University of Florida

Tomatoes

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Pick the best varieties for Florida

The warm and sometimes wet weather that we experience here in Florida can contribute to insect and disease problems in tomatoes. It’s a good idea to select varieties that are resistant to known tomato diseases (including verticillum wilt and fusarium wilt) and pests (including nematodes).

Scout early and often

The best way to prevent small problems from becoming major issues is to check your plants regularly for early warning signs of insect infestation and diseases. For more information on problems and pests, read Tomatoes in the Florida Garden.

Fertilize appropriately

Like all plants, tomatoes need certain nutrients in order to grow, so fertilizing with a 6-8-8 or similar type of fertilizer will help your plants succeed. You can use either a liquid fertilizer solution or a granular fertilizer, preferably in controlled-release form. You should fertilize at planting time and then regularly throughout the growing season.

Take care

Finally, remember that your tomatoes will need the right care in order to thrive. This means watering with about one to two inches of water per week, with heavy soakings once a week being preferred to several lighter sprinklings with the hose.

If you’re growing indeterminate varieties, you’ll want to remove the first few side branches as they appear, a process known as “suckering.” Also, be sure to stake the plant or use a tomato cage to give the plant the support it needs.

A layer of mulch can help retain moisture around the plants and suppress weed growth.

tomatoes

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