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Florida Gardening: Tomatoes in shade in South Florida

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dsa2591
North Port, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2010
12:29 PM

Post #7775524

I was outside today, and noticed that my large tomatoes (in 5 gallon buckets) are not blooming and have pretty much stopped growing due to the heat. My neighbor suggested I move them into partial shade for the summer. I do have one area that gets morning sunlight, and that's it. It's shaded from about 1:00pm on. Has anyone ever grown larger tomatoes and gotten any fruit from them in the summer like this? My Cherokee Purples did well in partial shade last year, but they're very adaptable.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 8, 2010
1:18 PM

Post #7775612

as a rule, we only grow cherry tomatoes in the summer. the unusually hot spring we're having would account for no blossoms on yours. all of our tomatoes seem to do better in shade for the latter part of the day, even the cherries.
we would normally harvest regular tomatoes into june but not this year...too hot! hopefully it will cool a bit and you'll get some flowers to set fruit.
dsa2591
North Port, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2010
1:52 PM

Post #7775659

I know all that, I was just asking if you could possibly trick Ma Nature by putting them into a cooler place.

My Juliet grape tomato is doing great, as is my Roma. It was so cold for so long, and now so hot, I have gotten no tomatoes this year at all. I was going to do a late garden in February, but it was too cold, so I missed out on that. Oh well, there is always okra, eggplant and peppers.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 8, 2010
4:36 PM

Post #7775987

sorry. i guess i misunderstood the question.
4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 12, 2010
4:01 AM

Post #7785712

This is my first year in FL, but having read about how the heat is too much for tomatoes, I thought I'd try shading some in different ways, including tall okra in front of my Mortgage Lifters, and shade cloth over the group that's mostly cherries. Then I have some in pots that I can move to more shade as needed. I've gardened in extreme heat before (90-100 routinely during the day), but not with humidity or high night temps, so this is an all-experiment year. I've also put about 5" of compost over all the roots and plan to keep adding more as the season wears on, plus an epsom salts spritz every couple of weeks. I've read that it helps them through heat stress - also good for peppers, clematis, probably eggplant too.

Anyway, my tomatoes in my last hot place had a fair amount of afternoon shade and they did pretty well, but then I wasn't trying to produce so many as I am now, since I had a share-subscription to an organic farm down the street. Nothing like that here, however.

I'm no expert gardener, just thought I'd share what I'm doing and what I've done...
oh yeah-I'm growing varieties now that were recommended for here (I think from the cooperative extension website?) - Early Girl, Rutgers, Roma, and three different cherries - to get the most tomatoes soon for dehydrating (after they are roasted and pureed with peppers, onions, garlic, seasonings), and hopefully cherries for eating after the main harvest. I've got Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter, too, which have blossoms, but no tomatoes yet. Fingers crossed.

:-)
amorecuore
Ft Lauderdale, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 12, 2010
7:05 AM

Post #7786153

I think your "morning only sun" area is prime real estate and I wish I had more space like that available. Have had some flowering things like Geraniums, African Daisies, Hosta make it through the summer in morning sun only areas. You might as well give it a try and see how it goes. Might want to consider adding a layer of mulch also to protect the base/roots from burning up in our very intense summer sun. Personally I apply mulch around my vegetables year round and have had better results from doing so. It also keeps the plants from drying out faster...thus less watering required.
Rainydayze
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 14, 2010
6:36 AM

Post #7792036

Have you considered more water? This goes against everything I thought I knew about gardening but it's actually been the smartest gardening decision I've ever made. I owe big thanks to a lovely gardener here on DG for the guidance. After seeing pictures of her garden I decided I had nothing to lose by trying her methods. So, thanks again Twiggybud.

I'm growing things this year in water beds, AKA Twiggy Beds, that are doing really well. Tomatoes, peppers, okra, summer and winter squash, eggplant, they're all growing in pots and buckets, in a couple inches of standing water, and appear to love it. I have frogs, toads, dragonflies and birds that love it too.

