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Friday, July 27, 2012

Part One 7/27/12: Planting Your Fall Garden Tomatoes!

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Planting Determinate Tomatoes for a Fall Garden
(Part 1 of 8) 

The heat of the summer is coming to the end. Although you wouldn't know it here in Maryland. Today is 96 degrees with a heat index of 106. But... the heat will break soon. Now is the time to not only think about your Fall garden, but time to start planting it. Tomato time is here again!

The first step is to weed out over-grown beds and remove spent vegetables. Your beat up tomatoes, tired cucumbers and other vegetables need a quick removal and burial. Don't stay overly attached to them. It is planting time for tomatoes and other Fall crops.

Late July is planting time for your determinate tomatoes. The Fall garden makes great use of determinate type tomato varieties. You want varieties that mature in 75 day maximum in our Maryland Zone 7.  A maturity date of 65 days or less is best. We typically get frost late October. You want to plant your new tomato seeds between 7/15 and 7/31. The goal is to have your fruit mature by.... first frost.

If you want to start you tomatoes in seed cells that is a good idea. Hot summer days can dry out garden beds quickly. Heavy storm rains can swamp gardens. Those events can bring havoc to germinating seeds. Developing a few transplant tomatoes in a shady part of your yard is a good strategy.

I will be planting the determinate tomato seeds I collected in this video.




The varieties I am planting are:

Sub Arctic:    It is billed as a 45-50 day determinate tomato with 2-4 oz fruit. It can stand 40 degree nights.
Polar Baby:   Developed in Alaska, a 60 day determinate tomato with 2 inch fruits. A small plant.
Silvery Fir:    Russian origin heirloom 60 day determinate tomato. 2-3 inch flattened fruit on a fine leaf plant.


You can grow your Fall tomatoes in containers too. The good thing about the Fall is you don't have to overly worry about watering the tomato containers. This video provides some basic container gardening tips.

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