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lchmielowi
Mar 23, 2015 9:36 PM CST
I LIVE IN SUMMERVILLE, SC. WHAT ARE SOME GOOD VARIETIES OF TOMATOES TO PLANT HERE. WE ARE CONSTRUCTING A RAISED BED ABOUT 8" IN DEPTH AND 8' SQUARE. LIMITED SPACE ! ANY TIPS.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 23, 2015 10:16 PM CST
Welcome to ATP, and hope we can help!
First thing, please do think about the 8ft. square bed - you will need to step into the bed to get at the plants in the middle. This will compress your soil, and really the whole purpose of a raised bed other than to have better drainage and not have to bend over is to have better soil, with air in it. You might consider making two narrower beds with a pathway in between.

Also when you fill it up be sure to overfill it - mound it up - as much as possible because the new soil will settle a lot! Tomatoes like rich, deep soil. Most people just level it with the top of the bed because it looks nice and neat, then wonder in a month why there's only 5in. of soil in their 8in high bed. Don't pack it, let it settle on its own, though.

If you're starting from seed, (start soon, its getting time to plant out transplants!) there are some 'heat tolerant' types like Solar Flare and Heatwave that will continue bearing further into the hot weather. For fantastic flavor, I've been really enjoying Mountain Magic and Momotaro. All these are available from my favorite source for tomato seeds, Tomato Grower's Supply. A lot of the cherry, and 'grape' tomatoes also tolerate the heat longer than the big fruited types.

Um, forgive me but although we are very casual around here, to type in all caps, that's kind of like shouting in a conversation. Angel
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Mar 23, 2015 10:31 PM CST
Welcome! to ATP !

I agree with Elaine about the size of your raised bed... I would consider making a longer bed about 2-3 feet wide, or a couple of beds, something like 2-3 feet wide, with a path in between. (Three feet wide is a comfortable width to work in without having to step into the bed, but 2 feet would probably be wide enough for the tomatoes.) Also as Elaine said, tomatoes need fairly deep soil; can you work up the ground underneath your raised bed so they can put some roots further down? Your tomato plants will also need some support, either cages or stakes; if you stake, then you will need to prune the plants. If you cage, don't use the 'ring-type' cages, in my experience they are nowhere near tall enough and always tip over with the entire tomato plant.

As for varieties to grow in the south -- I'm going to have to defer that to my southern friends here; however, if you have neighbors that garden they may be able to give you some ideas about what varieties do well for them, or your county extension service would also have some advice. Smiling
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Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Mar 24, 2015 6:35 AM CST
I would grow heirlooms ... ([url=www.bakerscreek.com]www.bakerscreek.com[/url] is a good place to start) while they often dont out preform hybrids they tatse better and often times big seed corps don't use insectcides on the seed coat further endangering our native bees.
[Last edited by Plantsmylove - Mar 24, 2015 6:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Mar 24, 2015 8:30 AM CST
I agree about heirlooms tasting better, but sadly, in the South with our high humidity, we have so many fungal diseases and blights that they don't do well at all. Every heirloom tomato I've grown has been beset with disease problems and as a result, did not bear well or last very long.

I start my tomatoes usually in the fall and carry them through the winter with protection on cold nights so I want to keep them going for at least 5 months. The heirlooms just never last that long for me.

My advice is to go for varieties with a lot of letters and numbers on the label. VFFI 123 etc. indicate resistant to verticillium and fusarium which are very common, as well as several of the soil-borne bacterial or viral blight diseases.

Btw, seeds are not treated with insecticide but sometimes with a fungicide to prevent them rotting in the soil. None of that treatment affects the bees at all.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Mar 24, 2015 10:08 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said: Btw, seeds are not treated with insecticide but sometimes with a fungicide to prevent them rotting in the soil. None of that treatment affects the bees at all.


Right -- I was just about to say the same thing until I read through your post, Elaine. Thumbs up

Also agee with the rest of your post -- and actually don't go along with the idea that heirlooms always taste better than hybrids. Some do, some don't... I do aspire to grow mostly (or even all) open-pollinated varieties so I can save my own seeds, but I've grown plenty of hybrids that are great tasting. My current favorite is "Country Taste," a nice big tomato that's perfect for making BLT's !!

Somewhere recently I saw a list of tomatoes that are particularly suited for growing in the south... I'll see if I can locate that again Smiling
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 24, 2015 10:18 AM CST
Look for one called 'Southern Belle'.

Available from Isaac's Seeds/Isaac Seed Samples/Seeds for Thee:
http://www.seedsforthee.com/
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
[Last edited by greene - Mar 24, 2015 10:21 AM (+)]
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Name: Sequoia
Oakland, California (Zone 9b)
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sequoia
Mar 28, 2015 5:45 PM CST
The tomato guy known as the "North Carolina tomato man", Craig LeHoullier recommends in his book Epic Tomatoes : How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time. I live in California and I can say the my Sun Gold does GREAT, year after year. These were his choices
Nepal
Yellow Oxheart
Polish
Green Giant
Sun Gold
Lucky Cross
Lillian's Yellow Heirloom
Pink Brandywine
Cherokee Purple
Mexico Midget

There is a great article by Virginia A. Smith, Tribune News Service, called Spreading the word on the pleasure of heirloom tomatoes and Craig LeHoullier.
Hope this helps
Sequoia in California
Sequoia In California

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