Growing Tomatoes, Season 2012

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

The old thread, ZONE 8 Growing Tomatoes 2010, was getting really long. I started a new thread since Drthor is away for a couple of weeks. This thread is for the discussion of our current practices, but I removed the zone from the topic. It's far enough along into the season that other regions can and will have valuable contributions. Those of us in Zone 8 may very well find that practices in short-season areas that are cool would help us produce more tomatoes, more quickly.

We came from here:

This image is of 'Tigerella' bi-color tomatoes. Last year they were really pretty, but didn't have much taste. I'm giving them another chance, since the heat and dry last year may not have been fair.


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Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Do those taste good? It looks gorgeous

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

David, Tigerella isn't a bicolor variety, it's a striped variety. A bicolor variety on one where there's a blush of reddish pink starts at the blossom end and moves upwards towards the stem end. So the same secondary color on the exterior is also found as a marbling on the interior. Varieties such as Lucky Cross Virginia Sweets, Marizol Gold and maybe several hundred more are true bicolors.

Yes, I've grown Tigerella and for me it splits with the AM dew and the taste is far too aggressive for me.

It might interest others to know that it was quickly called Mr. Stripey, which was a bad move IMO b'c so many folks and seed sites got the two mixed up; that is the large beefsteak bicolor and the much smaller Tigerella striped one. Varieties with stripes on the outside are not bicolors.

Tigerella, Craigella and Tangella were three selections made from a cross between Aisla Craig and I forgot the other one, by the Glasshouse Research Inst in England many years ago.

I've grown all three and I do think Tangella is pretty darn good.

Hope that helps.


Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Carolyn - your name is on page 39 of the June/July issue of Organic Gardening - bottom right under "Heidi"

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)


Thanks for the clarification. I knew it had two colors, but the color didn't continue into the interior. I do have a couple of true bi-colors this year. If I can remember to order seeds, maybe I will grow Tangella this fall.


I didn't find the taste to be much the first season, but I like to give everything I try at least two years to see if changing conditions change my impressions. If it doesn't taste any better this year it will be gone.


Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Honey, so what did they have to say about the varity Heidi? ( smile)

Yes, I was the originator of that variety from a former student of mine from Cameroon, Heidi Iyok, and it's become very popular as a paste tomato. It's one of the few paste tomatoes I'm willing to list here and there and have done so many times here at DG.

Carolyn, who gave up on Organic Gardening many years ago, for various reasons, and same for Mother Earth News/ If National Gardening were still being published I'd be happy, but the parent company went bust, and that was that although there is a link to NG where they have special articles from back issues that they've chosen to be worthy and one of mine having to do with TOmato Diseases was one chosen.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Carolyn -

so what did they have to say about the varity Heidi?

The articles says that Heidi is an heirloom from Africa and was given to you by a student from Cameroon. They called you a "tomato maven".

I can't give direct quotes because the article is copywrited.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I grow Tigerella every year. I find the production and taste is always dependable. I keep seeing it compared to Mr. Stripey, but that tomato seems much bigger????

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

That's interesting Carolyn. 'cause I get Nat'l Gardening emails, not sure how often, I just don't pay attention until they show up and then I read them. A lot of good hints. And they talk about new plants etc.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I'm picking my first Black Cherry and Black Plum tomatoes for salad tonight. Cinco de Mayo dinner with friends.....tamales, pinto beans, chile verde, cilantro rice, salad to scatter on top of all that - with fresh limes. Yay!!!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Sounds good Mary. Long time for me yet.

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

My tomatoes are still looking good, but still very green. There are no signs of color yet on anything. It looks like Galena will be my first cherry to ripen and Jet Star or Big Beef will be the first tomato. Here are some pictures of some of my crop.

Picture 1 is Homestead. It is a semi-determinate that seems to tolerate the heat pretty well. It doesn't keep setting once temperatures stay in the high 90's but it does pretty well up to then. The foliage is heavy and fruit is well protected from sunscald.

Photo 2 is Big Beef. It has been a reliable producer for me, but does give out when it gets hot.

Photo 3 is Indian Stripe. It does well on the quantity/quality meter as you can see from this cluster of 5 fruit.

Photo 4 is KBX. It is a potato-leaf version of Kellogg's Breakfast. From what I can tell, it looks like it is going to be more productive.


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Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Yummy David. I tried Kellogg's Breakfast one year and it did not do too well for me....but then I've learned alot more since then too.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I have tried Kelloggs Breakfast the last 2 years but because of mislabeling I don't know if they did or didn't do good. They did not germinate for me this year. Oh well, maybe I wasn't meant to have them.

