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 cannot 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 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 seedlings (little plants) and 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, as it’s cheaper. Tomatoes in Houston are planted in the last two weeks of February. Timing is critical. If they announce a frost, cover the plant with a bucket o flowerpots. There is a second window for tomatoes in Houston in the fall. Planting of seedlings is the last two weeks of August. The fall season is uncertain. Worse case you get lots of green tomatoes in November.
To plant: Place the plant in the soil and calculate the hole. Remove it from the plastic pot, and ensure the roots are healthy. In new plants, it is not necessary to separate the roots, does 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 it well, and slightly pat the soil around it. The first pair of leaves should be flush with the ground. Place a cage. Water.
Water in the morning when you feel that when you bury the index finger until the 2nd phalange at the tip feels 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 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 and be watered in a regular pattern, deeply once a week if they are on the ground and in pots, every time they dry up.
Tomatoes can be harvested as soon as they begin to change color and let ripen on the kitchen counter. This increases the plant’s productivity 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 and How to grow Sweet Potatoes.
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