Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Planting Tomatoes for Fall

Planting tomatoes have always been a challenge mainly because there are so many varieties.  We have recently planted tomatoes for the fall and so far so good.  Some gardeners are successful while others struggle with the tomato plants this time of the year.

One of the problems with tomatoes is staking them up.  The wire baskets are out of the question because the tomatoes are too heavy and will get cut on the wires.  We have tried flexible fences and we have tried wooden stakes but the tomatoes are still growing ever which way.

A few years ago, we visited Orr's Farm outside of Martinsburg in West Virginia and found that they had staked up their tomatoes using poles (similar to those shown in the picture).  The idea is to run the twine or soft rope from pole to pole, down one side and up the other side. What a great idea!

As the tomatoes grow, we make additional lines of soft rope. This keeps the tomatoes from breaking and it also keeps them off the ground.  It also gives us plenty of room to walk around the row of tomatoes to pick them, fertilize them, and remove dead leaves and rotten tomatoes.

Furthermore, it also frees up space in the garden.  We don't expect frost nor freeze for the growing time for our fall tomatoes in the north east Florida area.  The tomatoes will receive full sun for at least six hours daily.

Some home gardeners may want to grow the tomatoes in containers on the patio or near the house and be able to move the containers as necessary.  It is also recommended that tomatoes that produce small fruit be grown for the fall e.g. plum tomatoes and Roma tomatoes.

If tomatoes are still available at garden centers, buy plants with hefty stems and good green foliage and when you get home, plant the tomatoes deep to keep them from flopping about.

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