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

Both Kelloggs and KBX (potato leaf version) are among my favorites from last year. Last year I planted Kellogg's and got a couple of potato leaf ones. This year I planted 4 KBX and wound up with one regular leaf. Will be curious to see if there is any difference in growing and taste.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

You'll have to be sure to let us know.

BUda, TX(Zone 8b)

A couple of new Black Krim's that got purchased & transplanted tonight. Hopefully they will do better than the last resident's in the HD bucket, over-watered and a slow suffocating death... White buckets new soil mix and it's first-time occupant...

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Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

They look very happy kev, good luck.

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

I'm loving this weather (although I could do without the rain this week) So far we've had a great season..the cucumbers are about ready to be pulled and I might try and replant but I've made well over 50 jars of pickles so I might give it a rest until fall. I've had a few under producers or BER issues so I've pulled those plants already.

Wis 55 did nothing, plant looked great but zilch, strangely enough the cherry tomato in the same box is pumping out like crazy. My Bella Rosa was covered in BER, again the Early Black in the same box has had NO problems. Of my new varieties I'm trying the only ones I haven't loved or even liked have been the Brown Sugar and the Yellow Riesentraube. Both are fairly prolific but taste just isn't worth it.

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Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Same here, Mary and Jnette, with the Kellogg's. I tried one year and didn't get many so it just wasn't worth it for me.

I have lots of blooms and pretty plants. I'm still looking for those fruits!! The busy weekend and rain have me off a bit with my spraying schedule for blight. Got to get on it tonight or tomorrow depending on the weather this afternoon. I am so envious of you folks with ripe and near ripe tomatoes!!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Araness- I cant believe youve already pickled that many cukes! What type did you grow? Im sooo behind but from the looks of the ground and the forecast I wont be catching up this week! Im not complaining temps in the 70s and rain, this is how I remember Texas.

Kev, Im glad to see Im not the only one still planting. I have 40 some plants in the ground but there always seems like there is room for one more. Black Krim is one of my favorites.

Has any one grown Purple Calabash? My plants are small and slow growing. I got the seeds in a trade a couple of yrs ago, last year I remember the plants being small and its the same this year. Last year they never produced due to the heat and drought. I was wondering what others experience has been.

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

I grew Sugar Crunch, they are small and super sweet and pickle well. I have been eating cukes for several months (or close) and they are about pooped out. Serg wants to put others in but with the temps starting to climb I don't think it's worth it. I grew Calabash but didn't get a great amount and didn't really like them.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm still planting, too!

About to set out bell peppers, eggplants, the Sugar Crunch cukes (don't know what I'll get since Araness has canned 50 jars already, but hey...), the okra, and ONE squash plant.

This scheduling this just totally eludes me....except for the fall crops...those I KNOW when to plant!

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

I'm going to start my fall seeds in a week or so, bell peppers are out and should have several ripe ones in another week to hard to tell with them. I have one box of okra so 8 plants the one box of zuke (2 plants) which hasn't produced tons but what it has taste great. I really have to rethink the beans, we only got 12 lbs or so from 24 plants of the bush you think I can replant or is it to late?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Everything "edible" is in the ground. I just have to find room for a few zinnias and then wait impatiently for harvesting to begin in ernest.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Bush Beans
Direct Sow in September
Variety: Gina
Replant then. There will be time for another harvest before frost...


BUda, TX(Zone 8b)

I know this is off-topic, but had to share this picture.... Momma said she never saw it till last night...

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Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Are they good when the have gotten that size? You know a lot of cukes, squash, etc. aren't.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I think they are fine. On the other thread I posted back to make zucchini boats, scoop out the center, fill with something and bake.

Zucc bread
Zucc pancakes
Zucc crusted pizza.... it's endless. They are fine.

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

lol that looks like the 12" cuke that hid from us! We pick them at 5" but that one snuck past us.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

This one was fine, was long as my computer keyboard.

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Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

Good advice on the beans I'll hold off...Been a great last few days tomato production wise so now I have two pans of tomatoes roasting in the oven.

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Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I think you could direct sow beans anytime throughout the season, if you want to. I got a packet of bush beans by accident I usually grow pole beans or long beans. It say to sow from April to July. I know David posted that he sowed another round a week or so ago. Mine have been soaking for way too long because the soil in the garden is too wet.

I am going to sow them and the long beans, which love the heat, when the soil dries out. Tomorrow I'm going to pot up the last of the peppers for this wholesale order. Since I posted it I have to do it, lol it's too wet to work in my garden so I'm going to finish these last few plants and then I will be done.

Hutto, TX

I suppose it's harvest time in the South. Great job all. Dreaves your maters look great, and it won't be long before you taking pictures of ripe red tomato's.

