Vegetables and Fruit forum: Heat tolerance?

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Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Jun 2, 2010 9:51 AM CST
In my part of Texas we have trouble growing tomatoes through the summer. Once the heat hits, the plants stop setting fruit and the plants get really stressed. Many people pull the plants in July and replant for a fall crop of early bearers. I've heard that there are some tomatoes that will set fruit even in hotter temperatures. What is your experience?

This year I planted 20 different varieties--many of which I'd read are "heat tolerant" but I don't really know. I also planted some that I'm told that don't do well in heat, but may produce early. That's the other option here--an early crop, before the heat sets in. I've planted some of these before, but never kept systematic records on results.

The tomatoes I planted this year includes both hybrid and open-pollinated. I have some determinate cultivars, but most are indeterminate. The one's with a " * " are the suspected heat tolerant. I'll know more after the summer. Here's the list:

Sophie's Choice, red, determinate, 55 days
Early Girl, red, indeterminate, 62 days
Bush Beefsteak, red, determinate, 62 days
Sweet Million hybrid,red cherry, indeterminate, 65 days
Sungold hybrid, yellow cherry, indeterminate, 65 days
Isis Candy, bi-color cherry, indeterminate, 67 days
Jetsonic hybrid, red, indeterminate, 68 days
*Porter's Pride, red, indeterminate, 69 days
*Phoenix hybrid, red, determinate, 70 days
Big Beef hybrid, red, indeterminate, 72 days
*Black from Tula, purple, indeterminate, 75 days
Ibsen's Gold, yellow, indeterminate, 75 days
Bradley, pink, determinate, 76 days
*Creole, red, indeterminate, 78 days
*Cherokee Purple, purple, indeterminate, 80 days
*Homestead 24, red, determinate, 81 days
Hillbilly, bi-color, indeterminate, 85 days
Kelloggs Breakfast, yellow, indeterminate, 85 days
*Arkansas Traveler, pink, indeterminate, 85 days

I think this year will be a good test, since we've been having warm temperatures for at least a couple weeks. This week I expect high temps in the upper 90's. The lows at night have been in the 70's.


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Patti1957
Jun 2, 2010 10:41 AM CST
Nice list David, and the plants look great. Are you keeping a record of each one and it's performance? I would be interested in what your experience.

Patti



4paws
Jun 13, 2010 11:52 AM CST
Hi David,
I'm very interested in your results - and mine. I'm new to my hot area and have read about tomatoes not setting fruit in the heat, so I'm trying a couple of different methods to keep getting tomatoes through the summer. I do not have the large garden you have. I have raised beds and pots, some in the ground, and some pots I've got in shallow containers of water with part shade. This is the first time I've grown tomatoes from seed to harvest (woohoo!) and really paid attention - it's much different than elsewhere.

Temps are in the nineties (97 yesterday) during the day, low 70s at night. All the plants in the ground or raised beds have fruit, the pots are varied.
I've planted two on your list - Early Girl and Isis. Early Girl started giving me ripe tomatoes about two weeks ago, Isis started just this week.

I've also planted
Black Cherry, doing very well so far in a raised bed, pots, and also on a trellis in the ground, ripe.
Rutgers, almost ripe
Roma, ripe and picked - plants don't look happy. These are in the ground.
Mortgage Lifter - the one that was almost ripe had worms in it;
Brandywine - not yet turning
Wild Cherry - seems happiest of all. Lots of little tomatoes.

Thanks for this thread!


4paws
Jun 13, 2010 12:06 PM CST
Do you give them epsom salts?
My profile shot is of me with my cherry tomatoes in May. They've grown very tall.

Do you start a fall crop from cuttings or from seed?
I asked this elsewhere, too, but do the tomatoes just die in the heat or only stop producing?
Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Jun 13, 2010 6:24 PM CST
Laura,

My tomatoes don't die completely, but stop producing. They do tend to get disease and have bug problems in the height of the heat. If I took good care of them, they'd probably start producing again.

4paws
Jun 13, 2010 6:39 PM CST
Hmmm...so the effort to keep them alive may be more than it's worth to start new ones, I'm guessing?
Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Jun 14, 2010 7:04 AM CST
That's pretty much the case. A lot of people around here actually plant a second batch of plants in July. If the seedlings are well-hardened to the heat, then a short-season crop of tomatoes can be produced in the fall.

