Summer Tomato To Do's For Fall Bounty

Our tomato season has been cut short thanks to the heat wave we’ve suffered. Usually, we can produce up until Fourth of July but not this year. Once it is this hot, tomatoes won’t set fruit any longer. The best we can do is keep an eye on any fruit already set and take care of it until it is ready to pick. Then, we can prepare for the fall tomato season. Meg Tapp with The Garden Club of Houston will teach a fall tomato class for Urban Harvest (live and in person!) on Saturday, July 16 at 10:00 am. You will learn all about choosing which type of tomato to grow, preparing the beds or pots, planting, and maintaining through production of your fall/winter crop. Plus, she’ll give tips and tricks for a successful season.

Tomato harvest. Farmers hands with freshly harvested tomatoes.

In the meantime, you can start your tomatoes from seed now, if you like. If you have one of those tabletop hydroponic grow kits, they work really well for tomatoes. Your other option is to use plastic pots and grow lights. Tomatoes are fairly reliable grown from seed.

To start indoors in pots, you’ll need a seed starting mix, which is very fast draining; this is essential.
Fill the pots with mix and poke two holes with your finger or a chopstick in each pot (an inch deep).
Put 2 tomato seeds in each hole, so that is 4 seeds per small plastic pot.
Cover the seeds with a little more of the seed starting mix and tamp it down just a little so that the seeds and the soil are touching – you want to get rid of the air pockets.
Then gently water that in and keep moist for about a week.

You can cover with plastic wrap to help keep in the moisture. You don’t need to worry about light at this stage. Once sprouts appear, remove the wrap and put the pots under a grow light. A grow light set up can be as simple as a plant light bulb from the hardware store in a clamp-on can light.

Once they are up and growing, keep them moist but not soggy. Choose the strongest one in each pot and cut off the others. The strong one is your one and only now. These will be ready to go into the ground or outside in a pot during our fall tomato planting time in August.

If you are new to growing tomatoes or you’re working with a small space, determinate tomatoes are better for your situation. On the seed pack, it will either say “indeterminate” or “determinate” – so read carefully before you buy.

To learn everything you ever wanted to know about growing tomatoes sign up here:

Meg Tapp

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Scott Howard

    Although I usually start my tomatoes by seed, propagation from cuttings from an existing plant will also work especially if you have a hybrid variety that you would like to grow in the fall and you don’t have more any packaged seeds. I have found however that the transplants from seed are usually stronger than those from propagation.

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