Florida Tomatoes

ImageAfter moving around the U.S. for 14 years, I settled in Florida and am really happy I did not have to wait until I retired to enjoy Florida weather. Yes, I know it is hot and humid here in the summer, but I don’t have to shovel the sunshine or put ashes or salt on my sidewalk to keep walkers from slipping and falling in the winter.

I do miss the tomatoes that I used to grow when I lived in the Northeast and Midwest, though.

Picked right off the vines, with a little salt, ummm, they were full of flavor.

I have tried growing tomatoes here in Florida. I mean I have really tried.

I’ve tried planting them in my garden, planting them in pots, and planting them in the upside-down Topsey Turvey things. I’ve used potting soil, garden soil, a special mix of soils recommended by my nursery. I’ve watered them appropriately, fertilized as recommended, only to see them start withering from the bottom of the plant on upwards.

I’ve tried cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and many, many varieties of hybrid, fullsized tomatoes, you know the ones that are supposed to thrive in the Florida heat.

I’ve tried planting them in September for harvest before we get a frost (that sometimes doesn’t happen at all here in the Tampa area). I’ve tried planting them in February to harvest them prior to the onset of summertime.

And I have failed miserably in almost all cases. The tomatoes that were produced were almost as tasteless as the ones from the grocery store. Yes, I find that even the famous Ruskin tomatoes are pretty tasteless.

But, about a year ago my husband wanted to try the Earthboxes he had seen commercials on. Thinking it was just another gimmick, I dragged my feet in ordering them. So, he jumped in and ordered them himself. We followed the directions on soil requirements, the fertilizer strip down the middle of the boxes, planting and watering.

And guess what? We grew tomatoes that taste good! Big Boys and cherry tomatoes………..they produced so many fruits that we were giving them to our friends and neighbors. And they continued to produce right through the end of a super, hot July. We are just getting ready to pull them up. But, I am now a believer that it is possible to grow tasty tomatoes in Florida.

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