4paws
Jun 14, 2010 7:21 AM CST
David, do they plant seeds directly in the ground?
Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Jun 14, 2010 8:59 AM CST
The people that I know that do a fall crop still start the seeds indoors, usually under lights. Once sprouted, they can be moved into a protected area outside, but not into the full summer-time hot sun. If your plants are healthy, you could break off branches/suckers and root in moist potting mix instead of planting new seeds. I would still root the cuttings inside, though, just so that it is a little easier to control the heat and moisture.


4paws
Jun 14, 2010 9:54 AM CST
Ok, thank you for the info!

4paws
Jun 14, 2010 9:54 AM CST
Is your climate dry and hot, or humid and hot?
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
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Gymgirl
Jun 15, 2010 10:05 AM CST
Ok. I'm liking this discussion, so I'm jumping in! I agree

My maters are shot, and right now my goal is to keep em alive and healthy long enough to take some cuttings to root for a fall plantout in mid- to late-August. All of mine are long-season varieties (at least 90-120 days) so mine is a crap shoot against the first freeze date (listed as 12/7), but we've been know to serve frozen Thanksgiving turkeys!

DReaves, thanks for reminding me I should root the cuttings INSIDE to give them a fighting chance against our HOT, HUMID summer here in Houston. Long as they're situated outside by the time the temps drop down into the 80s again, I should get good fruit set. And, hopefully, the Stinkbug infestation will have started dying down.

I'll post periodic updates.

Linda I tip my hat to you.

4paws
Jun 15, 2010 10:28 AM CST
I've got a lot of stink bugs, too-but they seem to like my beans, not the tomatoes (sshhhhh!)

Shot already, Gymgirl? Did you get a good early harvest?

One of the raised beds. Tomatoes in it are Early Girl (the ones that are red), Mortgage Lifter (has one pink one; had to toss two pink ones that had catarpillar-like worms in them), and Brandywine. The worms really did a number on the leaves, but so far, everyone's hanging in and I'm anxiously watching to see if any new fruit forms. It's currently 93/feels like 104 here with 56% humidity.

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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jun 15, 2010 11:08 AM CST
4Paws,
Nice haul!

Nope, I only got a handful of maters off of 10 plants before the heat set in and the stinkbugs took over. I think I planted out too late. Might have tah bite the bullet and start planting earlier varieties of heirlooms...shoot!

P.S. If that's a curcurbit plant growing in the corner of your shot, and it has powdery mildew, I read somewhere that spritzing it with mild will get rid of the PM...

Rolling my eyes.

4paws
Jun 15, 2010 2:17 PM CST
It is - a cucumber. Spritz with a mild what, Gymgirl? I grow organically, so I figured that it was just par for the course here, so I started more cukes in another place. It's still blooming and putting out cukes, though the lower leaves are slowly going away....
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jun 15, 2010 6:11 PM CST
Uh, that should read, "spritzing it with MILK..."

Sorry. *Blush*

4paws
Jun 16, 2010 2:29 AM CST
Thank you, I'll try it today.

4paws
Jun 24, 2010 9:28 AM CST
All of mine are still setting fruit, but all the plants in the ground or raised beds are looking ratty with disease. The potted plants with some shade are doing better. Most of the tomatoes are cracking before they are fully ripe. Rutgers has very little flavor - Mortgage Lifter and Brandywine - even though cracked and not quite ripe...yummy!
Name: Crista Abel
Gilbert, Arizona
Birds Cat Lover Dog Lover Hummingbirder Purslane Region: Southwest Gardening
Vegetable Grower
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Crista
Jun 24, 2010 4:10 PM CST
It's going to be 112 today and our humidity is running about 10% . I've got early girls, yellow pear, red robin, lemon boys, and sweet 100s that are still doing fine....BUT, I'm babying them. I haven't had fruit set since it got over 105 degrees, but still have blossoms. They get fish emulsion once a week, deep watering every third day, misted every morning and I cover the plants with sheets after they get about three hours of direct sun - they are in light, dappled shade for about six hours. Yes, it's absolutely worth it and I'm just darn lucky to be on summer vacation from school!
Crista
Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Jun 24, 2010 10:00 PM CST
Crista, that's WAY too much work for me! I can manage the watering, but misting and shading everyday are more effort than I have in me...

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