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Too late to plant more tomatoes?

Midlife Sep 3, 2010 11:32 PM

I live in San Clemente, CA (gardening zone 10) and we've not really had a summer yet. It just started getting really warm this week. It's been so cool and overcast that I only had one crop of tomatoes due to damage from a fungicide I used against powdery mildew (it apparently stopped the plants from flowering). On the chance that we will have a really late 'summer', I've been thinking of planting some short-maturation varieties to see what happens (50-60 days).

Anyone out there have an experience with specific varieties I could try? I just found a website for a tomato plant supplier in Lomita (LA's South Bay area) that says we should be able to grow them year-round here (barring unusual cold). What say you all??

  1. Midlife Sep 8, 2010 11:53 AM

    I just spoke with the woman at HeirloomTomatoPlants.com. She's up in the South Bay and said she really didn't think we're going to get any kind of late summer this year. She suggested cutting back the plants we have to see if anything happens, but thought the chances were slim to none right now.

    I only have room for a few plants so I may just try one or two new ones along with cutting back the healthiest of the existing plants.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Midlife
      septocaine_queen Sep 9, 2010 07:36 PM

      cutting back? like cutting back new growth to make the plant concentrate on the existing fruit? this is my first summer growing non container tomatoes in CA so i am still learning.

      1. re: septocaine_queen
        Midlife Sep 9, 2010 10:51 PM

        Not sure exactly, but I believe you can cut back tomatoes if you're in a warmer climate and if they're 'indeterminate' varieties (the kind that produce fruit all season). Last year we planted a Stupice tomato at the end of Summer and it fruited once (not much though) and then began to flower and fruit again in the late Spring. Here's one reference I found: http://www.gardenguides.com/79642-cut...

        1. re: Midlife
          raytamsgv Sep 10, 2010 10:59 AM

          As the temperatures cool and the duration of sunlight decreases, the plant will have less energy directed toward fruit production. Cutting back on the plant is an attempt at focusing the remaining energy toward with fruit production and/or other branches.

          I would personally get rid of the plants during the winter and start again next spring. Overwrintering plants encourages the growth of plant pathogens and pests.

    2. raytamsgv Sep 8, 2010 11:27 AM

      You can probably grow them year-round in your area, but there's probably not enough sun for the plant to form good-tasting fruit. My few tomatoes in December or January usually taste like cardboard.

      1. septocaine_queen Sep 7, 2010 09:34 PM

        I am in Sacramento and I went to the nursery yesterday and there were Celebrity tomato plants specifically for fall planting. I believe they mature in 70 days. Check your local (not Home Depot) nursery. I am finally getting ripe tomatoes but it has been very slow and still a majority are green. I want them to ripen before the bugs get to them.

        1. Indirect Heat Sep 7, 2010 09:19 PM

          My first year in San Diego (two years ago) we planted tomatoes the first week of September, harvested end of November. I wouldn't want to guarantee you'll get tomatoes... But I think if you do it soon you'll get tomatoes. Chop chop!

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