This started as an experiment that has turned into a stunner. I have 8 square foot garden plots and two water beds. The water bed in my front yard is in full sun with producing plants going strong and looking better than any I have planted in the ground. I may have to provide a bit of shade later on and will use a black screening to just knock down the temps a bit. I'm picking squash and will be harvesting tomatoes in a few days. Arugula and dill, marigolds and sunflowers share the space. Most of my plants have healthy white roots floating in the water and these babies are planted in regular ole cheapo potting soil mixed and topped with compost.

The second water bed, in my back yard, gets morning sun only and is doing better than I ever expected. I plan to turn the 8 framed raised beds into Twiggy beds next spring, they're too much work. I have to water those 8 beds almost daily and the plants in them are nothing compared to the ones growing in my Twiggy beds. I turn the hose on the water beds maybe once a week, just enough to keep a couple of inches of water in em. I don't have a problem with unwanted critters. No skeeters cause the frogs and dragonflies snatch them while the birds keep unwanted creepies off my veggies.

It just might be worth your time if you have the space.

Yolie
4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 14, 2010
3:35 PM

Post #7793179

Oh my! Links to threads, photos, please!
Rainydayze
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 14, 2010
7:00 PM

Post #7793670

Paws,

I can't get the link right but go to the Hydroponic Gardening Forum and check for twiggybuds. The thread you want to study is titled "Hydroponic Gardening: Hydro, EB, Raised bed, Container?"

Here's what one of my Twiggy beds looks like now.

Thumbnail by Rainydayze
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Rainydayze
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 14, 2010
7:02 PM

Post #7793679

These peppers are happy in one gallon pots standing in about 2" of water.

Thumbnail by Rainydayze
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Rainydayze
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 14, 2010
7:19 PM

Post #7793714

Does this tomato plant look like it's unhappy with wet feet? I plant them in 3-5 gallon pots and buckets. I have all sorts of things in these beds, bogs, troughs or whatever you might want to call them. Doesn't take a lot of money, no expensive gadgets or props and not even a lot of hard work if you do it our lazy way.

The first bed was dug about 4" deep, it was 4'x18' and it was a lot of hard work. The second bed wasn't dug at all and it was much easier. We laid down a layer of sand, right over the grass, enough to level the ground, covered that with thick black plastic draped over regular landscape timbers. Added water and potted plants and we've sat back and watched them grow. Next spring I want to remove the dirt from our raised beds and line them with plastic so I can have 8 more Twiggy beds.

The first picture I posted is the bed that receives full sun. I'll have to get a pic of the bed that only gets morning sun.

Yolie

Thumbnail by Rainydayze
Click the image for an enlarged view.

amorecuore
Ft Lauderdale, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 14, 2010
8:04 PM

Post #7793810

Hmm, it will be interesting to see if this method works during the summer. Some of the vegetables that I typically grow during the winter, are still doing fine right now. Swiss chard is still good. Picked of head of "Tango" Celery today. Others like leaf lettuces and broccoli bit the dust about a month ago. It's the beginning of June when I usually start seeing things go downhill very quickly. The humidity goes way up, the sun reaches it's maximum intensity/highest point in the sky and the nighttime lows barely make it into the 70's. It's definitely not a lack of water, because June is the wettest month of the year with the highest average monthly rainfall. I water everything twice a week during the winter and spring and things do fine. It doesn't seem to matter how much water things get once June begins.
4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 15, 2010
3:41 AM

Post #7794149

Thanks, Yolie. I like the idea.
Here's a link to that thread.
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1029953/
Very interesting idea...thank you for sharing it!
SigourneyBeaver
Pine Island, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 21, 2010
8:59 AM

Post #7813553

Most of my tomatoes are still performing pretty well, and I'm fairly close to North Port, dsa2591. Mid-day shading is crucial down here (to us, too). I use shade cloth and a Sun Sail, plus move many of the pots to an area under the oak tree. Of course the cherry and grape varieties are happiest right now, but the Costoluto Genovese, Pink Brandywine and Bradley toms are still setting fruit even in this heat. (78 at night, 92 in the day). It's the bugs and the fungal things that are driving me nuts. My Opalkas and Black Prince are still setting fruit, but lots of blossom end rot too.

