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Old December 6, 2012   #1
BW_AustinTX
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Default Best type of tomatoes to grow in Central Texas? Advice Please

Hi all

I am still a neophyte when it comes to growing and gardening. Last year I grew a chocolate cherry and a sunburst in containers. They were just 3 gallon nursery pots, and although I did get some tomatoes.. I look forward to more this year.

I live in Austin TX. Our season starts earlier then most, but we get the 90F+ heat fairly quick. I have read on other areas of the net, that cherry types are good for our heat, but larger type of tomatoes are not. For those of you who are familiar with growing in intense heat and sun, can you advise me please as to what type of tomatoes would do well in my climate?

I would like to grow about 6-8 varieties. I am open to all tips and hints as to what does well, and look forward to your helpful advice.


***Over a year ago I posted a similar thread/question and received great information. I wish to thank those who answered then, again. This post is for others who may have some input, or for any new recommendations. I mention the previous post because I am most appreciative of the advice given in it, and hope it may help others too who may be new to the forum since that post. Previous post: http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=20186


Thank You

Last edited by BW_AustinTX; December 6, 2012 at 02:25 AM.
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Old December 6, 2012   #2
texasjack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BW_AustinTX View Post
Hi all

I am still a neophyte when it comes to growing and gardening. Last year I grew a chocolate cherry and a sunburst in containers. They were just 3 gallon nursery pots, and although I did get some tomatoes.. I look forward to more this year.

I live in Austin TX. Our season starts earlier then most, but we get the 90F+ heat fairly quick. I have read on other areas of the net, that cherry types are good for our heat, but larger type of tomatoes are not. For those of you who are familiar with growing in intense heat and sun, can you advise me please as to what type of tomatoes would do well in my climate?

I would like to grow about 6-8 varieties. I am open to all tips and hints as to what does well, and look forward to your helpful advice.


***Over a year ago I posted a similar thread/question and received great information. I wish to thank those who answered then, again. This post is for others who may have some input, or for any new recommendations. I mention the previous post because I am most appreciative of the advice given in it, and hope it may help others too who may be new to the forum since that post. Previous post: http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=20186


Thank You
Dear BW

I'm in Houston amd grow in containers on my balcony. I believe we have similar temp problems plus the addition of the Houston steady high humidity. Growing large, healthy plants is relatively easy....the trick is to get the blossoms to set. See my recent post about my Christmas harvest. My advice for the difficult South Texas conditions are:
1. Use the largest containers that are practical for you. 5 gal per plant minimum. I've accumulated 6 Earth Boxes.....Cornelius Nurseries has a 2 for 1 sale once a year...sign up on their website to be eligible.I plant only 1 bush per container.

2. Select only indeterminate types. You can get a small crop late May/Mid June. Forget the mid summer period, nurse the plants thru the worst then start fertilizing with a 3-1-2, very low doseage given every 3-4 days beginning in mid August. Get your plants in by March 15/April 1 latest.

3.Water,water, water. A big plus for the bottom watering containers like EB's is that you can't overwater. During mid summer each of my plants take 2-21/2 gals per day. People talk about 1" of rain per week, but I have no clue what that equates to in a container.

4. I've had good results with Black Krim, San Marazano, Arkansas Traveller, Kellog Breakfast and Sun Gold cheeries. I like Chef Jeff plants...check their website for retail outlets.

5. Because of the humidity/heat you must do something to improve blossom set. I started using an electric tooth brush this fall with amazing results....nothing fancy, $4.89 at CVS.

6. Grow Media...Forget packaged garden soil, dirt, anything called "Miracle". N/G for containers. You want light, fluffy mix. I've settled on pine bark "fines mixed with vermiculite, shogum moss and packaged composted cow manure....5-1-1-1.

Hope this gets you started

Regards Texas Jack





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Old December 6, 2012   #3
MikeInCypress
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BW,

If you are planning on starting from seed some of the new Dwarf Varieties do very well in containers.
I recommend Dwarf Beryl Beauty for a green when ripe and Dwarf Mr. Snow for a white, Both produced well for me in 5 gal containers.

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Old December 6, 2012   #4
mdvpc
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You can also think about a late summer start with new plants, or cloning your spring/summer plants. My son in San Antonio did a fall growout and just 2 weeks ago I picked some fruit from his plants. Granted, this fall/winter is a very warm one.
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Old December 6, 2012   #5
Tracydr
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Cherokee Purple, Arkansas Traveler and Matt's Wild Cherry, along with Sungold. Also, Marglobe and Aussie are big producers for me. Marglobe is an early determinate, not the best taste but good enough for a ton of salsa, fresh tomato sauce and soup when nothing else is really doing anything or you don't have enough of any other tomatoes to make anything yet.
Getting the plants in the ground early enough without losing them to a late freeze might be a challenge, it is for me here in the Phoenix area. We always seem to have just a few more freezes into April, even though I really should get my plants in around Feb 1. Protection is a neccessary, and some backup plants.
For me, it's a balance of plants that produce early and can also set in a bit of heat because sometimes our summers hit in the middle of April with no real spring. Our tomato season can be very short so really long season varieties don't do the best for me. I can't take full advantage of long season indeterminates. I usually only get two tiers before heat takes them out.
I'm moving more towards shorter season indeterminates and determinates for this reason, especially because the bulk of our tomatoes go for sauce and salsa anyway. It's really better for them to come in a big flush or two, otherwise I end up having to put a bunch of bags in the freezer until I have enough to deal with. I prefer fresh tomatoes for the type of salsa that we make.
Good luck this year! Your climate can be very rewarding. Be sure to try cowpeas, okra, yardlong beans for those hot summer days and lots of greens/salad stuff for the winter. Chard, collards and kale will become almost four season greens if you like them! They are here so I'm sure they will there where the heat isn't quite as bad.

