Tomatoes are by far the most popular garden vegetable grown in Texas. And it is no wonder, since nothing can compare to the tangy, sweet taste of a luscious red fruit plucked straight from the vine, salt and peppered and savored in solitude. Or perhaps enjoyed in a salad of mixed greens or as the main course to a bologna sandwich. However we enjoy our tomatoes, we like them best when they are grown right here in Texas… right in our own gardens!
The first step to a successful tomato crop is selecting the right variety. Of course, it is fun to experiment with some of the odd, old-fashioned varieties, but nothing beats the modern hybrids for production and disease resistance.
For your primary crop, stick to those we recommend like Celebrity, Carnival, Merced and Shady Lady. To extend your crop add Porters, Martina’s Roma and Small Fry as these smaller fruited varieties will continue to set fruit after the larger fruited varieties have shut down for the summer.
When selecting transplants, look for stocky, dark green plants that are free of any signs of stress or disease. Tall, spindly plants will have a hard time making the transition to the garden. They are basically like an out-of-shape athlete who would be ill advised to enter the Summer Olympics.
Incorporate a generous amount of compost to your tomato beds prior to planting. Also, add a pound or so of barnyard manure per square foot of garden space. Any variety of manure will work but rabbit or poultry manure are the best choices if available.
more to come…