Jane Evans, co-owner of Plants for the
Southwest, summarized her efforts to grow the perfect tomato here in
Choose heirloom varieties with shortest time to maturity - 65/70/75 days.
They'll do well and you'll have fruit before the heat of summer sets in.
Suppliers: Tomato Fest, Johnny Seed, Tomato Grower Supply.
Recommended Varieties: Black Cherry, by far and away the best
cherry ever; Yellow Cherry (Gallinas); Punta Banda (good cooking, thick
skinned); Flamme (Yellow/Orange, Tennis ball sized, good sandwich tomato);
Porter Improved (Tennis ball sized, good sandwich tomato); Mule- team
(baseball sized, similar to beefsteak). Yellow choices are Dr. Wyche's;
Order seeds early December - Plant at least 9
- 12 plants. Try different varieties to find what you like.
Starting: Plant many/all seeds in pot/tray in January. Use well draining
soil mix (she used cactus mix). Cover with layer of humus (1/4 inch to 1/2
inch deep), water and enclose in plastic tent to preserve moisture (mini
green house). Place in good light (south window), water daily, opening
tent to ventilate. When seeds germinate (approx. 2 weeks) open tent to
partially ventilate for balance of growing. When true leaves appear
(approx Feb 1) transplant to 2 inch pots. Grow for about 4 more weeks.
Plant in garden early March before last frost to get earlier
production. Be ready to protect with row cover in case of frost. Jane
planted 18 inch on center, rows 2 & 1/2 feet apart, 3 feet would
be easier access.
Soil Prep / Area location: Need full sun for 1/2
day (6-8 hours). Amend soil by mixing in top 8-12 inch COIR (shredded
coconut hulls), steer manure (or equiv), Kellogg's garden soil amendment,
or similar with guano, microrhyzzia, chicken manure and earthworm
Maintenance: Cover with shade cloth 30% max. Attach to
7ft frame over plot to allow for easy access to plants. Cover with bird
netting to protect fruit- Use 4 inch layer of Alfalfa Hay as a mulch,
reduces water needs and adds nitrogen to soil when plowed under. Erected
6ft high hog (4 inch welded wire) fencing behind row and tied plants to it
with T-shirt strips.
Watering: approx 5gal/plant/week. 1 time
every 3 days using 'shrubbler' heads to water 16 minutes in 2 / 8 minute
intervals, 24 minutes apart to allow maximum absorption, no run off. Plant
marigolds to deter nematodes- Plant Datura to attract horn worm moth and
keep from tomatoes.
Some of these products are available at
Magic Garden, 7909 E 22nd 885-7466,
Rascon Landscaping, 7974 N
Desert Trees Nursery , 9559 N Camino Del Plata
OK Feed, 3701 E Ft Lowell 325-0122,
Growers, 8005 E Speedway 721-8728,
Rillito Nursery & Garden 6303 N
La Cholla 575-0995.
submitted by TOG member Victor Gutierrez (Thanks so MUCH