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August in the Garden New
Growing Tomatoes in Central Florida New

The Landscape Garden Club
     Plant Exchange & Door Prize

August in the Garden
By Nancy King, Master Gardener

Annuals/Bedding plants:  The hottest days of summer limit planting now to heat-tolerant annuals, such as coleus, kalanchoe, and vinca.

Vegetables: Tomatoes, beans, carrots and others can be planted for the fall garden. 

Poinsettias: Pinch back poinsettias and mums before the end of the month to allow time for buds to form for winter bloom. 

Annuals/Bedding plants: Remove spent blooms, cut back, and fertilize flowering annuals and perennials to extend the bloom season into the fall months. 

Palms: Check older fronds for yellowing as it may indicate a magnesium or potassium deficiency. Apply an appropriate palm fertilizer.  ( 8-2-12 Palm fertilizer with micro-nutrients)

Growing Tomatoes in Central Florida

In Central Florida, tomatoes can generally plant two crops a year.

  • To pick in the Fall, plant late August through September.

  • To pick in early Summer, plant early February.

NOTE:  There is always the danger of frost if you plant in early Spring, so be prepared to cover the plants or start them in containers so you can bring them inside if a frosty night is predicted.

Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

The form that the tomato plant takes is a big clue as to which tomato variety you grow. A comparison of determinate versus indeterminate tomatoes shows that one is more of a vine and one is bushy. 

  • The determinate tomato plant is often grown in a cage or even without support, as it has a more compact shape. The determinate tomato varieties also produce most of their fruit on the terminal end.

  • The indeterminate tomato varieties have much longer stem growth, which continues to grow until cold weather arrives. They require staking and tying onto a structure to keep the fruit off the ground. This type sets fruit along the stem. If you tend to eat your tomatoes fresh and want a season-long supply, go for indeterminate varieties.

Varieties of Tomatoes

Select tomato transplants that are adapted to Florida's warm climate. According to the University of Florida, good varieties for Florida...

  • Good indeterminate varieties for Florida Include:  Tropic, Better Boy and Bonnie Best, Sweet 100, Red Cherry & Sweet Million.

  • Good determinate varieties for Florida include:  Suncoast, Floramerica, Flora-Dade, Solar Set, Roma, Micro Tom, Floragold, Florida Basket; and extra-large tomato varieties like Beefmaster & Beefsteak.

Transplants should be between 4 & 5 inches high. Larger transplants will not produce fruit as abundantly.

References:    UF/IFAS Extension:    Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide      

                     UF/IFAS Extension:    Tomatoes in the Florida Garden                                             

Nancy King, Master Gardener

The Landscape Garden Club

The Villages Landscape Garden Club meets the 3rd Monday of every month, September through May. The next meeting is:

Monday, September 16th
2:30 3:30 p.m.
Laurel Manor Recreation Center

This will be the first meeting for the Landscape Club since May.

Plant Exchange & Door Prize

We will be doing a plant exchange table at this meeting. Bring plants to share with other members. Please attach a small note to the plant or container to identify the plants. Come join us for our meeting in September, which will be Monday, September 16th.

For questions or information call Kyle at 352-751-1324.

Have a great summer!
Nancy King