It's a bigger trick to avoid cooking the roots in the pots and giving things enough water. Anyway, I highly recommend Costoluto Genovese in this heat. Let me know if you want some cuttings, as I'm in North Port fairly often. I've got to give a seminar to give in that godforsaken Arcadia in a couple weeks...so I'll be passing by.

This message was edited May 21, 2010 11:00 AM
4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 21, 2010
9:19 AM

Post #7813641

About cuttings - is that the best way to propagate for the fall crop?

My Mortgage Lifter and Brandywines both have little tomatoes on them, but also a lot of brown flowers.

So far, I see dozens of black and yellow grasshoppers, but no holes in the tomatoes... That which has been eaten the most by bugs so far this spring (my first here) is ME!

gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 21, 2010
12:34 PM

Post #7814238

Im just now getting some tomatoes and not just alot of brown flowers. Maybe there is hope after all.
I had so many seedlings I could not plant this year, some i put in cups of water to get back to. They grew like there was no tomorrow in that cup of water. I was totally amazed.
I grow only in EB's tho, so I know they like there roots in it all the time. But a cup??

I hear you on the bugs. Was out at someones in Lake City this morning collecting pots of daylilies for the show tomorrow. All of the sudden I was so covered in mosquito bites, i seriously almost came unglued right there I ended up standing in the sun so the mosquitos would not get me, but heat stroke would, not to mention, when you start sweating, the bites itch more.
4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 21, 2010
12:37 PM

Post #7814248

The show tomorrow? The master gardeners plant sale, by chance? Are you a MG? I want to go to that...
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 21, 2010
12:40 PM

Post #7814263

No, its a daylily show in lake city that our club is sponsoring.

I have always wanted to take the MG classes. They vary VASTLY from county to county. Alachua's happens to be a 'bear', I hear.
Kalpavriksha
Sarasota, FL

May 22, 2010
12:53 PM

Post #7817264

My understanding is that at temperatures (for the low) above 70 deg the tomatoes will no longer set fruit.
The folks in the Gainesville area and Jacksonville are mostly in zone 9a; 9b & 10 the temps above 70 come a bit earlier.
If you can keep cuttings alive through the summer (I can't) you can propagate your tomatoes that way; I start mine from seed or starts from nurseries.
Somebody sent me seeds of 3 tom. that might be heirlooms. One was bloody something and is pear-shaped but cherry diameter part red part green. Another was oxheart. What a flavor and fragrance! It perfumed the whole house when I was cooking with it. Now I know what my mom meant when she said store bought tomatoes aren't 'wang-ey' I have a 3rd that's fruiting it's fool head off (just finishing). I thought it was Caspar or something ghost like. They're pale yellow and almost transluscent.
None of the flowers are setting fruit now. The ox heart was the least prolific but tasted best! I'm planting seeds in Sep.
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 22, 2010
1:31 PM

Post #7817347

Here in g'ville, I can keep the tomatoes alive thru the summer, they just hang-on tho. There not happy until it cools down and up they start growing again.

Your heirloom is probably Boody Butcher. Ill have to check tho to see if that one is pear shaped.
SigourneyBeaver
Pine Island, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 23, 2010
9:57 AM

Post #7819706

[quote="4paws"]About cuttings - is that the best way to propagate for the fall crop?

My Mortgage Lifter and Brandywines both have little tomatoes on them, but also a lot of brown flowers.