I started much earlier than everyone I suppose, and was lucky with the weather. It's better to be lucky than good. I have been picking maters since April 26th. Here are a few pic's of my harvest. I have given away 1/2 of what I have pictured. I have been very impressed with Indian Stripe, and San Marzano. I have never grown before, and I must say I am impressed with the flavor. My Big Beef are amazing this year. Last year not so much. Of course the Cherokee Purple is just the best tomato I have ever consumed......ever!!........I am still waiting on Brandywine Sudduth. I saw last night one is starting to turn pinkish.......and I am still waiting on my Super Plant, lots of maters just have net turned yet. I thought I planted two Early Girl bush plants, but one of the EG's does not seem to be a is much taller, and the leaves are somewhat different.........It may be a Arkansas Traveler, or Mortgage Lifter.......I started those two varieties, but I did not think I planted them.

Edit.....Also in the first picture the two tomato's on the far left are Rutgers...I have not tasted yet. The smallish maters to the right are Black Krim. This year the Black Krim plants are loaded w/ fruit, but they so far are much smaller than last years crop.

This message was edited May 11, 2012 8:16 AM

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SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Here's an update:

I grew KY Wonder Pole Beans for the first time this season. First time, any season, growing beans.

I started them off under lights, and transplanted to seven, 5-gallon, free-draining buckets that are sitting under my patio cover. Then, they started exhibited some rusty leaf malady, and I started cutting those leaves away. Seems to have put that in check. I think it was from getting the leaves wet. Won't make that mistake again.

I never intended for them to stay under the cover, 'cause I knew they needed sun. But, I am amazed that they are actually producing beans where they are! At first, I decided I wasn't going to grow beans anymore because they aren't quite "neat." The vines are growing up 6 ft. stakes, and when they reached the top, I just guided them over to a stake next to them, and they started growing sort of horizontally. Well, now they're just a tangled mess, which accounts for not being "neat." And, which is why I never attempted to move them out into the sun.

But, I've been getting a good handful of beans every two days, and I'm not complaining. And, observing how they grow has given me an idea for how to use my tomato frame as a bean trellis next season. Since the beans grow behind the leaves, the trellis needs to have room behind it to access the beans easily. Another frame over the bed with walking room on the pathway behind will do the trick!

So, I guess there will be another Ky Wonder Pole Bean season. And, I can't wait to throw them into a crock pot with potatoes and onions, and recreate David's recipe!


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SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

That's a beautiful haul, Horn!

I'd know a Black Krim anywhere, any size, too! I thought it was my favorite tomato of all time -- until I ate my first Pruden's Purple, and then, a Momotaro!

I can't wait to have enough tomatoes at one time to make roasted tomato sauce. Nice job, Saint!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I am so jealous of you all with your produce. They are beautiful. I hope to get my little plants put in maybe next week. It is suppose to be the last chance of frost. The dog's water dish was frozen solid this morning. Very discouraging.

Like I told you my tomato plants are very little. The smallest I have ever had. I don't know why. I started them in the sponge Riot Roots or whatever and also some others in the Roots Organic mix. I have had them under lights, very close, all their little lives. I normally have to plant them into gallon pots before setting them out, but not this year. So, I hope they grow and produce. I also used the heating mats.

I guess I should have stuck to my regular regimen. They say, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". I am always trying new things, and this was one that really did not work. Oh well, I hope I can get them growing so I get something out of them before the end of the season.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Jnette- dont be discouraged, tho it may be a cool summer up there, brrr, a lot of my plants are not getting norml dimensions, or slo producing this year too.

Hutto, TX

Gosh jnette....other than the plugs what else is different?...when did you sow your seeds? say small, how small?....any pics? often do you water?....those rr plugs hold water......that could be a problem.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Im wondering the same thing as Horn what did you do different, what growing medium do you usually use? After all the hype about ROs I thought it could do no wrong... However, if the dog's water was frozen it might be just as well that they are small, it doesn't sound like the temps are right for putting out tomato plants.

I start my plants the same way every year BUT this year they just started slow. This is the first time that my Market Plants are on my back deck and are not blooming, they usually always blooming by now. But given the crazy weather (cool temps and rain) in May in Texas, I'm not complaining, even if my tomato plants are a little behind. I think my first ripe tomato will be MoneyMaker. I thought it would be New Big Dwarf (in a container) but the first couple of fruits had BER and the third had a fruit worm, I'm watching the others fruit very closely.

Also, the plants in the ground, aren't blooming like they normally do. Usually, they are blooming before they are planted but not this year. Every year is different.

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