Malillumination is recognized
by some as a syndrome affecting humans who spend their days indoors, exposed
only to artificial illumination. The malilluminated are said to be depressed,
have weakened immune systems and have low levels of certain hormones.
In horticulture, malillumination
is the PRIMARY cause of failure when growing tomatoes. If your landscape
lacks a site with 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight per day, you cannot
grow great tomatoes.
In San Antonio and surrounding
areas, we grow two crops of tomatoes, spring and fall. Spring tomato
transplants are bought on St. Valentine's Day and fall tomato transplants
are bought mid- to late-July.
To be added later.
The heat is intense, the
pool beckons, the excuses are plentiful, but timing is essential for success
with a fall crop of tomatoes. In the northern suburbs of San Antonio and
the adjacent Hill Country, tomato transplants should be planted mid-July.
Tomato growers in southern Bexar County should delay planting until late-July.
Because most of the recommended
varieties of tomatoes are determinate, meaning they reach a certain size
and produce most of their blooms within a short time span, planting too
early will yield a crop failure. Blooms will not set fruit if they occur
while temperatures are too high.
Planting too late will deny
your plants enough time to mature their fruits. You will be harvesting
many small, green tomatoes while a frigid north wind blows and the first
freeze is imminent. Your family will hate you after the fifth consecutive
day of being forced to eat fried green tomatoes with green tomato relish.
1. If Blossom End Rot
(not actually a fungal disease) has been a problem in the site, add gypsum
every other year and a material which adds to the soil's water-holding
capacity. We recommend 'Earth Sponge'. The crystals/gels are not to be
used because they are consumed by soil microbes and must be replaced often.
2. Buy high-quality
transplants in 6-packs, grown in weed-free and pathogen-free soil-less
media. Additionally buy one 2-year, slow-release fertilizer tablet for
each plant (2 per plant if you grow them in containers) and some 20-20-20
3. Incorporate 3-inches
of well-decayed compost into the upper 6- to 8-inches of soil.
4. Dig a 4- to 6-inch-deep
hole with a trowel. Place one 2-year, slow-release fertilizer tablet in
the bottom. Remove only the bottom of the peat-pot and adjust depth so
tomato stem is buried to a point half-way between the paired seed-leaves
and the first true leaf. If a so-called "Certified" or "Master Certified"
nurseryman is unable to show you where that is, bury the top of the peat-pot
5. Place the next plant
3-feet away along the row. In the home garden, the rows can be 3- to 4-feet
apart. Place a 4- to 6-foot-tall cage around each plant.
6. For the first 3
to 4 weeks, water often with one-quarter-strength, 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer,
since it takes tomato roots a few weeks to begin drawing nutrients from
the 2-year tablets.
7. DO NOT allow the
transplants to wilt!
8. If growing in containers,
instructions will be added later to this page.