So far, I see dozens of black and yellow grasshoppers, but no holes in the tomatoes... That which has been eaten the most by bugs so far this spring (my first here) is ME!
[/quote]
I find cuttings to work extremely well. More reliable and better results than seeds. (and they root in a week) There are those that say the new plant (the cutting) isn't as vigorous as the parent, but that hasn't ever been my experience. It IS a new plant, after all, and I'd venture most of the perennials we buy aren't anything more than cuttings..
I pointed out in another thread that I've been growing Porter tomatoes from cuttings of one parent plant for almost 5 years now.

Besides, why chuck the suckers and broken branches away? I break a LOT of branches when I'm reaching through the jungle.

4paws
Citra, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 23, 2010
10:33 AM

Post #7819825

Yes, I do too, and feel the same way - I have a hard time tossing any good plant material! Tomatoes seem especially easy to start!
angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 3, 2010
9:45 AM

Post #7855095

Our blk cherries, blk plum paste, big rainbow, mortgage lifter, early girls, super boys, green grape, sungold cherry, all have tomatoes on them. Our peppers that are producing now are purple and green jalepenos, various bells, anaheims, pablanos, big jim, various decorative peppers that I put in my herb bed. Still waiting on my ghost chilies to start up but then they were late last year too so I'm thinking they just set fruit later. Corn has tassels..guess that is good. Sick of all these darn bugs, I think there is a different kind for each vegetable plant out there lol. They about killed my tomatillos grrr.
SigourneyBeaver
Pine Island, FL
(Zone 10a)

June 16, 2010
9:54 PM

Post #7895767

Chickenville, FL? Seriously? :)

The bugs in FL are amazing. Funny, no mosquitos yet (boy, i'm going to regret writing that), but I've seen more, different plant-eating bugs this year than I've ever seen before. Lately I've been attacked by the meanest little wasp-miniature horsefly thing every time I go under the oak trees. what is THAT about? They bite my ankles and calves.

Are Ghost chilies those uber-hot things? All of my peppers have really taken off in the last 2 weeks. I'm going to have pails of pimentos and Aji peppers. And tomatoes seem pretty resilient down here. I've had them lose almost all of their leaves and then suddenly re-sprout everywhere and produce. Weird place to grow..this florida.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 17, 2010
5:44 AM

Post #7896121

SB, those are deer flies. they are most prolific in may and june. unlike some biting insects, these leave huge, red, major itchy sores that take about a week to heal! at least on me anyway.
SigourneyBeaver
Pine Island, FL
(Zone 10a)

June 17, 2010
12:15 PM

Post #7897145

Tracks, I just googled deer flies, and you are indeed correct. Thank you. That is one bug with a bad attitude. They seem to be a little kinder this week.
[

Thumbnail by SigourneyBeaver
Click the image for an enlarged view.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 17, 2010
12:21 PM

Post #7897159

one day they're here and the next day they're gone...in a matter of speaking. it's weird because i'll start getting these giant itchy welts on the backs of my ankles after i walk the dogs but i usually don't feel them actually bite. it only happens for about a month but man, they drive you crazy. when i used to have horses and trail ride quite a bit, they were a horrible scourge on the horses ears, dogs too. if you didn't put goop on their ears, they'd be a mass of sores.

glad to have helped! know thine enemy...
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

June 25, 2010
2:15 PM

Post #7920277

My father-in-law always grew his tomatoes in the 5 gallon paint buckets from Home Depot. He'd drill holes in the sides, 1/3 of the way down, fill them with cypress mulch, and plant the tomatoes in the mulch. Then fill it with water. Occasionally he'd fertilize the water with normal tomato Miracle Grow. He had the best tomatoes growing in full sun (actually against a chain link fence where it was very hot all day long!)
He also grew his cucumbers this way.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 25, 2010
3:08 PM

Post #7920381

we grew our best tomatoes a couple of years ago that way! we used potting soil instead of mulch and we sunk the buckets half way in the holes. i never thought about holes in the sides though...just had them in the bottom. sides would be better; it would hold the water longer. kind of like an earthbox concept.
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 26, 2010
7:51 AM

