In about a month we’ll start planting our spring gardens here in South Texas and that means more talk about tomatoes. Tomatoes are the #1 plant here just like it is every place. We’ve spent a lot of research money growing tomatoes using Spray-N-Grow. These trials were conducted to imitate to how farmers would use Spray-N-Grow and they showed a yield increase of 50-60 % and increased sugar content (better taste). Home gardeners will do even better because they will apply more Spray-N-Grow to the plant and will use it more often.
What variety should we plant? This depends on your location, how much area you have, what size fruit you want, and container vs in the ground. Etc.
Here’s a little info to consider:
1. What varieties are best for your planting zone? Check with your County Ag Extension Agent or or local Master Gardeners Assn for recommendations for your area.
2. Do you want early season, mid season or late season bearing fruit? Early = 55-65 days, Mid = 70-80 days, Late = 80-85 days. Have some fun and try one of each, if you have the space.
3. Fruit size = 6-8 oz, 8-12 oz, 10-16 0z 16-32 0z, 32 0z & up.
4. Plant size = compact or bush?
5. Disease resistance = check the capital letters right after the variety name, for example Celebrity VFFNTA means that this variety is resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, nematodes, tobacco mosaic virus and alternaria…that’s a mouth full!
In our area, I like Celebrity. It has a great track record with both gardeners and farmers. It’s a good producer with excellent flavor and fruit size of 8-12 oz. It has very good disease resistance VFFNTA.
Arkansas Traveler is an old late season variety that is a fairly good hot weather producer.
Tips for growing good tomatoes:
1. Use good manure compost.
2. Start applying Spray-N-Grow & Bill’s Perfect Fertilizer at the 5-7 leaf stage or right after transplanting.
3. Mixture = 1oz (2 tablespoons) Spray-N-Grow to one gallon warm water (like you wash your hands in),let stand 15-20 minutes then add I tablespoon Bill’s Perfect Fertilizer.
4. Farmers and gardeners alike are using red plastic to enhance quality and yield. I haven’t tried this, but was introduced to it by our organic apple growers in Washington who use it to enhance color on their apples.
If you want to try and grow six pound tomatoes like Walter, our customer in Iowa, you have to start with one the varieties that make this possible. Try tomatogrowers.com for all varieties available.
Enjoy your time in the garden,