, we are almost there by the Four!

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia, how are the plants doing now as the heat comes on?


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 8:37

Hi Pat, the tomato plants are already on the way out, I am cleaning them up and some other veggies too. Few stayed like peppers, eggplants, winter squash and of course a lot of the fruits are ripening now, time to eat the avocados, make fig jams...the ornamental garden looks good too.

Some of the last tomato harvest for the season, soon it will be time to start seedlings for the fall season

 photo June2014_200_zpsa6e4a9dc.jpg

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Sylvia,

Utterly lovely! You and your garden are both inspiring and bountiful. I stumbled upon your story, pictures and advice and can't help but let you know what I think. I live in NY and garden from my windows but I'll be keeping this link for future; hopefully one day I'll achieve my dream of moving to FL. Thank you so very much.

Nerry


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia, we should start a thread just for you! You are so responsive, it is hard to find.

I have a few other questions that I am hoping you could elaborate.

Can you talk about your soil mix? Do you do the 5-1-1 or some other type? I've been reading online and tried two different types of soil mix. I cannot tell if one is better, or if both are lacking. I have raised bed for vegetables, as well as containers. As I am new to vegetable garden, I think the soil in my raised bed is very poor and needs a lot of help. I am learning as I go.

The other question is what is the best way to keep your seedlings healthy between now to September? I took some suckers off of my tomato plants and hoped to keep them alive until fall. Do you do that and how best to keep them healthy and not too big?

Thanks again in advance.


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 15:17

Thank you Nerry! Everything in life starts with a wish and a dream, I am sure you will have yours fulfill one day, good luck in your future garden!

Thank you Joix, we were all new some day in the garden, when you move you have to learn new things again because the conditions change.
About the soil mix, I do use the 5-1-1 for the tomatoes and supplement them with fertilizers that I get at the hydroponic store.
The beds do better when you add as much organic material as you can, mine have a mix of pine bark fines, peat moss, black cow and different fertilizers.
The seedlings I start them indoors in a sunny window, when they come up I move them to the porch, with the heat they get leggy but after planting them deeper they are all right. And no, I don't use cuttings to start new plants just in case that they are diseased, it is better for me to start fresh.

Tomatoes and other veggies in the porch

 photo Picture112.jpg

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Silvia, this is super helpful! And how cute are those little pots in baskets! Are these Styrofoam cups or some other type?

You have some pots in tall plastic containers (back row), then some in shorter baskets (front row). Is there a particular reason for this? Also will you need to repot between now to September? I am worried some of them get tall and big.

Good advice on starting from seeds. I should do that as well and not rely on cuttings. I have not been attentive enough, which tends to kill seedlings, especially when I try to start from seeds. It's also challenging if I need to be away for a few days. How often do you check up on these and water? I find that daily check up is a must, or they dry out or get scorched without me knowing...


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

  • Posted by whgille Oakland FL Zone 9B (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 27, 14 at 14:50

Joix, I forgot to clarify that the last picture is from some other time, I don't have any seedlings at the present moment because I am just cleaning the garden, after that I will start little by little, every week or so something gets started. All my seedlings are started in cups, 3 oz, 8oz, 16 oz. This way I keep it clean and don't reuse them and yes they are styrofoam, easy to make holes. The seedlings need care and attention and if you have to go away, maybe someone can take care of them while you are gone and if they don't survive it is fine too because you can always start more, if you grow from seeds it is very economical. I start the tomatoes in 3 oz, then transplant them to 8 oz and after that 16 oz, I like big seedlings for the pots to go in the garden, this way they have more chances of survival with the rains, heat and humidity.
The tall plastic containers are good for the tomato seedlings, especially if I use a cover with see through material like the insect barrier, no bugs can get there and I don't need to spray till they are bigger and in the garden.
Growing from seeds has also the advantage to grow different varieties that you might like, that is the reason that I also start another veggies for the fall season.
If you start preparing now, you have a big chance to be successful. I usually start big varieties, medium and small, different colors, different tastes.

Silvia


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RE: A Central Florida tomato story...

Thank you once again Silvia! I just bought some seeds from ebay - I don't trust that the seeds from my own tomatoes will grow, haha I will be giving this a try exactly like you explained. I try to stay away from using too much plastic, so I'll try reusing pots from store-bought annuals. If I understand correctly, you use new cups to prevent disease issues, correct? Maybe if I make sure to wash pots thoroughly, I won't have too many problems.


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