Last edited by Tracydr; December 6, 2012 at 10:34 AM.
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Old December 7, 2012   #6
BW_AustinTX
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Very helpful advice, everyone! Thanks for sharing!
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Old December 7, 2012   #7
Mikedog
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I looked for varieties tolerant of heat & humidty last year. Lots of folks talk about the Porter & Improved Porter (better). Nichols & Prescott are two more small ones. Pearson & Improved Pearson were developed for hot & dry climate.
You may consider a new disease & heat tolerant one too (Pamella or Bella Rosa)
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Old December 7, 2012   #8
Keger
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You wont have the humidity issues we do here near Houston. My thing is to keep it really simple. Texasjack suggested grow boxes, I think thats a great move. You can build your own if you are into that thing at globalbuckets.org You can check them out on youtube. In my opinion the bagged soils are fine for what you want to do. Find a good quality nursery, tell them what you want to do and they will hook you up. Keep it simple.

Varieties....Always a fun topic,especially around here.

You absolutely can not go wrong with Celebrity. It will run over you. Around the 1st of March you will find the 6 packs at Lowes and Home Depot for under a couple bucks. They are determinates, will produce until about July 4, and then the heat shuts it all down. Roma would also do well if you want that type. Cherries are ok but the indeterminate growth will run you crazy. Again, a good quality nursury will help you. They will know what works for your area, which is key.
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Old December 7, 2012   #9
texasjack
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You wont have the humidity issues we do here near Houston. My thing is to keep it really simple. Texasjack suggested grow boxes, I think thats a great move. You can build your own if you are into that thing at globalbuckets.org You can check them out on youtube. In my opinion the bagged soils are fine for what you want to do. Find a good quality nursery, tell them what you want to do and they will hook you up. Keep it simple.

Varieties....Always a fun topic,especially around here.

You absolutely can not go wrong with Celebrity. It will run over you. Around the 1st of March you will find the 6 packs at Lowes and Home Depot for under a couple bucks. They are determinates, will produce until about July 4, and then the heat shuts it all down. Roma would also do well if you want that type. Cherries are ok but the indeterminate growth will run you crazy. Again, a good quality nursury will help you. They will know what works for your area, which is key.
Dear Keger

Good solid advice. Sounds like we share the same challenges with the weather. I've never tried Celebrity....what kind of flavor? I prefer the traditional strong type.
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Old December 7, 2012   #10
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Dear Keger

Good solid advice. Sounds like we share the same challenges with the weather. I've never tried Celebrity....what kind of flavor? I prefer the traditional strong type.
My Celebrities all died this year. I got a spring heavy rain with flooding and every single one died. Most my other tomatoes died too, but a few like Rutgers held on and fully recovered.
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Old December 7, 2012   #11
Keger
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Dear Keger

Good solid advice. Sounds like we share the same challenges with the weather. I've never tried Celebrity....what kind of flavor? I prefer the traditional strong type.
They taste fine to me.
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Old December 7, 2012   #12
Deborah
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Celebs were too sweet for me. I also like a strong "beefsteak" flavor.
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Old December 7, 2012   #13
Tracydr
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If they're very sweet, I bet they'd be good for dehydrating and paste?
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Old December 7, 2012   #14
Sun City Linda
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I grow in high heat, mostly containers many EarthBoxes. I have made my own mix and I have also had wonderful results with packaged potting mix including those with Miracle in the name. Earthbox advises against using manure or compost as they are counter productive to the wicking proccess.

I find Fourth of July Hybrid to to indestructable by heat, although I rarely get over 110. Siux is good in heat too, although most all of them will shut down in the extreme late summer temps of TX and the desert southwest.
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Old December 13, 2012   #15
ArcherB
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I'm in Kyle, just south of you. The most productive tomato I've grown is Coyote. There were so many of these things that I grew tired of them and finally pulled the plant as the vines were taking over the plants near it! For weeks I could feel them popping under my feet as I waked in the yard. They weren't bad, but after eating hundreds of them, I had no urge to pick them.

A better tomato for me was Matt's Wild Cherry. Produced more than I could eat and the flavor was awesome. Very tart, little tomatoes. If you don't like tart, you may want to pass on these.

If you are not into cherries, there are many varieties you can try. Tome Sol did extremely well for me last year. It was the only tomato my wife would eat and it produced very well. It's a yellow-when-ripe, so the birds don't mess with it. It's the only tomato I can leave on the vine until ripe. One plant produced 64 tomatoes this year. If you want reds, German Head, Crnkovic Yugoslavian, and Hunt's Family Favorite are some of my favorites. They all produce well and tomatoes are awesome. Dino Eggs was another good producer in my garden. These are green-when-ripe with stripes. These make a great sauce when combined with Tome Sol. It's a yellow-green sauce that tastes great and the color is a real eye-opener.

As for blacks, JD's Special C-Tex has done well for me, but nothing beats the flavor of a Cherokee Purple.

If you need seed for any of these, let me know.
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