Tomatoes, Spring 2014

I know this is a boring post to those of you who don’t care about vegetable gardens, and not a big deal at all to those who grow lots of tomatoes every year. But for us this is a banner year for tomatoes, and worth a post!

We have had marginal success at growing tomatoes.   The growing season for tomatoes is different here in the desert Southwest compared to other parts of the country. The tomatoes don’t survive the hot Phoenix summers. We have to plant late enough to avoid a frost, but early enough to get a harvest before the summer heat. I know that it is possible to grow tomatoes here in the Phoenix area because I’ve talked to a lot of people who have great backyard tomato harvests.

This year I decided to try something different, with great results so far. The change that made the biggest difference, I think, is the location. I suspect that the previous location in the vegetable garden didn’t provide enough sunlight. We had an empty garden spot by the swimming pool on the east side of a block wall that runs north/south. This provides good sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. It isn’t a good spot for aesthetics, but I was interested in production 🙂

The other things I did are the following:

  1. Planted early (about mid January) and used the ‘wall-o-water’ product to prevent frost damage. We didn’t have a frost this year, so this wasn’t really necessary. However, I think that the young tomato plants did benefit from the wall-o-water. I think next year I’ll plant even earlier. Thanks to Jeff Summers for the wall-o-water tip.
  2. Fertilize with MiracleGro Shake-n-Feed every two weeks.
  3. Deep water at the same times I fertilized.

Here is a picture of the results so far:

20140329-Portal-4752

So far a few of the tomatoes have ripened and they taste great! I’m hoping we get a lot more before the heat sets in.

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