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Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

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Old September 29, 2019   #1
Barb_FL
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Default Fellow Floridians and other Hot/Humid climates - season '19-20

This is a continuation of the original 'Hey Fellow Floridians' thread that was started on Oct 1, 2014 by Fiishergurl (Ginny) and the later HFF Year 2. That thread contained a lot of great information from the most dedicated Florida tomato growers but when trying to locate anything, it was very cumbersome.

So after 3548 posts, with 237 pages and over 267K views, it was decided to start a new thread to coincide with the new fall tomato growing season.
Here's a link to the old thread that may be useful when it becomes inactive:

http://http://tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=37937

We grow more than tomatoes. Everyone is welcome to contribute; the more the merrier.

Now for the important info:

Yellow Sticky cards - the only brand to buy when living with lizards is Seabright. Usually about $15 for 15. I use 1 per plant/Earthbox and haven't had aphids, whiteflies, leaf miners since.

I think Marsha used 1 card per 6 or 8 feet. So use your judgement.



Marsha's fungal disease formula:

Per Gallon:
1/2Tablespoon Southern Ag Liquid★Copper★Fungicide
1teaspoon BT ( Thurcide and Dipel are some examples)
Liquid dish soap such as Seventh Generation, or Organic liquid Laundry soap

Add a bit of water to your pump sprayer, then measure your★copper★concentrate, add rest of water to fill container, and I also rinse my measuring spoon into container.

AFTER all water has been added, put in your BT, and a small squeeze of the liquid soap.
Mix well.

BarbK Note: The BT is added for caterpillars. I think Marsha was trying to show that you could treat both with the same spray.

The big takeaway was the amount of Liquid Copper Fungicide used was much less than the instructions by the vendor.

I typically do not get fungal diseases; I have a ton of wind where I live so it may be good for something like drying the leaves. In January '2019 I had a breakout of powdery mildew on my tomato plants leaves - not all thankfully.

Welcome everyone.
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Old September 29, 2019   #2
Ocalagal
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Thank you so much for this great info. Ive bookmarked this page so I dont miss anything. Im going to go thru the other Florida threads, too. Now that Ive got time to stay home and play, Im going to get really serious about growing Tomatoes. I know growing in Florida has a lot of challenges, but Ive seen so many pictures here of amazing Florida tomatoes. Im glad you mentioned the moss on the side of the grow bags. As much as I like using them, they get really groady by the end of the season. I was thinking of dunking them all in bleach water when Im done with them, but that would probably fade them out. Ill try pressure spraying them.
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Old September 29, 2019   #3
b54red
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I don't know about you but I have had TYLCV hitting my tomatoes for the past three weeks. By now almost half my tomatoes are showing the signs of infection. Didn't see it at all last year but it hit my fall tomatoes a couple of years ago. Seems that warm winter we had gave those whiteflies time to move up to my neck of the woods. It is a good thing I didn't go all out and plant a lot of fall tomatoes this year or it would have been a disaster like the last time they hit here. I know using sticky traps would help a little but the number of whitefles I am dealing with would make it cost prohibitive. My neighbors have a lot of shrubs that attract them and with sweet potato vines in my garden there are millions of them.

Despite the total drought and intense heat we have endured this summer tomato production has been good and the flavor of the fruits outstanding. I am still getting a few really nice tomatoes almost every day and the plants that aren't infected with TYLCV are still putting on new fruit despite 100 degree weather most days. Today was an exception with temps in the upper 90s but it was a nice respite and I am hoping a sign of things to come. I have found that watering at least once a day and giving the tomatoes a healthy dose of TTF every week to 10 days has really helped setting fruit in this hot dry weather. Amazingly my bell peppers are setting and putting on fruit like crazy. This has been the best year for peppers that I have ever experienced and they don't seem to be slowing down much.

I have hardly had to use the copper spray for gray mold and other issues that come with damp weather but I have had to fight spider mites constantly this summer but so far I have won that battle. The trick with spider mites is to hit them fast and hard as soon as they show up and in late summer and fall they can show up a lot if it stays hot and dry like this year.

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Old September 30, 2019   #4
Greatgardens
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I haven't used BT spraying toms, but this season I started adding commercial (Hi-Yield) spreader/sticker at the recommended rates to my copper solution (Soap Shield). I did notice that the mixture spread out and "stuck" better to the foliage. And I did notice an apparent improvement over dish soap with this product. It was $10 at Amazon, so might be worth a try. This bottle looks to be a "lifetime supply" for my couple dozen or so plants!
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Old September 30, 2019   #5
kilroyscarnival
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Thank you for starting this thread! I have everything except BT at home. I missed the context about the sticky cards and lizards -- do they get stuck to the other brands? I'll have to look at what brand I bought... the poor lizards have a tough enough time at our place with four kitties hanging out all day in their catio, with the occasional lizard sneaking in and being hunted. I need to try the sticky traps around the basil. I'm not sure I've seen any aphids but the ants keep trying to return.

