In every season, Texas gardeners plan their menus around certain reliable home-grown crops: lettuce in…
Plant Fall Tomatoes!
Get ready to plant tomatoes again!
Did you know we have two tomato seasons in the Dallas Fort Worth area? Proper timing is essential to a good harvest.
It’s best to plant your fall tomato plants in the ground by the week of July 4th. From June through our annual 4th of July sale, we have fresh tomato transplants in stock, including ‘Tycoon,’ a popular recent variety, as well as smaller-fruited varieties (those best for summer planting) such as ‘Yellow Pear.’
If you grew spring tomatoes, then you’re probably nearing the peak of your harvesting by now. As we move into the hottest part of summer, tomatoes that haven’t ripened before temperatures climb will most likely remain green. Timing is everything with tomatoes; they won’t fruit or ripen if temperatures aren’t just right! Sounds like a good time for a batch of homemade fried green tomatoes…
Spent plants pulled from the garden can go into the compost pile, unless you had major problems with fungal or bacterial diseases this spring. If so, it’s best to remove the spent infected plants from your property. If you’ve had continual problems with disease in tomato plants, try rotating your fall crop to a new bed. Add horticultural cornmeal to the infected bed to help reduce the fungal disease pressure in the soil.
Worried about new plants frying in the July heat and sun? Be sure to purchase some floating row cover or shade cloth to protect your new transplants for the next couple of weeks. Shading them at planting time can help better acclimate plants to the summer sun. Also, be sure to put your tomato cages over your new plants at planting time. Don’t wait until plants are too big!
It’s always best to add fresh organic matter to your beds before you plant new crops. Vital Earth Organic compost and Soil Menders Garden Food & Soil are great amendments. Sprinkle in some worm castings and granular NHG organic fertilizer or Espoma Tomato-tone before you plant your tomatoes. Be sure to mulch plants to help conserve moisture and cool soil temperature.
Keep plants consistently moist through the growing season. Soaker hoses and drip lines are a great way to keep tomato plants properly watered and healthy, especially in summer. Once you see small fruits developing on the plants (typically September), you can begin to fertilize again. Sidedress every other week with a granular fertilizer, or feed weekly with water soluable feeds such as Hasta Gro.
Your fall tomatoes are typically ready to harvest starting late-September through October. You may still have some green fruits on the vine (that won’t ripen) in November. Be sure to harvest these fruits and bring indoors before temperatures drop below 40 F or a frost.
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