Learn how to grow tomatoes in Houston.
Tomatoes are in my opinion the culmination of a gardener, the taste of a tomato harvested by oneself is incomparable, when I have one I always eat it as a salad, I could not make soup or sauce with my homegrown tomatoes.
Tomatoes can grow on raised beds or in large pots. If you want to use flowerpots look for varieties that are more shrubs than large plants. The indeterminate tomato varieties are larger than the determined ones. Tomatoes grow a lot, and they will need some support, usually cages.
My favorite varieties for Houston are:
- Sweet Millions
- Sweet Chelsea
- Sun Gold (orange)
For the big tomatoes,
- Big Beef
- Cherokee Purple (heirloom)
- Rainbow (heirloom)
- Kellog Breakfast (yellow, heirloom)
- Jaune Flamme (orange, heirloom)
- Early girl (a resistant variety with excellent production)
Tomatoes are 100% dependent on the sun; you should plant them in a sunny place, hopefully, you will get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per plant. They should be planted in soil prepared with compost, and fertilizer.
I always buy the seedlings (little plants), choose plants of intense green with healthy leaves. Don’t buy the tallest plant, usually, it is not the best. I buy small plants at the beginning of the season, it’s cheaper. Tomatoes in Houston are planted the last 2 weeks of February, timing is critical. In case they announce a frost cover the plant with a bucket o flowerpot. There is a second window for tomatoes in Houston in the fall, planting od seedlings is the last two weeks of August. Fall season is uncertain, worse case you get lots of green tomatoes in November.
To plant: Place the plant in the soil and to calculate the hole to be made, remove from the plastic pot and ensure that the roots are healthy, in new plants it is not necessary to separate the roots, remove the small leaves growing at the base of the stem, The idea is to plant the tomato plant as deep as possible, place it on the ground, fix it to the correct depth, cover well and slightly pat the soil around the plant, the first pair of leaves should be flush with the ground. Place a cage. Water.
Then water in the morning when you feel that when you bury the index finger until the 2nd phalange at the tip feel dry. Fertilize when the plant blooms for the first time. Tomatoes like to have good air circulation, do not put them stuck in a corner or in between other large plants.
The second fertilization should be when you see small green tomatoes, then continue fertilizing every 15 days, sprinkle the fertilizer around the plant and with a little stick incorporate it into the soil around, taking care not to damage the roots or use liquid fertilizer. Tomatoes need relative cold at night to set flowers, to be watered in a regular pattern, deeply once a week if they are on the ground and if they are in pots, every time they dried up.
Tomatoes can be harvested as soon as they begin to change color and let them ripen on the kitchen counter, this increases the productivity of the plant and prevents it from being eaten by birds, squirrels, and others.
Plants with capital letters after the variety name are resistant to certain diseases, prefer those plants, for example, Celebrity VFN
Usually the first tomatoes are harvested after 70-90 days of planting.
Visit our collection of articles on how to grow vegetables in Houston.