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Vegetable Gardening: Two seasons of tomatoes?

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mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 8, 2012
6:02 AM

Post #9034350

In the Cape Fear region I have a rough time with growing tomatoes because our muggy nights don't cool down enough and the plants develop deseases. By fourth of July the plants look leggy, stressed just awful. So our extension agent said that he's had success growing in two crops late spring and early fall. In June he simply roots a stem from the plants he put in the ground in the spring and starts fresh. Does anyone else grow tomatoes in 2 seasons like this? Thoughts?
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

March 8, 2012
7:11 AM

Post #9034456

I live in New Orleans & have hotter weather than you do. My spring tomatoes are already in the ground, since about the middle of February, with a frost blanket if it's going to drop below 40. By June, they'll be finished due to the heat. I plant a fall crop, with seeds started in early August, or transplants in September. This is my fall crop, and will bear until December, when we have our first frost. This past winter was very mild, with the lowest temp being 32. They survived that pretty good & I still had tomatoes when I dug them up in February.

You can consult you state's Extension office for your appropriate planting dates for tomatoes & other veggies. I'm sure there's a chart somewhere that will give you the right dates for spring & fall tomatoes.
mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 8, 2012
7:35 AM

Post #9034490

Thanks for your input jomoncon. I'm going to give them a try again!
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 8, 2012
7:35 AM

Post #9034491

I do almost exactly what jomoncon describes. Summer is not gardening time here in the blast furnace of Phoenix.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 8, 2012
8:52 AM

Post #9034598

I have successfully done what the original poster has done, planted transplants from seeds started in mid-summer, and also nursed my plants through the hot weather into fall for a successful fall crop.
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

March 8, 2012
10:15 AM

Post #9034690

We get a fall crop every year. The good news here is that the plants thrive through the summer if we water routinely and start the fall season full of blossoms as mature, robust plants. However, summer lasts a long time and plants only begin to set fruit mid to late September, so only early varities have time to ripen before first frost.

mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 8, 2012
10:49 AM

Post #9034731

[quote="only early varities have time to ripen before first frost.

[/quote]

I would love to know of some early varieties, tarheel2az
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

March 8, 2012
11:29 AM

Post #9034763

Of all the varieties I've grown, early or later bearing, my wife thinks the best tasting is Fourth of July, so I always grow it. It advertises as bearing in 56 days. But personal preference is, well, personal, and for me the 4Js are good but not at the very top of the list. I've also grown Celebrity, which was very productive with a pleasant flavor. The sites below list many other choices.

http://www.early-tomato.com/varieties-early-tomatoes.html
http://www.reimerseeds.com/early-season-tomato_722.aspx
http://www.tomatogrowers.com/Tomatoes/departments/1/

FWIW, the earliest bearers all seem to be hybrids. Doesn't matter to me.

This message was edited Mar 8, 2012 12:30 PM
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

March 8, 2012
12:49 PM

Post #9034834

One of the other things I do with my spring tomatoes is to take cuttings from them in late summer to use as starts for my fall crops. Because I only grow about 6 tomato plants, I don't start my own seeds, but buy transplants. So my spring-purchased transplants give me starts for my fall tomatoes. This past winter was so mild, that I also used cuttings from these for my current spring tomatoes. So the 6 transplants I purchased a year ago have given me at least 12 more plants.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 8, 2012
6:11 PM

Post #9035163

Somewhere there is a thread where some Zone 8 Texans discuss their "Spring tomaotes" and "Fall tomatoes", an it sounds as if the stakes catch fire from the summer heat, in-between.

I just know that last year their Spring plants are fainting from heat before my Summer nights warmed up enough that I could leave tomato plants out overnight.

And I'm also Zone 8! Oh, well, winter cold doesn't predict summer heat.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 8, 2012
7:52 PM

Post #9035273

mccaine,
I grow tomatoes only in the spring here in my area.
I transplanted them in the ground at the end of February under a pvc hoop house covered with plastic.
I am also ready to protect them from a possible snow or freeze ...
I have grown tomatoes in this way for the last three years

I normally harvest lots of tomatoes April, May, June and some in July. And at this time I am really "sick" of tomatoes.
By the first week in July I start to transplant CUCUMBERS under the tomato plants.
The leaves of the tomato plants will shade the cucumbers while they are little. As soon as they grow, I will just trim down the tomatoes and eventually pull them away.

I don't do fall tomatoes. I never been lucky with them and they just don't taste as good as the spring ones (just my opinion).
I rather use my limited space to grow something else in the fall.

One more thing: CHERRY or small tomatoes do much better in my hot climate.

GOOD LUCK ! You can do it !

Thumbnail by drthor   Thumbnail by drthor
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steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 8, 2012
8:04 PM

Post #9035283

I do as McCaine does. Take suckers from the Spring crop and root them to grow as fall tomatoes. In June, it's too hot here for tomatoes to produce. They dont die, they just stop producing tomatoes. I take suckers or tomato tops and root them in potting soil to put them out again in late August or early Sept. We usually have a mild winter (past two years excepted) and can keep growing tomatoes until late Jan. We really have to rush the tomatoes out using frost cloth and such in order to get tomatoes before it gets too hot. Cherry type tomatoes do better here than the larger fruited ones. Ive had a cherry that produced for a whole year. It was called Julie something or other.
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

March 9, 2012
6:11 AM

Post #9035559

drthor wrote:
I normally harvest lots of tomatoes April, May, June and some in July. And at this time I am really "sick" of tomatoes.
By the first week in July I start to transplant CUCUMBERS under the tomato plants.
The leaves of the tomato plants will shade the cucumbers while they are little. As soon as they grow, I will just trim down the tomatoes and eventually pull them away.