Barb, have you planted out your toms yet? What else do you have going?

My status (Orlando, 9B):
Planted outside 9/14: pole beans in grow bags, a few shelling peas and snow peas, Listada de Gandia eggplant started indoors 8/18 from seed, and three types of pepper (two sweet, one mild) outside 9/14 but not in final grow pots yet.
Inside: about 25 tomato plants, started 8/18 from Bunny Hop Seeds, mostly determinates, in 7 oz cups. Tomorrow after work I need to pot up some of the bigger/indeterminate plants as they are getting too tall for the grow lights. Also some salad greens growing in a box in the shade but it's probably too hot.

Weather has been milder, highs still in the 90s but no tropical rains every afternoon, which is a blessing. Our homemade "garden tower" is still not built yet. BF has done the sawing but we have not gotten to heating and opening all the pockets that will go on the side. We have decided not to go with the vermicomposting tower this year; may try that next year. Instead the center column will have a homemade double-high "olla" out of unglazed terra cotta pots, to slow-release water throughout the barrel. I hope to get some strawberries going in the top pockets this winter, and set some of the microdwarfs in the top. Still haven't quite decided what else goes in it.

Tomato varieties for fall: Micros Jochalos and Lille Lise. Also Dwarf Pink Passion, Dwarf Purple Reign, Peachy Keen, Whippersnapper, Neptune, Ramblin' Stripe (apparently sometimes Rambling without the folksy apostrophe), Boets or Boetz, Bundaberg Rumball. Just a few of each. All first timers for me so it's a complete adventure.

Last edited by kilroyscarnival; September 30, 2019 at 01:17 PM. Reason: added tomato varieties - and I hope I remembered them all.
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Old September 30, 2019   #6
SpookyShoe
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El Lago, Texas, Zone 9a. Hot, humid, a great deal of rain, giant cockroaches that will fly at you, mosquitoes, fire ants. Something outside is blooming year-round.
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Donna, Zone 9, Texas Gulf Coast
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Old September 30, 2019   #7
Barb_FL
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Default First Fruit set of the year

Great to see everyone posting.

Bill - RE: Yellow Sticky Cards, I think if you already have a bad infestation, I don't think they will work near as well as they do before the infestation.

I put a yellow sticky card and by a few days, it is getting ugly. I've done it with my seedlings this year too;

----
So far I have 6 EBs planted out (hurricane shy - remembering dragging them inside during hurricane Mathew and the plants were huge). I have one RootPouch with a determinate, and I am trying the Coco Coir Slabs for the first time. Planted one out just the other night with SotW (I have lots of seedlings) so far so good.

My first fruit set of the year was SunOrange (both plants) and Edox (a new variety from Johnny's that looks really promising for being early and a sturdy plant. Seems short too which is always a plus.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg EDOX-Sep30.jpg (166.1 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg SunOrange.jpg (91.5 KB, 130 views)
File Type: jpg Plants-Sep30.jpg (169.5 KB, 130 views)
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Old September 30, 2019   #8
Ocalagal
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I see from the pictures that you Floridians are planting in full sun, not shade cloth. Since its so unbelieveably hot, I was going to put my new plants in partial shade. Is this not a good idea? If I do put them in full sun, is there any special protections I need to do?
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Old September 30, 2019   #9
Barb_FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocalagal View Post
I see from the pictures that you Floridians are planting in full sun, not shade cloth. Since its so unbelieveably hot, I was going to put my new plants in partial shade. Is this not a good idea? If I do put them in full sun, is there any special protections I need to do?
I germinate them in full sun so they are fine as seedlings. When I transplant to their final destinations, I may wrap the cage with shade cloth; it just depends. Our highs are 87, lots of wind, but the sun is intense. If I do use shade cloth, it is just in the afternoon for a few hours and then remove it.