Post #7921831

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1086677/

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1105309/

These are Joys plants she grew that way.
I grow in earthboxes. Im gunna try to make some buckets next year. The key is the watering system. Thats alot of mannual filling in the summer when they can drink 5 gallons twice a day.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 26, 2010
8:48 AM

Post #7921983

well, i think the idea of the holes a third of the way down would really cut back on watering so much. i'm loving this idea and will try it this fall. i guess i'll go all the way and use mulch instead of dirt.
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

June 26, 2010
5:22 PM

Post #7923221

It honestly worked very well...with a little Miracle Grow added to the water from time to time, to fill the bucket up to the hole level. Because it's so hot here, I've tried a lot of plants that aren't normally "water" plants, just to see if I could get them to grow. I've been growing hosta in vases of water with tadpoles, in full sun, for years...no soil, no shade, no anything... I think coloring outside the box is fun...you either try and fail, or never try and fail anyway because of the lack of attempt!

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2010
5:16 AM

Post #7924214

i told my partner...we're going to try it this fall for sure...hydroponics...another new thing for us!
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2010
5:37 AM

Post #7924254

when you sit the pot down in a bucket, how do you keep water in it without a fill tube?
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

June 27, 2010
5:51 AM

Post #7924278

The buckets stayed lined up along the fence...and never moved. He'd just fill them up with water from the hose, sprinkle a little Miracle Grow on the top and let the hose water it down through the mulch. The buckets would fill 2/3's of the way, and when it got to where the over flow was coming out the holes, watering was done.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2010
9:26 AM

Post #7924841

there is no pot, if i'm reading it right. the plants are growing directly in the bucket of mulch. correct?

i really can't wait to try this!

oh, one question. how far down in the mulch did he plant the tomatoes? does the mulch go all the way to the top of the bucket? (ok, two questions) lol

This message was edited Jun 27, 2010 12:28 PM
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2010
9:48 AM

Post #7924883

I had to reread that, i thought he sat a bucket in a bucket. Wow...one bucket for mulch and water.

Im gunna try it myself, cuz boy does it sound easy.
Im not sure I can imagine the plant only having that little tiny water space to grow its roots. Nothing an automatic waterer wont solve.
The tomatoes in the earthboxes drink 10 gallons a day in the summer.
MerryMary
Ocoee (W. Orlando), FL
(Zone 9b)

June 27, 2010
10:36 AM

Post #7925011

Correct...only one 5 gallon bucket (like the large paint buckets from when you do an entire house) I imagine any tall container like that would also do, maybe a plastic kitchen trash can?
ONLY mulch was used...the tomatoes were planted in the top 1/3 of the mulch, which sat above the water line. The watery bottom 2/3 mulch just kept the top 1/3 moist at all times. It sort of wicked on up.
The tomato roots grew amazingly fast and filled up the whole bucket! Many times the water level got way below the holes, but no biggy, it would just wick it's way up the mulch fibers. During the parts of the summer when the afternoon rains would come, he wouldn't bother to water them at all, until there had been a week of dry weather, there was alwasy still enough water remaining in the bottom of the bucket.

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

June 27, 2010
3:12 PM

Post #7925529

yay!
sugarweed
Jacksonville & Okeec, FL
(Zone 9a)

July 20, 2010
10:12 AM

Post #7983436

[quote]My understanding is that at temperatures (for the low) above 70 deg the tomatoes will no longer set fruit.
The folks in the Gainesville area and Jacksonville are mostly in zone 9a; 9b & 10 the temps above 70 come a bit earlier.[/quote]
I understand this too.
A neighbor finally pulled her tomato plants up and left them on my porch. LOL
I'm saving them in water and will take cuttings of survivors this afternoon.
I will grow them in 5 gal e-buckets this Fall.
Sidney

trackinsand

trackinsand
mid central, FL
(Zone 9a)

July 20, 2010
2:14 PM

Post #7983962

my lone tomato (a little yellow cherry type) is in mostly shade and still flowering and setting fruit. it has also covered 2 rose bushes and a hibiscus! lol

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