Re: [gardeners] tomato seed experiment

Allen and Judy Merten (
Tue, 29 Dec 1998 08:34:12 -0600

Hi Barbara,
    Heat in the Texas summer is the limiting factor in the spring gardening
season more so than any other factor. Your tomatos unless one of the new
hybrids designed to produce through the heat, will not set fruit after the
night time temperatures stay abouve 72*F.
    Many gardeners cut their tomato plants back about 4 to 6 inches above
the ground and mulch and water through the heat until temperatures moderate.
My success with this method has been hit and miss. I have had more success
with planting new tomato plants in late August. It is still very hot then
and I try to mulch heavily around the plants early in the morning when the
soil is still cool. I also try to protect them from the afternoon sun by
planting something tall next to the tomato plants. Sunflowers is a good one
to plant. They get tall enough to cast shade, will thrive on the heat, and
will provide food for the birds if you leave the heads on and let the whole
plant dry in the garden. You do have to plant the sunflowers about 2 weeks
before planting the tomato plants. You can shade them with various other
things like small pieces of plywood or cardboard, but they become flying
hazards during the violent thunderstorms common in Texas in late summer,
especially in your area. If you cage them you can put black plastic on the
western side of the cage, but be sure to anchor the cage well because of the
wind factor. There is also the mesh material that nurseries use that will
provide shade. I have never used it.
    This is all something that you probably already know. With out my
fall/winter garden it's kinda boring so I guess I just enjoy talking
    Bastrop Co.,Tx
    Zone 8

B. Davis wrote:

> This was my first year gardening in Texas and the heat was terrific
> this year.  I grew 3 varieties of tomatoes, two indeterminate, an
> heirloom and a beefsteak, plus a determinate which peels without
> scalding and whose seeds I'd bought several years ago from Stokes
> (they are no longer available).
> The longer season indeterminate tomatoes produced exactly two
> fruit since they didn't bear in the heat and didn't have time to recover
> and produce after it cooled off.
> The shorter season indeterminate plants produced well over 150 fruit
> both before the heat of summer and after it cooled in the fall.
> These were hybrids, but I decided to save seed anyway.  I posted
> about the seed I planted last Friday because several of them were
> sprouting in the fruit which I had picked green and ripened on the
> kitchen counter.  I just looked at the small pot and three of them are
> through the soil surface already.
> I dried the remainder of that batch and will plant later, but don't know
> if they'll grow because it's possible that they were sprouting, too, and
> I couldn't tell.
> My third batch of seeds from that tomato variety were dried earlier
> but they, too, might not grow because I'd frozen a few cartons of
> whole, skinned tomatoes from the spring production.  When I used
> them during the summer, I saved some of those seeds.  It'll be
> interesting to see if the ex-frozen seed will grow when planted later.
> Barbara Davis       zone 7/8       southwest of Fort Worth, TX