The last few Septembers I was in Tennessee for the month and brought newly germinated seeds with me and started some there. When I got back Oct 1, they had to adapt to the intense Florida sun and heat. I used shade cloth then out of necessity. I have an area (raised beds with shade cloth overhead. I would get a few in the earthboxes within a couple of days and then shade the boxes for most of the day. The plants that were last to get planted out set fruit at about 4' minimum so even though shaded they were reaching for the sun. Last October was really hot; I hope not as much this year.
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Old September 30, 2019   #10
Ocalagal
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Barb, you just gave me a great idea! Im going to be putting my seedlings in grow bags, and then put the bags between 2 cattle panels for support. I could easily just throw some shade cloth over the top in the death heat in the middle of the day, and then remove it.

Thanks for that idea!!
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Old October 16, 2019   #11
kilroyscarnival
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Barb, you started from seed, yes? When did you plant those guys? They look great. You're well ahead of me. Though, so far, I'm pleased with the two Neptune toms I planted out, and everyone survived the move outside so far. I discovered I have one mystery cup! Somehow an unmarked tomato. Definitely a dwarf, and I suspect it might be an extra Dwarf Purple Reign (separated from its twin when i transferred from seed trays?) but I'm not at all sure. Guess I'll find out eventually!
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Old October 16, 2019   #12
Barb_FL
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I was hurricane shy so only planted out 1 per day starting on 9/22. I'm still planting out.

The first one was an Earthbox with Damsel and Cherokee Carbon. Cherokee Carbon (growing for the first time this year) was the first large tomato to set fruit. But a lot of others have set fruit by now. Cherokee Carbon has a lot of fruit set now, some are already the size of a golf ball. It seems that the earlier I set the plant out, the more fruit it has. I'm really only speaking of the large ones.

Some of my cherry tomatoes are into their cage extensions.

It is really hard for me to imagine that fruit set on larger tomatoes has occurred; night time lows have been about 75-76. The orchard bees have been around so I'm sure that helped.

I think a large tomato by December 1 should happen.

---
I've been testing the coir slabs - so easy - so cheap - but need to feed hydro so time consuming there. I will take pictures tomorrow - pop up rain shower right now.
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Old October 16, 2019   #13
Barb_FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilroyscarnival View Post
Barb, you started from seed, yes? When did you plant those guys? They look great. You're well ahead of me. Though, so far, I'm pleased with the two Neptune toms I planted out, and everyone survived the move outside so far. I discovered I have one mystery cup! Somehow an unmarked tomato. Definitely a dwarf, and I suspect it might be an extra Dwarf Purple Reign (separated from its twin when i transferred from seed trays?) but I'm not at all sure. Guess I'll find out eventually!
Seeds were started Sept 1, with a few earlier because I was anxious.

I had a ?? tomato plant too. I have no idea what it is and even if it is a large or a cherry tomato. It has tomatoes on it and the calyx looks like it would support a larger tomato.

I also have a wispy leaf plant that I have no idea what it is. I have maglia rose growing but it wasn't part of that batch. I did try to germinate blush (in paper towel method), and then somehow lost them so maybe it is a blush. I'm going to grow it out just to see what it was.

Several years ago, I grew Dwarf Sweet Sue (a yellow tomato). I had a plant that had all red ones and saved the seeds and grew for a couple more seasons (really good pink or red tomatoes) then forgot about it. Well I sowed them, and only got 1 dwarf so I have 2 plants that are not dwarfs and not what I wanted. Not sure if I will grow them out.
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Old October 17, 2019   #14
slugworth
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I just picked some phoenix last saturday.
Determinate type but I topped them for cloning which delayed
the donor plants til now.
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Old October 17, 2019   #15
Barb_FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slugworth View Post
I just picked some phoenix last saturday.
Determinate type but I topped them for cloning which delayed
the donor plants til now.
I clone a lot too; I never topped them on purpose; a few time beheaded a plant.

If you like cloning, Damsel is the king of clones - super easy. Best hybrid I think.

Is Phoenix any good? I'm always looking for a good tasting determinate. Grew Mountain Fresh Plus last year; retrying again. It wasn't determinate in that it set fruit and was done, but was nice and short. None of them had really good sun exposure; our peak season is when the sunlight is the shortest. I sowed seeds late and by that time my other plants were monsters taking away the best sun exposure.

Growing BHN 589 and Defiant (Johnny's) this year.

I grew tastilee last year and really did not get very many tomatoes. They were larger than I expected.

I am doing a much better job spacing out my plants this year. I don't have the wall of cherry tomato plants. I'm trying to put the cherries on the end points so nothing is behind them.

---
My marriage tomato - Cherokee Carbon is really short - and has set 15 tomatoes. We might get our first cooler night tonite (72). It's in the same Earthbox as Damsel which also has a bunch of tomatoes. The orchid bees have been busy.
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