A Crash Course in Growing Tomatoes

The Problem with Grocery Store Tomatoes It’s generally believed that grocery store tomatoes taste so terrible because they aren’t vine ripened. Yet, this is only part of the story. There are many forces which conspire to drain the flavor right out of the tomatoes you find at your local grocery store. Farmers typically choose varieties …

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Choosing a Tomato Variety

To my mind, this is not a question that can be answered by simply providing a list. Timely planting is every bit as important as variety selection. A common mistake new tomato growers in Texas make is to plant too late. Even a couple of weeks can make a major difference in getting a decent …

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Common Diseases of Tomato Plants & Fruit

Diseases The most common and problematic diseases of tomato plants in Central and South Texas are foliar fungal diseases such as Early Blight and Septoria Leaf Spot. We also occasionally see some minor Bacterial Speck, but have not found that these usually prevent the possibility of obtaining a good harvest here. Heavy rains lead to …

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Container Gardening

Container growing is a quick and easy way to expand your available gardening area even if you have poor soil or limited space in your yard to make garden beds. A container can be set anywhere you have good sun, whether it is on a driveway, a patio, or in the middle of your yard. …

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Gardening Calendar: S.E. and Central Texas

S.E. and Central Texas Tomato Growing Timeline Spring Crop Start seeds: December 25th – January 15th Transplant: Feb 21st – March 18th (protect from late frosts if necessary) Fruit set: April 1st – May 15th Usual peak harvest: May 15th – July 10th Fall Crop Start seeds: June 1st – July 1st Rooting cuttings: June …

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Other Resources and Links of Interest

Seed Vendors Tomato Growers Supply Victory Seeds Sand Hill Preservation Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds Johnny’s Selected Seeds Tatiana’s Tomato Seeds Gourmet Seed International Wilhite Seed Heirloom Seeds (in Pa) Wild Boar Farms For more information on seed and plant sources, please see our Recommended Vendors article. Discussion Forums The Helpful Gardener Additional Reading Texas A&M Tomato …

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Pests to Watch For in Your Tomato Garden

Stink Bugs & Leaf-Footed Bugs Stink bugs and Leaf-footed bugs are frequently a problem in our area because they will damage the fruit, leaving behind inedible corky white spots. Soap sprays and neem oil can help in controlling the immature bugs (nymphs), but may not have always much of an effect on mature bugs. Bugs …

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Raised Bed Gardening

  Why Raised Beds? Most people are surprised to learn that tomato roots draw not only water and nutrients from the soil, but also oxygen for respiration. The roots of most plants need to breathe! Roots subjected to standing water will eventually die, suffocating the plant in the process. The ideal soil for growing vegetables …

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Saving Seeds — A Preservation of History

Tomato seeds are surrounded by a gel which contains a natural germination inhibitor. Properly processing and preserving tomato seeds starts with removing this gel, then drying the seeds, and lastly storing them in a suitable container. At one time, the only method for cleaning tomato seeds was fermentation. However we have found this technique to …

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Seed Starting Tray Maps

When starting any significant number of seeds, keeping track of which seeds are planted in each cell or pot becomes challenging. Rather than making a zillion plant markers, I make and print my own Seed Starting Tray Maps. Now I make these available to anyone who wants them.     Triangular cells? What crazy configurations …

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Starting from Seed

Introduction Once you’ve successfully started tomato plants from seed, you will probably never need to read a How To article on the subject of Seed Starting again. Given the right conditions, tomato seedlings practically grow themselves — after all, tomatoes and their wild brethren have been growing for thousands of years without human intervention. Yet …

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Support Your Plants

There are any number of ways to support tomato plants. Some work better than others, depending on the size of the plants. While we do grow a few dwarf and determinate tomato varieties, the vast majority of the tomato varieties we grow are indeterminate, producing 5-10′ tall plants. The cone-shaped tomato cages found stacked floor …

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The Vine Ripened Myth

A question I am frequently asked is “Should I leave tomatoes on the vine until they’re ripe for best flavor?” Every once in a while, I will find a fully ripe tomato on the vine that I missed. This is rare, as usually the squirrels or mockingbirds eat them. What surprises me is that they …

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Where to Buy (Recommended Vendors)

Seed Sources There are several reputable sources for tomato seeds, but two we particularly like based on their selection and service are Tomato Growers Supply and Victory Seeds. Both of these companies are convenient to order from online, germination rates are good, crossed seeds are infrequent, and service is prompt, dependable, and courteous. Tomato Growers …

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