Dennis Gilson, the Front-Yard Farmer, shares information, local insight and advice about growing vegetables, berries and fruit trees in North Florida
By: FrontYardFarmer , 1:29 AM GMT on April 07, 2010
Many thanks to those of you alerting us to the whereabouts of Amelia tomato plants. By all accounts, it now seems as if Amelia tomato transplants are as easy to find in North Florida as piney woods and dirt roads. If you are new to my blog, the reason we are on the lookout for Amelia tomatoes is because they are resistant to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. In the recent past, Amelia tomato plants were difficult to find. Now they are available at garden centers from Pensacola to Jacksonville.
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus is leaving tomato growers across the South seeing spots – if not before their very eyes, presumably all over their tomato plants (just before they shrivel up and die). It has become a real problem on North Florida farms and in home gardens.
If standing up to TSWV isn’t enough, Amelia tomato plants produce an abundance of very large, very attractive and very tasty tomatoes. And that’s leaving tomato growers very happy.
No matter what variety of tomato you grow in your garden, you want to get the most you can from each plant. One key to maximizing yield is to properly fertilize your tomatoes. Larry Williams, horticulture extension agent for Okaloosa County, suggests normal fertilization early to produce a strong healthy plant and then cutting back fertilization by about 50 percent once the first flowers open. He suggests reducing fertilizer a little more when the fruit is about two inches in diameter and further cutting back on fertilization – or eliminating it completely – after the first tomato harvest.
The best time to plant tomatoes in North Florida is when temperatures get warm and stay warm, usually early to mid April. They love the heat and need it to grow the way they should. This year choose at least some plants resistant to TSWV and instead of seeing spots, you’ll be seeing red (as in lots of tomatoes!).
Click here for more of Larry Williams’ keys to successfully growing tomatoes in North Florida.
For more, please visit my blog at FrontYardFarmer.com.
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