You're right, the fall tom's are not as good. I really noticed it this past winter when we didn't have really cold weather, but it just wasn't warm enough for them to develop a great flavor. They looked beautiful, but the flavor just didn't wasn't there. But since I have a little extra room, I always put in a few fall tomatoes.
mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 9, 2012
6:37 AM

Post #9035596

All of you are super helpful! Ugh, I haven't even started my seeds yet and I feel the clock ticking!! I don't think I even have any early variety seeds. I'm thinking I'll try transplants and seeds for spring and then try rooting suckers and seeds for fall. I'll experiment and see what works for me.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 9, 2012
6:46 AM

Post #9035604

I have a much more bountiful crop of tomatoes in the fall than in the spring.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 9, 2012
7:49 AM

Post #9035668

Stephanie-so do I no matter when I plant the seedlings. For the most part I keep the plants going over the summer and still manage to get a tomato here and there. But come fall, watch out.

Because our summers can be so hot I direct seed a few in June-July and that way they dont have to adjust to the being outside but the established plants always produce more.
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

March 9, 2012
10:51 AM

Post #9035866

jomoncon wrote: . . .You're right, the fall tom's are not as good. .


Apparently results vary. Ours are as good as the spring harvest. Maybe the amount of sunshine in this clime.


This message was edited Mar 9, 2012 11:53 AM

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 9, 2012
8:53 PM

Post #9036467

One year, I was running around on Christmas Eve harvesting tomatoes because a freeze was coming! LOL

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 9, 2012
8:55 PM

Post #9036471

"It's beginning to look a lot like Ketsup,
aaaaat this time of year."

1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 10, 2012
6:16 AM

Post #9036695

I have fresh tomatoes every Christmas too, Stephanie. Excluding this past one due to the heat, drought and the deer. For some reason Im more motivated to protect the plants when there are literally 100s of tomatoes on them.
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

March 12, 2012
10:51 PM

Post #9040554

This last summer was the hottest summer of record in the Texas hill country. When my spring tomato's stopped producing in the heat of summer, I just cut them back to about a 6 inch stub. They began re-growing and were ready to start producing as it cooled off some in the autumn. Cheery tomatoes were more productive than the Big Boy types. That was my first time to ever try that and it worked.
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

March 13, 2012
5:58 AM

Post #9040730

Jaywhacker wrote:This last summer was the hottest summer of record in the Texas hill country. When my spring tomato's stopped producing in the heat of summer, I just cut them back to about a 6 inch stub. They began re-growing and were ready to start producing as it cooled off some in the autumn. Cheery tomatoes were more productive than the Big Boy types. That was my first time to ever try that and it worked.


I really like the idea of just cutting back the spring tomatoes when the summer hear starts to wilt them. I think I'll try that this tear when the heat gets to mine. That way, at least I can avoid the extra planting. Just cut back the ones from the spring & let them regrow in the fall.

Jo-Ann
mccaine
Wilmington, NC
(Zone 8a)

March 13, 2012
6:22 AM

Post #9040770

I love the idea of cutting them back, too!! Maybe add a little late summer black cow to spruce up the soil? Jaywhacker, you're so daring!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 13, 2012
10:28 AM

Post #9041102

Jay, that's a brilliant idea! I think I might try that as well. I grow mainly heirlooms and those things can get HUGE and leggy, so this might take care of more than just getting fall tomatoes!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 13, 2012
11:10 AM

Post #9041166

The deer pruned mine last year. : ( This year there is a much higher fence. Thanks for the great Idea.

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 20, 2012
7:57 PM

Post #9050821

I can never get myself motivated enough to get out in the heat to work on a fall tomato crop...
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 20, 2012
8:05 PM

Post #9050826

I feel the same way. Just the up keep of the garden does it for me. Come fall I love to see the huge vines with tomtoes setting. But like ive said before, last summer was the first summer that I didnt have at least some fruit set all summer long.

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 20, 2012
9:00 PM

Post #9050868

It was so dang hot last summer, nothing did much of anything!
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 21, 2012
6:21 AM

Post #9051169

Mainly just a bunch of us SWEATING when we did venture out and about!!

stephanietx

stephanietx
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 21, 2012
8:58 AM

Post #9051369

I sweated just looking outside! LOL The AC at work didn't work well enough to keep up with the demand so I sweated all day at work. I was so wrung out by the time I got home I had no desire to go outside. Also, the hubby was having heart problems, so we didn't plant anything except bell peppers, but I had a few volunteer cantaloupes and watermelons show up so I had to tend those.
jomoncon
New Orleans, LA
(Zone 9a)

March 22, 2012
6:32 AM

Post #9052518

There are so few veggies that grow for me during the hottest part of the summer. Especially ones that we like! Okra will grow, but we don't eat it. Maybe I'll just plant some crowder peas - but then I'll have to shell them all.
MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

March 22, 2012
6:57 AM

Post #9052546

You could grow okra as a cash crop - as in sell to local restaurants. Someone here does that with armenian cukes - walked into an Indian restaurant, asked for the manager and showed him a sample of cukes and okra from his garden. The restaurant bought all he could supply - which was about 900 pounds through last summer. I'm going to try both of those myself this summer. I like my gardening hobby to pay for itself. :-)

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